Fantastic foil fold-over paintings

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on November 1, 2012

in Creative Art, Foil Fold-Over Painting, Fold-Over Painting, Painting

Young children love the beautiful and colorful results of paint rubbings. It is like magic when you put different colors of paint on a piece of paper, fold it over, rub it, then open it back up to see all the beautiful  blended colors. Today, my Pre-K students enjoyed a different kind of paint rubbing which I like to call foil fold-over painting…

To set up our foil fold-over painting center, I set different colors of paint and aluminum foil out on the table. One of the many things that I love about this process is that it requires so little preparation and very few materials and yet it is a process that is very engaging…

To begin the process, my students started by tearing off a sheet of aluminum foil.  I had to show some of my students how to lift up on the foil to pull out the length they wanted then pull down on the foil to tear it off…

The children caught on quickly to tearing off their own sheets of foil and it didn’t matter if their sheet of foil was long or short, the process still worked out pretty much the same…

Once the children had a sheet of foil off of the roll, they set the foil on the table and begin to make paint designs on top of their foil…

Some of my older students chose to draw a picture with the paint bottles but most of my students chose to squeeze lines or dots of paint out randomly all over their sheet of foil…

Once the children had the desired amount of paint on their sheet of foil, then they folded the foil in half…

Once the foil was folded in half, the children rubbed their hands all over the outside of the foil for a few seconds…

After rubbing the outside of the folded foil, then the children opened up their foil to see the magical way their colors blended together…

Some of my students enjoyed the process so much that they chose to keep on going and many of the children made two to four different foil fold-over paintings…

Along the way, some of our pieces of foil would get wrinkled up during the folding or rubbing process, but my students didn’t care – we found that it added texture to our paintings…

And some of our sheets of foil might rip a little around the edges but my students didn’t care because the painting inside was still quite beautiful. And any time a child wanted, they could make another one.  All of my students did an amazing job of painting, folding, rubbing, and unfolding their sheets of aluminum foil all by themselves. As the children completed their paintings, they set them in their drying rack to dry overnight…

This was a wonderful process that involved the use of fine motor skills and an excellent way to invite exploration in color, texture, and design…

Questions you might ask…

  • The paint bottles are condiment bottles that I picked up at Walmart in their kitchen department.
  • We didn’t use up all of our foil – I think we still have over half the box of foil left.
  • The children wrote their names on the paintings using a thin black permanent marker.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

1 lydia November 1, 2012 at 6:37 am

Wow! this is interesting. How old are your students doing this activity?

2 Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. November 1, 2012 at 7:19 am

These children are ages 4 and 5 Lydia:)

3 Diane Quigley-Clune November 1, 2012 at 8:39 am

Love art that the children can pretty much complete on their ow.
Thanks Sherri.

4 Susan Case November 1, 2012 at 9:55 am

Looks like a lot of fun and inexpensive. Great way to teach colors and mixing of primary colors.

5 Teacher Mae November 1, 2012 at 11:06 am

Hi teacher Debbie! Your site is very interesting, helpful and full of fun! Thank you for sharing!

6 Kirstylee November 1, 2012 at 11:20 am

What a great idea. I tried to do this activity with paper awhile ago, but it just didn’t work very well because the paint kept trying. I’ll have to try it again with aluminum foil. Thanks for the idea!

7 Nancy Brunner November 1, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Hi Deborah,
Do your children ever wear paint shirts or smocks?

Thanks,
Nancy

8 Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. November 1, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Hi Nancy,
Sometimes we do but only if what we are going to do is extremely messy. I keep paint smocks out on hooks but only a few of my students wear them. I have some students who really stress out when they have to wear them so what I have found is that by not requiring them, the children have learned to be more aware of what they are doing and decide for themselves how best to participate. My parents always support this decision and send their children in clothes that are for getting messy. Still, I try to be sensitive to the amount of messiness we are in for and if it is above and beyond our usual, then smocks or t-shirts are worn. I have to sat that whether we wear smocks or not- it is our sleeves that always wind up messy and not so much our clothing. Well, except my white pants:)

9 Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. November 1, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Hi Nancy,
Sometimes we do but only if what we are going to do is extremely messy. I keep paint smocks out on hooks but only a few of my students wear them. I have some students who really stress out when they have to wear them so what I have found is that by not requiring them, the children have learned to be more aware of what they are doing and decide for themselves how best to participate. My parents always support this decision and send their children in clothes that are for getting messy. Still, I try to be sensitive to the amount of messiness we are in for and if it is above and beyond our usual, then smocks or t-shirts are worn. I have to say that whether we wear smocks or not- it is our sleeves that always wind up messy and not so much our clothing. Well, except my white pants:)

10 Trisha November 1, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Oooo! We work on colors all year, but just began a color “unit” today!! This is great…Thanks so much:)

11 Lorraine @ Science-Friendly Homeschool November 1, 2012 at 5:24 pm

I love how zen you are about little things that go wrong with the art projects, like wrinkled foil or torn pieces. I really have to keep reminding myself that it’s about the process, not the product, when we do an art project. One thing that’s helped me, is that I do the project alongside my child. Mine can be as perfect as I like and it helps me leave his alone.

12 Kimira November 1, 2012 at 9:24 pm

“Butterfly painting” is a sure winner. We havent tried it for a while and never with foil. I am going to take a huge stack of one sided paper out today

13 Kelly at Little Wonders' Days November 1, 2012 at 9:35 pm

This is such a neat project! I love all the sensory elements involved. I’m going to try this with my kids.

14 Cathie November 4, 2012 at 12:03 am

Fun times. Thanks for sharing.
Cathie at toddlersthroughpreschool.com

15 Denise DeLong November 10, 2012 at 10:16 am

Thank you for sharing this idea! I did it with my preschoolers last week with MUCH success!! One little boy made several pictures and was thrilled when one turned out to look just like…a Transformer!!

I have adopted the same experimental style of teaching myself, and am really dismayed when I go into our school system’s preschool to substitute (I am a private faith-based preschool). The artwork there is mostly teacher-led, perfect projects with most of the cutting and placement of pieces done by the aides!

16 Nicole Marzic November 15, 2012 at 8:54 pm

Hello Deborah!
I just did this last week with my 3 & 4 year olds and both ages loved it! I wanted a process based way to get turkey feathers for our bulletin boards, so I had pre-cut card stock feathers that we used to make prints. The kids LOVED it.

17 Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. November 15, 2012 at 9:08 pm

I love it Nicole! Thanks for taking the time to come here and share your exciting news! Isn’t it fun when things just work out so well!

18 Chris Mortenson November 27, 2012 at 5:39 pm

What kind of paint did you use? We did this last week in our class, but when they dried the paint just peeled off.
The children loved the activity and wanted to take them home, so I put contact paper over the top to keep the paint from falling off the foil.

19 Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. November 27, 2012 at 9:39 pm

I am sorry to hear that Chris. We just used Crayola Liquid Tempera Paint and no problem with peeling for us!

20 Chris Mortenson November 28, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Thanks Deborah. The kids loved the process anyway. Will try Crayola next time. Love your ideas. Thanks for sharing.

21 Lisa Photakis March 9, 2013 at 7:53 am

I used Tin foil to create amazing spin art. My class of 10 children ages 3+4 designed wonderful St.Paddy’s Day rainbows and clovers. The children cut their idea of a rainbow shape, (Clovers too) placed it in the spinner added their choice of paints and spun to their hearts content! You’ll hear a lot of “Wow look what I made!”

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