All about Paint Sticks!

I mention “paint sticks” a lot when I share art projects from my classes or activities we do at home.

They are the MOST asked about art material by parents during my classes.

You may be asking: What’s the deal with paint sticks? Why have I never heard of them? or Why do I keep seeing them mentioned by different teachers?

About paint sticks:

Paint sticks are tempera paint sticks. They look like colored glue sticks but they are in fact paint. They do not glue at all (even though little kids always try to use it for gluing.) They work on a variety of surfaces, are perfect for preschool and younger elementary-aged children, and also for posters because they color big areas quickly. All ages love them!

Kids love them because they are bright and have a “slide-y-er” texture than a regular crayon, are more fun than markers, and have more control paint. They aren’t wet like paint but they aren’t dry like crayons.

The best part is: The color dries quickly and can be cleaned off of tables and hands with a baby wipe.


Do not:

  • leave them out overnight without the cap on
  • leave them out in the sun for a long time
  • let kids turn them up too high
  • give to a child who is over the age of 6 who is very particular or trying to color in something specific and/or small

Use them on:

  • a big coloring sheet
  • a cut up grocery bag or paper roll (then use it for wrapping paper)
  • a box or cardboard
  • rocks /shells
  • canvases (pro-tip: then add a layer of paint on top of the paint stick)
  • posters (so much faster for coloring than markers! and less messy + fast-drying than paint)
  • projects where you are layering materials a.k.a mixed-media (Always draw with markers or sharpies before you use paint sticks and not on top of the paint stick.)

Which ones do I buy?

If you know your kiddos will use them then this set has lots of colors.

If you want to test them out before investing lots of money then try this smaller basic set.

For teachers or for using with lots of kids I highly recommend the set from Discount School Supply.

They do last a while if you take care of them!

Enjoy! Share your projects and your kids at work with me. Tag @harborcreativearts + #inspiredbyHCA

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