Crafty fun…but hold the mess!

Crafty fun…but hold the mess!As an ECE teacher for the past eighteen years I have done ALOT of messy, messy crafts with preschoolers. However, not everyone shares my love of paper shapes permanently glued to the table, paint dripped on the floor, playdough stuck in the carpet, glitter on my hair/clothes/face for 2 weeks mess. Not everyone appreciates a huge mess and sometimes we just don’t have the time to clean up or even the appropriate area to do messy crafts in. I thought for these reasons and more I would share one of my all-time favorite non-messy craft ideas and some helpful hints as well….enjoy!

Painting is fun…and most kids looooove to paint. Painting is a messy craft and often one that makes some parents cringe. My absolute favorite non-messy painting craft activity is Salad Spinner Art. This is a super easy craft that’s lots of fun with minimal clean up.

Crafty fun…but hold the mess!

You will need: a salad spinner (does anyone use these for drying greens anymore? Lol), various colours of non-toxic paints, construction paper or paper plates, some muscles.

1. Cut a circle from the construction paper to fit inside the spinner (sometimes you can find paper plates that will fit right in there).

2. Place some drops of different colours of paint onto the paper or paper plate.

3. Firmly attach salad spinner lid.

4. Spin away! Spin fast, slow, to the left, to the right, do the hokey-pokey and turn yourself around….yes that’s what it’s all about!

5. Take child’s masterpiece out and place in a safe spot to dry.

6. Fill spinner with soap and water to clean.

And that’s it! Super easy and super NOT messy!


Here are some great ideas to make crafting time a little more bearable….


DON’T WANT A MESS ON YOUR TABLE/FLOOR? Cover with an old shower curtain

YOUR BUDDING PICASSO LIKES TO PAINT/COLOUR ON EVERYTHING? There are some really great inventions these days…markers and paints that only work on special paper…also great for the car, grocery store, doctor’s office or gramma’s all white carpeted living room.

AFRAID OF COLLAGES? Tape a piece of clear protective cover (you can buy a roll at the dollar store) to the table and let your child stick various fairly flat items onto it such as feathers, buttons, paper, etc to one side. When your child is done simply fold the other side over and voila…instant masterpiece. You could also have your child stick various colours of little cut out squares of tissue paper. This makes a great window catcher when done!

WATER PLAY TOO SCARY? Try filling a small water bottle with water, food colouring and oil. Add glitter and tighten lid (and when I say tighten I mean like REALLY tight so no leaks or accidental openings happen!). Let your child tip and turn bottle over to see what happens with the oil and water. Let child decorate the outside with stickers.

PAINT MESS GIVES YOU A HEADACHE? Fill a ziploc baggie with various colours of paint (not too full though or the baggie might burst…and you will then have a messy craft clean up on your hands!) , remove the air and seal the bag. (the ziploc brand that you actually seal the top tightly are the best). Using thick packing tape or duct tape tape the top of the bag to a table. Let your child mix and squish the paint inside the bag.

More ideas from my ECE brain…..

–buy white paper tablecloth and let your child colour on it with crayons or oil pastels

–use the great outdoors when possible…then the mess is all out of your house and kids will get fresh air (which often means they will tire sooner…yay for early bedtimes!)

But my definite numero uno crafting tip, messy or not is to be careful with the glitter. Seriously folks, that stuff lingers around for weeks and weeks, somehow ending up in your hair and on your clothes and you just know there’s always one little piece that gets stuck somewhere to your face and no matter how hard you try it just NEVER seems to come off. No amount of washing or sleeping or makeup ever seems to get rid of it…those of you who have ever “worked” with glitter know what I mean.

Until next time…stay classy Canada!

Lesley Peters – Author : Crafty fun…but hold the mess!