How to do mess-free magic painting with your baby

Easy, tactile and wonderfully mess-free, clingfilm painting is an amazingly simple way to introduce your baby to creative mark-making – and produce a wall-worthy work of art

Mess-free magic painting for babies

We really like this tactile, mess-free, clingfilm baby art idea which we first saw posted in the brilliant Family Lockdown Tips and Ideas Facebook group – and love how mum Beckie Smith has used it here to get her 9-month-old baby Elliot to ‘paint’ his name.

“This was Elliot’s first proper painting,” says Beckie, “and he loved the experience. He was so intrigued by the textures of the paints under the clingfilm. We did this several times and gave a painting to each set of grandparents.”

Here’s how to do clingfilm painting with your baby


You Will Need

  • Pen or pencil
  • A4 card
  • Sticky tape
  • Cardboard
  • Paints in different colours
  • Clingfilm
  • Marker pen

Total time:

Plus baby-smudging time and drying time

Step 1

Draw your baby’s name in pencil with bubble letters on a piece of A4 card. Use sticky tape to stick this to some spare cardboard.

Baby name painting step 1
Pic: Beckie Smith

Step 2

Put a few splodges of differently coloured paint in each letter.

Baby name painting step 2
Pic: Beckie Smith

Step 3

Carefully place some clingfilm over the top, making sure not to smudge anything. Fix it in place with a few bits of sticky tape on each edge. (For stronger or slightly older babies, add an extra layer of clingfilm to protect from rips). Let the smudging begin!

Baby name painting step 3
Pic: Beckie Smith

Step 4

Once your baby has explored and smudged the paints around, carefully remove the clingfilm and leave to dry. Once dry, go over the pencil name with a black felt pen to make your child’s name stand out.

Baby name painting finished
Pic: Beckie Smith

How to adapt this clingfilm painting activity for mess-free toddler art

clingfilm toddler painting
Pic: Emma Roberts

You can create more adventurous clingfilm art with an older child, as mum Emma has shown here, with her 2-year-old’s brilliant clingfilm sunset landscape.

The most important thing here is to use LOTS of layers of clingfilm – as you’ll probably be using more paint and toddlers can be a bit more, erm, hands-on than babies when doing this kind of activity.

“My little boy loved this,” says Emma. “I put a few layers of clingfilm on the floor and taped it in place. I’d bought a cheap canvas and I put it on the clingfilm.

“Then I splodged paint on it in the shades of a sunset and put clingfilm over the top (quite a few layers) and taped in to place.

“It didn’t take long to make – and I helped to spread the colours right to the edge – but it is nice that I have something wall-worthy that my little one made. I have added his initials and the date to the bottom in permanent marker as a memory to look back on.”

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