501 Life Magazine | Create something new with art-themed parties
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Create something new with art-themed parties

by Brittany Gilbert

Social art-working has become a popular trend in the past several years. Mom groups, work groups, church groups, etc., get together at local painting boutiques and explore their creative side in a party type atmosphere.

It’s a great way to bond as a group and have fun, and the best news is that you don’t have to be a seasoned painter. An employee at the boutique has all of the materials ready for you and walks you through the process. They will help you create a specific design they have pre-selected, or they will offer you a few designs from which to choose. Either way, you leave with more skills than you arrived with and a piece of art that you created.

It seems complicated until you’ve participated, and then you see how easily you could duplicate the process. The design doesn’t have to be elaborate; you can decide on a simple design that will fit your group. Lately, I’ve seen kids’ parties with this theme. Here are a few ways to create an art-centered birthday party for your child.

Pre-designed canvas

If you’re wanting the children to leave with a specific design, the easiest way to accomplish this is to draw it on the canvas beforehand. Animals, flowers and sports are just a few themes to choose from for this project. Then whenever the kids arrive, they can spend their time filling in the design with paint. If you know which guests will be joining you, and hopefully you will if they RSVP, you can have their initials taped on a canvas (masking tape or painters tape works great) and let them go to town painting the canvas. Once they are done, remove the tape and voila. It’s hard to mess this up. This is the option for me as I am paint-challenged.

A blank slate

Your guests arrive to a blank canvas. Then they can either paint in a freestyle way and create whatever they decide, or you can have a “class” where the kids are asked to follow the teacher’s instructions to create a specific design. This class method will only work with older children who can follow directions and understand the concepts needed for this project, however, it will depend on the child. If they end up not being able to follow in this style of art class, they can always divert to the freestyle method and create their own masterpiece.

I would choose this method if I had a specific audience of kids who I know would enjoy this technique without getting frustrated. However, it would be fun to take part in helping kids create something from scratch.

Alternative canvas

Instead of a typical canvas, try a canvas of a different style. Hobby Lobby carries all different kinds of objects that kids could enjoy painting. Letters, animals and shapes work well, and depending on the season, pumpkins are great, too. You could even provide shirts for your guests to decorate.

Don’t forget the edible canvas, either. Sugar cookies are so fun to decorate — perhaps even more fun than eating!

Whichever method you choose, make sure to provide all of the materials and consider the mess. Smocks, table coverings, floor coverings, etc. are helpful. You don’t want to be responsible for outfits being ruined. That being said, make sure to adequately prepare your guests for the fun they will be entering into when they attend your party.

Be prepared to be the most loved party for a while. 


Brittany Gilbert is a former FACS teacher at Maumelle High School. She and her husband, Levi, have two sons and a daughter and live in Conway. Brittany can be reached at b.gilbert37@gmail.com.