Are you seeking a creative outlet to express yourself and unwind from the demands of daily life?
Painting can be a fulfilling and therapeutic activity that enables you to explore your creativity and make beautiful works of art.
Some enjoyable painting activities for adults include painting with numbers, using stencils to create layered art, Mandala painting, painting and sipping, and painting on dry leaves or other unconventional surfaces.
Participating in such activities has been shown to improve mental and emotional health.
Whether you’re a beginner or a skilled artist, knowing various painting techniques can enhance your artistic skills and provide endless opportunities for self-expression.
In this post, we'll delve into 33 exciting painting activities for adults that will ignite your creativity and provide hours of artistic enjoyment.
1. Paint with numbers
Like adult coloring books, paint-by-numbers kits are a fantastic option for adults who enjoy following a guide while creating art.
These kits provide pre-drawn outlines with numbered sections that correspond to specific colors. With the included paints and brushes, you can quickly fill in the sections and watch your artwork come to life.
Paint by numbers is convenient and a great way to relax and engage in a mindful activity.
2. Use stencils to create layered art
Stencil art is a fantastic craft project that allows for immense creative expression while accommodating all skill levels. You can easily find stencils at local craft or paint stores, and you might even have some lying around your house.
To get started,
- Gather your stencils, a backdrop such as canvas or paper, paint, and a sponge or paintbrush. Acrylic paint is recommended for its quick drying time and easy cleanup.
- Once your supplies are ready, place the stencil on your surface and begin sponge-painting or brushing the paint within the stencil. You can reuse the same stencil in different areas, but remember to wipe it off between colors.
- After creating your first layer, allow it to dry before adding additional layers. Use this time to envision the final look of your piece.
- Combine different shapes or experiment with complementary colors to spark your creativity. Consulting a color wheel can also provide additional inspiration.
Once you've added all your stencil layers, allow the artwork to dry completely. Then, take a moment to admire your masterpiece! Stencil collages can also serve as beautiful backgrounds for other art activities like scrapbooking and doodling.
3. Try out splatter painting
If you're looking for an exciting and uninhibited painting experience, why not try splatter painting?
Whether you've done it before or it's your first time, this technique offers a fun and liberating way to express yourself artistically. Simply dip your brush or flick paint onto the canvas, allowing the colors to splatter, and blend naturally.
This abstract approach can lead you to discover new ways of combining materials, create unconventional marks and effects, and liberate you from the constraints of realism.
4. Painting on dry leaves or other unconventional surfaces
Expand your artistic horizons by painting on irregular surfaces such as dry leaves, rocks, or even old wooden planks. These unique canvases add a touch of novelty to your artwork and provide an opportunity to create nature-inspired masterpieces.
5. Experiment with watercolors
Watercolor painting offers a unique technique worth exploring. Unlike standard acrylic or oil paint, watercolor consists of a colored pigment and a water-soluble binder. This means you need to add water to the paint in order to spread it on your chosen medium.
Watercolor painting may initially seem daunting due to its unpredictable nature and difficulty controlling the paint. However, working with watercolors can be valuable in embracing uncertainty and the spontaneous flow of creativity. The blendable and bleedable properties of watercolors allow you to add an extensive palette of colors and depth to your artwork.
If you're new to watercolor painting, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Basic colors are sufficient
Since the depth of each watercolor can vary greatly depending on how much water you mix with it, you do not need to overwhelm yourself with numerous colors. Stick to primary colors that can be mixed and blended.
Always use a palette
Watercolors are watery by nature, so blending your colors separately from your canvas is essential. You can purchase a palette from an art store or repurpose an old non-porous plate.
Use watercolor paper
Regular paper is ill-suited for watercolors as it tends to warp when exposed to moisture. Invest in watercolor-specific paper to achieve better results.
Recognize that watercolor painting can lead you in unexpected directions. Don't be discouraged if your artwork takes an unexpected turn. Embracing imperfections is part of the creative process and can result in unique and captivating outcomes.
6. Mandala painting
Mandalas’s meditative and intricate art offers a wonderfully soothing and relaxing artistic experience. Whether you prefer to color pre-drawn mandala outlines or create your own from scratch, using watercolor brush pens to fill in each intricate detail with vibrant colors can be incredibly satisfying.
It provides a perfect opportunity to unwind, de-stress, and tap into your creative side from the comfort of your home.
So grab your watercolor brush pens, immerse yourself in the mesmerizing patterns of mandalas, and let your creativity flow freely. Prepare to be captivated by the process and the stunning results that await you.
7. Paint and sip
Paint and Sip events have gained popularity as a delightful combination of creativity and relaxation. Whether you consider yourself an experienced artist or have never picked up a paintbrush before, Paint and Sip offer a welcoming and fun environment for people of all skill levels to gather, paint, and enjoy a drink or two.
The Paint and Sip events typically occur in a laid-back setting, such as an art studio, wine bar, or at-home gathering.
Participants are presented with all the necessary art supplies, including canvases, paints, brushes, and aprons. Under the guidance of a professional artist, attendees are encouraged to create their masterpiece step by step while sipping on their favorite beverage—often wine or other refreshing libations.
These events are arranged to be relaxed and enjoyable, fostering a friendly atmosphere that promotes creativity, self-expression, and the joy of painting. Bringing friends or family to participate in such events can also be a nice opportunity to bond with them.
You may also like: How to Paint by Numbers on Canvas (7 tips & tricks).
8. Rubber cement resist watercolor art
If you're looking to add an intriguing twist to your watercolor artwork, rubber cement resist is a fascinating painting activity for adults to explore.
It involves using rubber cement as a masking agent on your watercolor paper or canvas. This artwork is easy to do and can be ready within an hour.
Once your watercolor painting has dried completely and the rubber cement has been removed from the page, you will be looking at a vibrant and intricate artwork that will leave you in awe of your artistic talents.
9. Spring trees watercolor painting with crumpled paper
This painting craft is perfect for beginners and very easy to create. Once started, it can be completed in just over an hour.
It utilizes watercolors, a forgiving medium, and a unique crumpled paper technique to create a beautiful spring landscape with impressive visual appeal.
You don’t need to be an expert artist like Picasso to create something worthy of being displayed on your wall.
You may also like: 9 Best Paint by Numbers for Adults
10. DIY drum set for kids
If you're feeling adventurous and want to engage in a memorable painting activity with your kids, why not try creating a DIY drum set?
The DIY Drum Set is a fun and interactive project that involves painting empty containers and transforming them into colorful percussion instruments. Because the process involves painting designs on fabric, it’s completely customizable.
This kid-friendly instrument is eye-catching, doubles as decor, and can be an ideal gift to a loved one.
11. Dip-dye hammock
Bring a touch of creativity to your outdoor space with a dip-dye hammock. Using fabric dyes and various dipping techniques, you can transform a plain hammock into a vibrant and eye-catching piece of art.
We'll walk you through the process, from selecting colors to achieving the desired gradient effect. To get started:
- Gather your desired colors of Rit fabric dye and mix them with water in a large bucket.
- Mix the dye thoroughly to achieve vibrant hues.
- Once your dye is ready, it's time to dip the ends of the hammock into the buckets. You can dip one end at a time, allowing it to soak for a while before moving on to the other end.
- Alternatively, if you prefer a more controlled approach, lay the hammock out on a tarp and apply the dye with brushes.
No matter which technique you choose, the result will be a stunning and personalized dip-dye hammock that will undoubtedly be the focal point of your outdoor space.
12. Photo coasters
Combine your love for painting and cherished memories by creating personalized photo coasters. This activity lets you showcase your arts and crafts skills while preserving your favorite photographs.
Here is a step-by-step on how to transfer images onto coasters and tips on painting techniques and sealants for a long-lasting finish.
- Carefully trim your chosen photos to fit small, square ceramic tiles.
- Use Mod Podge to adhere the photos onto the tiles securely.
- Once the adhesive has dried, apply a thin coat of Mod Podge over the top of the image and allow it to dry thoroughly.
- Finally, seal the coaster with a clear glaze spray for a protective finish.
- Attach a small foam or felt “feet” to the back of the coasters to ensure your surfaces stay scratch-free.
With these simple steps, you can transform ordinary ceramic tiles into cherished mementos that capture and preserve precious memories.
But, if you want an effective method to capture moments, you can take a photograph of the event and create a paint-by-number on a custom canvas.
The picture would be created as a painting in your preferred colors and size, and just like the DIY Drum Set For Kids, they are functional and serve as meaningful gifts for your loved ones.
13. Painted birdhouses
Birdhouses are a delightful arts and crafts activity for adults that will surely capture the hearts of you and your feathered friends. Whether you're looking for a fun Easter party idea or simply want to indulge in a creative project, birdhouses offer a perfect opportunity.
You can easily find wooden birdhouses at a craft store or build a simple one from scratch. Once your birdhouse is ready, let your imagination soar as you paint it with vibrant colors and unique designs.
Hang the finished masterpiece near a window, and as spring arrives, you'll have the pleasure of birdwatching while admiring your handiwork.
You may also like: 7 Painting Ideas: What to Paint When You Have No Ideas.
14. Nail polish marble mugs
If you are bored or uninspired and wondering what you can craft, we have the perfect suggestion for you.
Pour painting is a carefree and enjoyable art form that many people love, but did you know you can adapt this style to other arts and crafts for adults?
One such craft involves using nail polish to create a mesmerizing marble effect on a white mug. All you have to do is add a few drops of nail polish into a large water bowl, then hold the mug’s rim and swiftly dip it into the water. As you lift it out, the nail polish magically transforms into a beautiful marble pattern!
It’s important to remember that these mugs should be hand washed to preserve the artwork and prevent any damage.
15. Get creative with sidewalk painting
Sidewalk painting offers a unique and creative way to enjoy the outdoors while expressing your artistic side. Whether you want to create a celebratory sign or simply explore your creativity on a new surface, sidewalk painting can be a rewarding project.
One critical thing to remember is that using the right type of paint is fundamental for sidewalk painting. Traditional acrylic or oil-based paints are not suitable, as they can be harmful to the surroundings and won’t wash off easily. However, using cornstarch, water, and food coloring, you can easily make your own sidewalk paint at home.
To make the sidewalk paint,
- Mix equal parts cornstarch and water
- Add several dashes of food coloring to achieve the desired hue.
If you want to make multiple colors simultaneously, we recommend using plastic bowls or a muffin tin to mix each color.
When choosing brushes, choose larger paintbrushes than those used for small canvases or paper. Brushes that are at least one inch wide are recommended for sidewalk painting. This allows for smoother strokes and better coverage on the larger surface area.
16. Join a virtual painting class
If you want to learn new painting techniques and interact with fellow art enthusiasts, joining a virtual painting class can be extremely rewarding and fun. These online classes offer the flexibility of learning from the comfort of your home while receiving professional instructors’ guidance.
An exciting fact about this painting activity is that you don’t have to do it alone. It can be done with families and friends. You could even host a painting party.
17. Photo transfer art
If you’re up for a challenge and want to create an awe-inspiring piece of art, try your hand at photo transfer art using mixed media paints and a piece of plywood. This technique is incredibly cool and allows you to showcase your creativity.
The process involves painting over a printed image and then using a matte medium to transfer it onto canvas.
Despite the pro level of difficulty, it is pretty easy to create.
An alternative to this tedious and time-consuming process is to order a custom Paint Your Numbers kit.
Simply upload the photo you want to transform into a paint-by-number kit to our website, select the size, and we'll do the rest. You will receive a detailed canvas paint-by-numbers kit with all the colors and brushes you need to get started within a few days.
18. Make stained-glass paintings (at home)
Stained glass is beautiful but expensive. If you want to bring the beauty of stained glass into your home DIY style, there’s a fantastic mixed media method that saves money and is a lot of fun.
This technique is particularly appealing when applied to glass panels, windows, or even photo frames.
To begin, you’ll need a combination of acrylic paint, puff paint, and white and clear glue bottles. The puff paint and glue mixture will serve as the caming lines, outlining the entire piece, just like in the traditional stained glass.
Then, you can infuse the inside of these lines with a blend of acrylic paint and clear glue. This clever combination gives your artwork that signature glassy look, adding a touch of transparency to allow light to shine through, much like genuine stained glass.
This approach allows you to create stunning stained glass-style pieces at a fraction of the cost while enjoying the artistic journey of transforming your home with the mesmerizing allure of faux stained glass.
19. Adult coloring pages
Adult coloring pages are a fantastic option if you’re looking for a relaxing and meditative painting activity. These intricately designed coloring pages provide a creative outlet and a chance to explore different color combinations.
You can choose entire books with themes such as Animals, Swirls, Mandalas or Christmas, and fun themes such as KickAss Cats. You can also download them individually, if you prefer, on some online platforms where you can find printable adult coloring pages.
20. Make a copy of a famous painting on the small scale
Have you ever visited a museum and fallen in love with a particular artwork?
Imagine having a version of that artwork for yourself. Before you start thinking about becoming a forger, let’s clarify that we’re not advocating for that. However, if you’re looking for inspiration for your next painting, why not choose a beloved work of art and create a smaller version of it?
By selecting a famous Impressionist work or an Abstract Expressionist painting, you can delve into the techniques and style of a master artist.
Emulating their work will provide valuable insights into their process, helping you understand how they approached their masterpiece. You may even discover areas where you could put your unique twist on the artwork.
21. Polymer clay mushroom mobile
If you love working with clay but don’t have a wheel or kiln at home, polymer clay is a perfect solution for you.
This versatile medium allows adults to express themselves in 3D without the need for specialized equipment. The sweet spot is that you can easily bake it in your home oven.
To create your own polymer clay mushroom mobile,
- Start by sculpting little mushroom caps and stems. Allow your creativity to run wild and make them as realistic or cartoon-like as you like.
- Once you're satisfied with the shapes, use a skewer to drill holes through the middle of each piece.
- Next, follow the baking instructions on the package for your polymer clay. Then allow them to cool completely.
- Finally, paint them and string them on wires to hang from a dowel rod, stick, or mobile.
An exciting fact about polymer clay is that you can enjoy the art of sculpting and painting without the need for a professional studio.
22. Miniature painting with acrylics
Improve focus and balance while exploring your artistic skills using acrylic paint and the tiniest paintbrush imaginable.
Push the boundaries of traditional painting surfaces by creating artwork on unconventional mediums such as long-grain rice or miniature polymer clay sculptures.
Despite the miniature scale, your artwork will shine brightly, as acrylic paints are known for their superb opacity and rich pigmentation.
23. Paint marble coasters
When it comes to DIY home decor art projects, painting marble coasters can be a fantastic choice. Not only are the surfaces relatively small, making them ideal for beginners, but the investment required is also low.
To embark on this project, start by finding a set of marble coasters.
Typically, you can find them at craft stores or home goods retailers. As you’ll be painting them, consider the shape and base color of the coasters.
Opt for pastel-colored coasters if you plan to use light colors and desire a light surface underneath.
Conversely, consider acquiring darker-colored marble coasters if you prefer to work with deeper hues.
It’s essential to remember these factors while shopping, as you might decide to leave some parts of the original coaster color exposed.
Acrylic paint is the recommended choice for painting marble coasters. It adheres well to the surface and offers a wide range of vibrant colors to choose from.
Once your painting is complete, it’s beneficial to seal the coaster with a waterproof sealant once the paint has dried. This last step helps protect against moisture-induced warping and bubbling while also providing some defense against chipping and scraping.
24. Herb and plant painting journal
Combine your love for painting and gardening by creating a herb and plant painting journal.
Use watercolors or acrylics to illustrate various herbs and plants, capturing their beauty and characteristics on paper.
Not only will this activity enhance your artistic skills, but it will also serve as a valuable reference guide for your gardening endeavors.
25. Stamped tea towels
Add a stroke of finesse to your kitchen or make a thoughtful gift by creating stamped tea towels.
Pick up some plain cotton tea towels, fabric paints, and fun sponge stamps, or carve your stamp designs out of potatoes. Simply dip your stamps into fabric paint on a plate and press them onto your tea towels to create fun patterns or graphic designs.
This activity allows you to explore different stamping techniques and experiment with colors, resulting in beautiful and functional pieces of art.
26. Tape resist art
Tape resist is an art craft activity that you do with your kids.
All you need is a stretched canvas or canvas panel where you create striking designs by applying tape to your canvas before painting.
Once the paint dries, take off the tape to uncover crisp, clean lines and shapes.
This method offers endless possibilities for creating geometric patterns, abstract designs, or representational artwork.
Try creating a project like the name of a loved one.
27. Custom painted doormat
When people step up to your front door, your painted doormat will not only showcase your creativity but also adds a personal touch to your entryway.
For this simple, functional craft, you’ll need a blank coconut coir doormat, paintbrushes, and exterior home paint in your color of choice. Tape off the borders and paint a fun pattern or freehand your very own doormat design.
28. Keepsake paintings
Keepsake paintings are one artistic activity that holds a special place in art because it allows you to preserve cherished memories and significant moments through the power of paint and brush.
Whether capturing the likeness of a beloved pet, immortalizing a particular place, or depicting a meaningful event, keepsake paintings serve as lasting mementos that evoke emotions and capture the subject’s essence.
So, pick up your brushes, select a subject close to your heart, and let your artistic skills transform memories into beautiful keepsake paintings that will be treasured for years.
29. Canvas cut-outs
If you desire to adorn your wall with homemade canvas artwork but need help painting something beautiful, we have a solution for you! Try creating captivating canvas cut-outs:
- Start by painting a canvas with a sealer and allowing it to dry.
- Once dry, flip the canvas over and draw your reverse design on the back.
- Finally, utilize a sharp craft knife to cut out your image carefully.
30. Mixed tape paint along
Indulge in nostalgia while painting along with your favorite music from a mixed tape. Choose a playlist that resonates with your artistic mood, whether they’re on vinyl, cassettes, or digital playlists, and select five to eight songs and let the melodies inspire your brushstrokes.
Allow your playlist to loop two or three times, moving from song to song and page to page for an hour or so.
This activity combines the joy of music with the therapeutic nature of painting, allowing you to create unique artworks infused with the emotions evoked by the songs.
31. Use a room in your own home as a canvas
Take your creativity to a new level by transforming a room in your home into a living, breathing work of art. From murals to decorative patterns, use paints and brushes to turn your walls into a stunning canvas.
This ambitious art project provides an immersive artistic experience and lets you completely personalize your living space.
32. Favorites grid
Create a favorites grid by painting small, individual canvases featuring things you love or find inspiring. Arrange the canvases in a grid formation, displaying a collection of your favorite subjects, colors, or themes.
This is one activity that you can do in bed, in your (safely parked) car, or even in the park. It allows you to explore a range of subjects and techniques while curating a visually appealing art piece.
Takeaway: Unleash your inner artist
Painting offers a gateway to self-expression and a means to tap into your creative potential. Engaging in it as an adult provides numerous benefits, including mental and emotional well-being.
Whether you prefer watercolors, acrylics, or other mediums, there’s a painting activity out there for you. The possibilities are endless, from painting with numbers to experimenting with unconventional surfaces.
So grab your brushes, paints, and canvases, and let your imagination guide your hand. Remember, the joy is in the process, and each brush stroke brings you closer to your masterpiece.
Ready to embark on your artistic journey? Read 21 Best Paint by Numbers for Beginners (read this first!).