When the kids are tired of being indoors and you need an easy activity for them to do, get them outside for a little art! This water gun painting on canvas activity is super fun, and is pretty budget-friendly too. Fun for kids of any age, you’ll love creating your own DIY decor with this entertaining arts and crafts project.
We actually did this as an activity for my 11 year old’s birthday party, since we wanted an outdoor activity that would be good for social distancing. It’s perfect for parties, but is also fun for a weekend activity too!
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Supplies needed for water gun painting
You only need a few things for this outdoor activity, and you probably have most things at home already:
- canvases to paint (or some other object, like a t-shirt or even paper)
- paint (we used Crayola Washable Project Paint, which is poster paint)
- water guns – we got 2 packs of 3 for $1 each at Dollar Tree
- resealable snack bags or sandwich bags
- painter’s tape (optional)
The most expensive part of this project is the canvas, which cost us around $8-10 each at Michael’s. If you buy in bulk from Amazon, they seem to be much cheaper. I wish I had thought ahead to do that, but I waited until the last minute to get things together.
Painter’s tape can be used to put a child’s initial or some other design on the canvas before painting. I thought that would be a really cool idea but none of my kids wanted to take the time to do that. They just wanted to squirt the water guns!
Maybe next time.
How to paint canvas with water guns
Pour some of the paint into a baggie, then add water. I do one part paint to one part water. Seal the baggie and squish around to mix.
Once the water and paint are mixed thoroughly, cut off the tip of one of the corners of the bag. Keep the cut fairly small, or it will make it difficult to get the paint into the water gun.
I recommend cutting the stopper to completely remove it from the water gun filling hole. It took me struggling to fill 4 water guns before I figured this out – so I’m telling you from the start! You get to learn from my mistakes.
Fold the cut tip of the baggie a little so it fits just inside the hole in the water gun. Then slowly release the bag so that the paint/water mixture flows inside. Once your baggie is empty (or the water gun is full), replace the stopper to close up the filling hole.
Wipe any excess paint off the gun. If you don’t spill any paint, you’re must have a steadier hand than I do!
I used a Sharpie marker to label each gun. We couldn’t find a different color gun for each color of paint, so some guns had to be used for a different color (like purple paint in a blue water gun). It just makes it easy to know what color each gun is later on.
Repeat the process until you’ve done all of the colors you want to use.
Open your canvas and set it up in a safe place outside. If you’re concerned about the paint staining or ruining a surface, you may want to take this activity onto the grass or protect the area under the canvas.
If you’re using the painter’s tape to create white space on your canvas, now’s the time to apply it.
Then stand back and have fun! Aim at your canvas and squirt away. Experiment with different colors, and see what happens when two colors mix together!
Let the canvas dry outside or in a safe space until the paint is fully dry to the touch.
If you do this water gun painting on canvas project, I’d love to see it! Tag me on social media or send me an email. Have fun!
Looking for other activities for your kids? Check out our Bored List with 50 activities for bored kids!
Amanda is a mom of 4 living a mostly crunchy lifestyle outside of Atlanta, GA with her husband, 2 dogs, and a cat. As a former special education teacher who also has her personal training certification — Amanda really enjoys teaching others how to do things!
When she’s not working, Amanda enjoys DIY projects, exercising, photography, hiking, and long walks through Target.