How Do You Teach Kids Oil Painting? Easy Steps To Teach Children Oil Painting

This entry was posted on March 27, 2024 by Raj Salunkhe.

Calling all mini Picassos and pint-sized Monets! Are you ready to dip your brushes into a world of vibrant colors and create captivating masterpieces? Look no further if you've ever wondered how to teach your imaginative children the secret to oil painting! We'll set off on a vibrant journey together that will turn the bare walls of your living rooms into those of bustling art studios.

Prepare to explore the beautiful world of oil painting with your young artists: it will be a voyage packed with fun, splattered paint, and unlimited opportunities. Teaching kids oil painting is not just about introducing them to new skills; it's about igniting a lifelong passion for creativity and empowering them to express themselves through the magic of paint.

Source: YouTube

But wait, before we jump in and unleash the painterly chaos, let's take a moment to prepare ourselves for this awe-inspiring journey. Don't worry; you may mentor your young artists without a Ph.D. in fine arts or any special abilities. All you need is a little bit of zeal, a little bit of endurance, and a lot of imagination.

In this article, we'll share a wealth of advice on how to teach youngsters to paint with oil in a fun and rewarding way. We can help you with anything from choosing the appropriate supplies and creating a workspace to fostering their artistic talent and urging them to appreciate "happy accidents."

What is Oil Painting?


Oil painting is a rich and timeless form of artistic expression that dates back centuries, captivating the world with its lustrous colors and depth. It is a rich and timeless form of creative expression. It includes painting gorgeous works of art on canvas or other surfaces using pigments combined with drying oil, usually linseed oil. Oil is a binding medium because it dries slowly, allowing artists to blend, layer, and work with colors precisely.

Oil paints' versatility allows painters to use a variety of approaches, from subtle and accurate brushwork to strong and expressive strokes. The genius of this medium resides in its capacity to catch minute variations in light and shadow, which produces enthralling textures and an appealing feeling of depth. Because of their potent storytelling and expressive capabilities, oil paintings have graced the walls of opulent galleries, regal estates, and modest homes.

Source: Walmart

Oil painting requires patience since it takes so long to dry, but this quality also allows painters to go back and alter their works over time. The most profound thoughts and visions of the painters are revealed on canvas as they masterfully use their brushes. Oil painting transcends the borders of time, providing a glimpse into the past while igniting imaginations and utilizing the power of the future generations.

It might be deemed complex by many beginners, however if you study the basic techniques, oil painting actually becomes very easy. All you need to do is give it a try, use a simple palette and start with small paintings.

History of Oil Painting

Source: Wikipedia

With its brilliant colors and durability, oil painting revolutionized the art world when it first appeared in Europe in the 15th century. The technique of perfecting oil as a pigment binder is credited to Flemish painter Jan van Eyck, allowing painters to produce rich, detailed compositions on canvas and wood panels.

The new idea spread quickly throughout Europe, sparking the cultural flourishing of the Renaissance and the creation of well-known works of art by artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Oil painting developed over the centuries, inspiring numerous artistic trends and becoming a beloved form of expression that enthralled viewers all over the world with its enduring beauty.

Benefits Of Teaching Kids Oil Painting

Source: MOM Loves Best

There are several advantages integrated with teaching kids oil painting. Some of them are listed below:

1. Creative Expression

Source: Raising small souls

Oil painting offers a distinctive and versatile medium for kids to express their ideas, feelings, and imagination. They can express thoughts and emotions in ways that words might not be able to fully express through colors, strokes, and compositions, leading to a deeper awareness of their inner world.

2. Fine Motor Skills

Source: Brain Art

Children can improve their fine motor abilities by using brushes to paint and by handling oil paints. Their hand-eye coordination and dexterity are aided by the accuracy needed to control brush strokes and produce intricate details.

3. Patience and Focus

Source: Play Kettering

Oil painting requires patience because it requires layering and waiting for the paint to dry. As kids work through each level of their artwork, this medium teaches patience and aids in developing attention and concentration.

4. Confidence and Self-Esteem

Source: Twiddlers

Children who explore oil painting and watch their ideas come to life on the canvas feel more confident and self-assured. When they are successful in their artistic activities, their confidence and self-esteem are boosted, which motivates them to take on new challenges and discover their talents.

5. Cognitive Development

Source: Lifeandmore

Decision-making, problem-solving, and visual-spatial reasoning are only a few of the cognitive processes involved in oil painting. Children develop cognitive and critical thinking skills by organizing their compositions, mixing colors, and changing their approaches.

Overall, educating children to paint with oil offers a wealth of developmental advantages that go far beyond the canvas in addition to nurturing their artistic abilities. It gives children practical life skills and the ability to view the world creatively, cultivating a lifetime love of creativity and self-expression.

Ideas of Oil Painting for Kids

Kids can paint various types of oil painting suitable for their skill level and age. Simple and fun ideas include:

1. Finger Painting: Kids can use their fingers to create colorful and abstract oil painting, exploring textures and shapes.

2. Still life: Simple still life subjects like fruits, flowers, or toys can help kids practice basic oil painting techniques.

3. Child Portraits: Children portraits involves capturing the likeness and essence of a child in a painting. It can be a good team building activity for your art class too as it can ignite the spirit of friendship and love among kids.

4. Self Portraits: Tips and significance of self-portrait to children are adorable and insightful. Young children draw or paint images of themselves and through these creative expressions, they explore self-identity, emotions, and motor skills. These endearing self-representations provide a glimpse into their world and are cherished by parents and teachers alike as precious mementos of childhood.

5. Landscapes: Children can paint easy landscapes with bright skies, trees, and mountains, allowing them to experiment with blending colors.

Supplies Needed for Oil Painting

Source: My Modern Met

The artistic toolset that turns a white canvas into a colorful and expressive work of art includes oil painting supplies. Each component is essential to the creative process because it helps artists use their imagination and realize their visions. Here is a closer look at all the supplies you need to do oil painting.

1. Brushes

Source: Craftsy

Paint brushes are the artist's go-to tools in various shapes, sizes, and bristle types. From soft and delicate strokes to bold and textured marks, brushes help the artist realize their vision on the canvas. While synthetic brushes give precision and are suitable for fine work, natural hair brushes, such as hog hair, are best for detailed work. By experimenting with various approaches and styles, painters can add depth and personality to their oil paintings using a variety of brushes.

2. Paints

Source: Amazon

The lifeblood and soul of the oil painting process are oil based paints. They have an enormous range of hues and a buttery consistency and are made of pigments suspended in drying oils. Longevity and bright colors are guaranteed with high-quality paints.

The different paint brands and pigment types available to artists provide distinctive results. Colors can be merged on the palette to produce unique shades and subtle transitions that let artists express their ideas.

3. Canvas or Paper

Source: Jackson’s Art Supplies

An oil painting's outcome is largely influenced by painting surface selection. Cotton, linen, or synthetic canvas is strong and long-lasting, enabling thick layers of oil paint. Its texture improves brushwork and gives the artwork personality. For practice or studies, paper made for oil painting provides a smoother surface and is excellent. Whether working on paper or canvas, choosing the proper surface is crucial to achieving the desired aesthetic result.

4. Palette

Source: Createlet

Artists use a painter's palette as a color-mixing surface to prepare and blend their paints. Modern palettes come in glass or disposable sheets, while basic palettes are made of wood and have a thumbhole for grasping. The smooth surface of the palette makes it simple to experiment with color harmonies and blend colors, giving artists access to a wide variety of tones and tints as they work on their projects.

5. Other Supplies and Tools

Source: Craftsy

Other materials and instruments improve the oil painting experience along with the necessities. These may consist of:

Easels: To hold the canvas at the ideal working height and inclination

Solvents: To clean brushes and thin paint.

Mediums: To improve the characteristics of the paint, such as the texture or drying time with oil mediums.

Palette Knives: To apply thick paint and produce textured effects.

Rags and Paper towels: To clean up spills and wipe down brushes.

Varnishes: Layer of protection to bring out the color.

Paint thinners: Solvent used to thin thicker paints.

Tracing paper: To trace a blueprint of a sketch you wish on painting.

These extra resources and tools enable the artist to explore oil painting methods and styles more deeply, resulting in a rich and satisfying artistic journey.

Preparing the Work Area for Kids Oil Painting

Source: TimeOut

The work environment must be prepared for kids' oil painting to guarantee a secure, orderly, and satisfying artistic experience. The following advice will help you design a kid-friendly oil painting area:

1. Pick a Suitable Location

Pick a venue that is well-lit and well-ventilated with enough room for kids to walk around freely. If possible, use natural light; if not, ensure there is enough artificial lighting to prevent eye strain.

2. Secure the Area

To guard against spills and paint splatters, cover the work surface with a plastic or vinyl tablecloth. Alternatively, construct a barrier from a big piece of cardboard or an old newspaper.

3. Kid-Friendly Easels

Offer youngsters robust, height-adjustable easels. Easels facilitate good posture and enable children to work comfortably on their artwork.

4. Use Washable Smocks or Aprons

Give them washable smocks or aprons to prevent paint stains on children's clothes. They can experiment and explore without fear of making a mess in this way.

5. Non-Toxic Materials

Choose oil paints, odorless solvents, and mediums that are non-toxic and suitable for children. Make sure that all of your art supplies are marked as child-safe. Also it never hurts to have protective gloves in store.

6. Arrange Materials

Put the oil paints, brushes, palette, and other supplies in an orderly arrangement within the children's easy reach. To aid in color identification and selection, clearly mark each color.

7. Give Out a Palette

Give out a palette for combining colors. Cleaning a disposable paper palette or a reusable one with distinct wells for each hue can be convenient and simple.

8. Paper Towels or Rags

Have paper towels or rags on hand to clean up spills and wipe off brushes. Encourage kids to keep their workspaces neat and orderly.

9. Establish a Drying Area

Set aside a secure location where freshly painted artwork can dry completely undisturbed. Make sure curious hands or pets can't get to them.

10. Promote Creativity

Encourage kids to use their imaginations freely. To foster their creativity, give them images, art books, or other resources, and urge them to generate their distinctive artistic idea.

Children can fully immerse themselves in the enchanted world of oil painting by creating a well-prepared and encouraging environment, nurturing their creativity, and fostering a passion for art.

Safety Considerations in the Work Area

Source: Artists and Illustrator

Providing children working on oil paintings with a secure environment is crucial. The following are some crucial safety tips to remember:

1. Ventilation

To prevent the buildup of paint fumes, use an adequately ventilated space. Open windows or use fans to circulate air while working indoors to create a more breathable environment.

2. Proper Storage

When not in use, keep art supplies, particularly solvents, and mediums, in a safe location away from youngsters. Prevent accidental ingestion or exposure to hazardous substances.

3. Hand Washing

To prevent unintended paint intake, teach kids to wash their hands thoroughly after painting, especially before touching their faces or eating.

4. Brush Cleaning

Inspect the brushes and dispose of any paper towels or rags with paint on them. To avoid environmental dangers or unintentional consumption, properly dispose of these products.

5. Avoid Food and Drinks

Limit food and beverages in the painting environment to reduce the possibility of inadvertently ingesting paint or other art supplies.

6. Appropriate Tool handle

Teach kids how to properly handle painting instruments, including brushes and palette knives, to prevent mishaps or injuries.

7. Emergency Plan

In case of accidental exposure to or ingestion of art supplies, have a clear emergency plan with the names and phone numbers of local poison control or medical professionals.

8. Supervision

Always watch over small children while engaging in oil painting activities to ensure they adhere to safety precautions and treat supplies with care.

You can provide a safe and fun atmosphere for kids to explore their creativity and creative abilities through oil painting by focusing on safety and putting these safety measures into place.

Cleaning Up After Painting

Source: Rockler

Maintaining a neat and secure atmosphere requires cleaning up after an enjoyable and creative oil painting session. Here is detailed instruction on how to tidy up after painting:

1. Clean Brushes

Thoroughly clean the paint brushes using the proper cleaning solution, such as mineral spirits for traditional oil paints or mild soap and water for water-soluble oil paints. Brushes should be thoroughly rinsed in clear water or solvent before the bristles are gently reshaped.

2. Clean the Palette and Tools

Scrap any extra paint from a reusable palette before wiping it down with a rag or paper towel. Any additional painting equipment, including palette knives, should be cleaned with the proper solvent, soap, and water.

3. Securely Store Paints

Keep the paint tubes closed and set them upright in a cool, dry area. Avoid placing paints in direct sunlight or at high temperatures.

4. Handle Waste Responsibly

Paper towels, rags, and other disposable items with paint residue should all be disposed of properly. If recycling is an option, do so; otherwise, dispose of them following regional waste disposal regulations.

5. Clean Work Surface

Wipe clean the workspace or take off any protective materials that were utilized during the painting session, such as the tablecloth, cardboard, or newspaper. To prevent stains, look for any paint drips or spills and clean them immediately.

6. Wash Hands

Encourage everyone involved in the painting activity to properly wash their hands with soap and water to remove any leftover paint.

7. Properly Arrange and Store Materials

Arrange and store all art materials in their proper locations. Make sure paint bottle tops are tightly closed, and store affordable and expensive brushes appropriately to keep their shape.

8. Clean-Up Accidents

If any spills or accidents occur during the painting session, clean them up immediately with proper cleaning supplies.

9. Continue to Ventilate the Area

Once the mess has been cleaned up, it's important to air the space out to get rid of any leftover paint fumes.

10. Enjoy the Artwork

Finally, pause to admire the lovely works produced throughout the painting session. The artwork should be safely displayed or stored so that it can be enjoyed in the future and remembered.

Basics of Oil Painting Techniques for Kids

Source: The Spruce Craft

Kids can explore their creativity and artistic abilities via the delightful and entertaining pastime of oil painting. Here are some easy oil painting tips that can enhance the experience:

1. Prepare the Work Space

Create a space only for painting. Cover the table with plastic or an old cloth to shield the table from spills and splatters.

2. Select proper supplies

For oil painting, you'll need a few basic supplies, including:

  • Oil paints

  • Painting brushes

  • Canvas or oil painting paper

  • Palette for mixing colors

  • Odorless turpentine or mineral spirits for cleaning brushes

  • Paper towels or rags for wiping brushes and spills

3. Safety first

First and foremost, make sure the painting area has adequate airflow. Working in a well-ventilated area is crucial since oil paints can emit fumes.

4. Start with simple subjects

Alla prima is an Italian phrase that means 'at first attempt'. It describes a wet-on-wet technique in which fresh coats of still-wet paint are added over older ones, frequently all at once. For novices, it is preferable, to make still life, landscapes, or abstract painting as your alla prima.

5. Basic Color Mixing

Teaching children the fundamentals of color mixing will help them develop new hues. For instance, demonstrate how to create green by combining blue and yellow.

6. Blocking in Colors

Start using big brushes to block the subject's primary colors. Encourage children to concentrate on primary colors and forms.

7. Layering

Oil paints allow for layering. To prevent muddying the colors, teach them to wait until one layer of paint is dry before adding another.

8. Blending

Show children how to combine colors using a dry brush or by piling several tones on top of one another.

Some other concepts to keep in mind are:

Color Mixing Basics

Source: Chris Richard’s Art

A vital element of art is color mixing, which can be accomplished using various materials, such as paint, colored pencils, or digital tools. It is easier for many artists to mix multiple colors and acquire the required colors for their work when they have a basic understanding of color mixing. The main principles of color blending are as follows:

1. Primary Colors

Source: Averills Mountain Art

These three colors cannot be created by mixing other colors. The primary colors are:

  • Red

  • Yellow

  • Blue

2. Secondary Colors

Source: Bill Martin’s Guide

These are created by mixing equal parts of two primary colors. The secondary colors are:

  • Orange (mixing red and yellow)

  • Green (mixing blue and yellow)

  • Purple (mixing red and blue)

3. Tertiary Colors

Source: Patrick Howe

Tertiary colors are created by mixing one primary color with one secondary color next to it on the color wheel. There are six tertiary colors, including:

  • Red-orange

  • Yellow-orange

  • Yellow-green

  • Blue-green

  • Blue-purple

  • Red-purple

4. Color Mixing Rules

Some other oil paints colors are:

  • Neutral tones like grays and browns can be created by mixing complementary hues opposite one another on the color wheel.

  • Adding white or black to colors of the same hue but varying intensities produces tints (lighter versions) or shades (darker versions) of the paint. When white is added to a color, the result is a "tint" of the color that makes it lighter. Color becomes a "shade" when black is added, becoming darker.

  • Various earth tones and muted colors can be produced by combining shades with a primary hue.

5. Color Wheel

Source: Empty Easel

The color wheel represents the primary, secondary, and tertiary colors in a circular format. It aids in the understanding of color connections and color mixing among artists.

6. Using a Limited Palette

It's helpful to stick to a palette made up only of white and the fundamental colors. This method makes better color control and comprehension of color mixing possible.

Also read: Watercolor Child Portrait: Watercolor Child Portrait: A step by step guide

Paint Application Basics

The fundamentals of oil painting are using the right brushes, high-quality oil paints, and gesso to prepare the canvas or surface. To set the composition and values, start by creating an underpainting, using the "fat over lean" technique, and layer colors by starting with thin paint and building to thicker layers. Before adding more layers, let the previous ones dry.

To achieve desired results, use a variety of brush strokes and blending methods. Brushes should be adequately stored after being cleaned with mineral spirits or odorless turpentine. Oil paints need time to dry, so have patience. To produce fascinating and bright oil paintings, embrace experimentation and innovation.

How to Create a Composition

Source: Master Oil Painting

For an oil painting to succeed, a solid composition is essential. Here is a step-by-step tutorial to assist you in creating an engaging composition:

1. Start by conceptualizing and picturing the theme or concept you wish to paint. Consider the painting's primary components, focus points, and general atmosphere.

2. Create brief thumbnail sketches to experiment with various arrangements and compositions. This method enables you to swiftly test different hypotheses without devoting much effort.

3. When positioning essential items, follow the rule of thirds. The key components should be placed close to the crossing points once you have divided your canvas into nine equal sections (both vertically and horizontally).

4. Use leading lines or trails to direct the viewer's attention through the artwork. These lines may be genuine ones, like rivers or roads, or they may be inferred by moving different parts.

5. Aim for visual equilibrium when creating your composition. To keep the artwork from feeling unbalanced, spread out the visual weight of the pieces evenly.

6. Create contrast and emphasis by changing the elements' size, value (light and dark), color, and detail. The focal area should have maximum contrast and detail to attract attention.

7. Reduce complexity by not including too many details in the composition. To make the painting aesthetically compelling and simple to interpret, simplify the elements.

8. Negative space is the space around the primary subjects; pay attention to it. It could be just as crucial to a harmonious composition as the positive components.

9. Consider the Golden Ratio or Golden Rectangle. To create a visually appealing piece and harmonic balance in more complicated compositions, consider employing the golden ratio or golden rectangle.



We wave farewell to another imaginative oil painting experience with our creative kids as the paint brushes rest and the vibrant mayhem calms. Their works of art, which range from whimsical splatters to clever strokes, reflect their limitless imaginations. Keep those little Picassos motivated and painting joy onto every canvas until our next artistic adventure! Happy painting!

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