Kids Art: 5 Ideas for Working on Canvas

5 Ways to Create on Canvas with Kids

Whenever I see stretched canvases on special, I grab a few in various sizes to use for art projects. I love hanging children’s art on the wall. It places value on their creativity and ideas, and it looks great. In fact I would have to say that children’s artwork is one of my favourite choices for decorating.

Immy recently created the two collages shown below on canvas using pre-cut fabric shapes, buttons and lengths of wool. One of her artworks is much more representative – in her words, ‘It is a girl at the beach,’ – while the other is more abstract. They are now hanging together in one corner of my study (though Immy has asked me to put them in her bedroom instead!)


Canvas art ideas for kids

We have previously created a pair of monochromatic blue collages on canvases that hang in our playroom. Children do not always need a rainbow of colours to create with and limiting the collage material colour palette provides them with the opportunity to focus more on the shapes, textures and opacity of the objects presented.

Kids art: Monochromatic collage on canvas

If you are planning a painted artwork on canvas to keep and display and are wanting to avoid the muddy brown that often results when young children mix all of the colours together, limiting the colour palette works here as well – which is what I did for this big artwork;

Canvas art ideas for kids

You can see here how we created our ‘going BIG’ project that now hangs in Immy’s bedroom.

The other great thing about working on canvas is that you can paint over an artwork once you are ready for something new. Just paint over the original artwork with an undercoat, like I did with our drip painting experiment  (I was too impatient to paint a second coat of the undercoat which it probably needed but I kind of like the effect of the stripes running in the alternative direction to the drips, which shows through from the painting underneath!);

Canvas art ideas for kids

Immy’s drip painting and blue collages are displayed side by side in the book corner of our playroom.

tape art

Tape art is another technique that works well on canvas – and it looks great as an abstract work or as a tape monogram artwork like the one that takes pride of place in Immy’s bedroom.

tape resist art

How do you display your child’s artworks around your home?

For more great ideas for kids art, check out my book – Time to Create

Time_to_Create: Hands On Explorations in Process Art for Young Children


  1. Jo Porter says:

    AWESOME!!!!!!! Love Love Love Love, about to move into a new home and that is the best decorating tip EVER!!!!, Also keeps the kids occupied on the weekend. GREAT

  2. I haven’t actually tried using canvases with Grace yet but I bought one the other day for her to do a little piece for her new ‘big girls room’ and I thought perhaps she could do another for the new baby’s room, to feel like she was contributing. Love Immy’s fabric collage artworks, definitely ones to display 🙂

  3. I like the use of fabric – this is a must do activity!

  4. I also buy stretched canvases when they are on special – they always come in handy, whether it be for personal use, or to have so that we can make a gift for someone.

    Our children’s artwork also adorns our home. Artwork done by children certainly can be a stylish, fun and beautiful way to add personality to your home and decorate it.

  5. I did a grey base coat on a canvas, then when it was dry I let my 2 year old son at it with black and white paints. It looks AMAZING. The trick was realising when to get him to stop and move onto another one, so the brushstrokes are still clear and bold. We gave it to his grandfather as a birthday present and it honestly looks like a piece of modern art hanging in is house. Both Nick and Grandad are so proud of it!

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  7. I have the same love of childrens art! Every wall in our home has canvases our girls have made and we repaint them often, I love seeing what they create together. It’s also wonderful to see the changes in their pictures as they get older – their fingerpaintings from when they were toddlers look so different to the stick figures and ‘scenes’ they paint now. LOVE your big ‘drip’ painting, how beautiful it looks with the colourful bunting x

  8. I love these ideas, thanks for sharing…. I noticed some pictures hanging on a ribbon or string, neat idea, was just wondering how you attached the papers to the ribbon? was it glue??

  9. We use the Crayola Slick Stix on cheap dollar store canvases and have great success with kids artwork (without the muddy colours). But I love the idea of a collage with pre-cut shapes and buttons and wool!

  10. Love the idea of painting over and over. I might try some fabric on embroidery hoops. Thank you.

  11. I’ve been trying to come up with a decorating idea for my kids’ new bedrooms and this is perfect!! My eldest is a great little artist so he will absolutely think this is “awesome” (his favourite word atm). My middle man will have a great deal of fun getting messy and if I’m brave, I may even let the 2 year old have a go for his own artwork…

  12. Christie, you have me inspired! Will be on the lookout for canvases on special first thing tomorrow! Loving too, your daughter’s fabric and button collages!

  13. Aww this brought back wonderful memories for me. This is one of my all-time favourite things to do with my son. We did one (well actually, he did) when he was about 21 months just using pale pea green and dark and light blue as we had just redecorated his room in those colours. The canvas was 1m sq. He started using a brush, then his fingers, then he picked up a little toy car and drove that through the paint. THe effect was awesome and the canvas hangs proudly in his room, 2 years later. He often looks at it and says “Thats the painting i did with my car”. He is a very creative, imaginative soul who will spend hours just creating. His new brother is due to be born in a few weeks and he has already started asking when he can show him “how to paint with cars like mine”. Think I’m going to have to pull out the paints and canvases this weekend now….

  14. hey i have a kid of 4yrs old , i would like to get some ideas to develop his interest in painting

  15. Just wondering what you use to paint over old paintings when you want to do a new one over the top?

    1. I usually use whatever sample pots or leftover white house paint (water based not oil based) that we have, Kathy.

  16. What an innovative and beautiful to way to decorate your house!! And nothing can match the pride on children’s face upon seeing their creations hung. My 4 years old loves to hang her creations.

  17. Our daughter enjoyed playing the game like this and I also often built-in with my child. Thank you

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