DIY Bubble Painting

While a brush is the most common way to apply color to the canvas, many artists have explored unconventional ways to paint.  Jackson Pollock famously dripped paint onto the surface, like in the museum’s Number 5, 1950. In Abstract Painting (750-1) from 1991, you can see how Morris Louis poured paint onto the canvas, so that the great drips mix to create a luminous rainbow of colors. 

In celebration of the Cleveland Foundation’s Centennial, the museum invited young visitors to become innovative painters.  Instead of brushes, kids blew bubbles to make colorful paintings. The lively activity is easy to recreate at home. All you need is food coloring, dish soap, and a jar of bubbles.  A small note, though--this messy activity is better enjoyed outdoors.   

To make your own bubble paintings at home, start with a small jar of bubbles.  Add ten drops of food coloring and a squeeze of dish soap.  Close up the bottle and give it a little shake.  Your paint is ready. Tape your paper to the ground, so that it doesn’t blow away.  Instruct your kids to try to blow the bubbles towards the paper.  They will need to be fairly close to the surface.

As your children are playing around with this media, you might ask them to notice certain things.  When the bubbles rest on the surface longer, the color on the paper becomes more saturated. This is also a nice way to reinforce ideas of color mixing.  Blue bubbles over yellow bubbles will have a slightly green hue.

This activity is so simple and satisfying that you might find yourself getting messy alongside the kids.  Who doesn’t love bubbles?


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