Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

How to Host an Paint Night Art Party (Paint and Sip or Coffee and Canvases)

It seems that Painting Parties, both Sip and Paint and Coffee and Canvases types, are all the rage right now. Did you know, however, that you can host an entire party for several friends for the price of about one admission to a standard paint and sip night?

This is not the painting we used for our party, but is another of the paintings you can do from The Art Sherpa's tutorials. This was done entirely by my autistic son, Alex.

How To Begin

Your first task if you want to host a party is finding a painting that you want to paint. This decision will be influenced by how artistic the host is, how experienced your guests are and their ages or if it is a mixed-age group. If you are artistic enough yourself, you could come up with your own design, perhaps with just a quick browse for what types of paintings are usually done in a party setting. Remember, you want your guests to be able to paint the entire painting in length of time of your party, typically a few hours.
Katie's painting of Happy Chickadee and Apple Branch

I used one of the over 700 acrylic painting tutorials offered for free by The Art Sherpa. She ranks the difficulty of her paints into three categories, between 1, for the easiest, to 3 for the most difficult. I chose Happy Chickadee and Apple Branch because it was a level 1 painting as some of my guests had never painted before. The nice thing about the tutorials is that even the easiest projects are not boring the the more advanced painter.
My painting of Happy Chickadee and Apple Branch. Note the slight variations between Katie's and my paintings. Be prepared for this. Even though we each watched the same tutorial, each person's painting turned out a little different...all good, but each a bit unique.

You, as host, should paint the projects yourself before the party. This gives you an example for your guests to look at in case they have a troubling point and keeps the steps in your mind so you can help if they need it. It also gives you a chance to troubleshoot any possible difficulties in advance.

Notice that I have the painting I did in advance set up on an easel for guests to refer to.
I also have set the paints all at one end of the table. They will be passed around as needed, so you don't have to buy a separate set of paints for each guest.

Buy The Supplies

I usually buy my supplies at Michael's simply because it is a one-stop shop for me (I live in the Boonies, so it is an hour long trip, minimum to any store) and they often have sales for the items needed (not everything all at once, though, so if you live near a store, you might want to go multiple weeks to see if they have more of the items you need on sale each week). If you have another craft/art supplies store near you, you might want to check on their prices. You can find the items you will need at Walmart or Amazon as well.

What will you need? Well, if you are choosing to use an Art Sherpa tutorial, she has a concise list at the bottom of her tutorial. Just click on the title and look at the description below. 

Acrylic Paint and Canvasses

You will need several colors of paint. For our Happy Chickadee painting, we needed seven colors (Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Red, medium shade, Cadmium Yellow, medium shade, Mars Black, Titanium White, Ultramarine Blue and Yellow Ocher), which is a typical amount of colors. If you go to a store like Michael's, you will find that there will be at least three grades of paint, ranging from the beginner's Artist Loft, which is less expensive (around $4 a tube) to the Golden's professional paint, which is the most expensive (around $9 a tube). If this is a one time event, you might not want to spend a whole lot on the paints. However, I did want to tell you that if you buy the least expensive paint, you might have more trouble with coverage as the companies of lesser quality paint save money by putting less pigment in their paints. They are certainly fine for a party, but just be aware that you might have to paint the canvas twice, especially at the places you use lighter color paints, such as white and yellows.

You will need one canvas per guest. I usually buy 16 x 20 inch canvasses. They often come in five-packs. They also come in grades. The lowest grades may also have paint coverage problems with the gesso on the canvas. Not a big deal, but just be aware that if the paint does not go on your canvas smoothly, it is probably not your fault, but the canvas'. You can solve this problem by just drying the paint and applying another coat of paint.


source: Art is Fun!
You will need a variety of sizes and styles of brushes. I have found for the beginning painting lessons that it doesn't matter a whole lot if you have the exact brushes called for in the tutorial, but it is important to have a variety so that if one type of brush is not getting the results you want, you can try another one. Of course you will need enough for everyone at your party to have a variety to choose from. If you want to know more about brushes and how the different shapes affect painting, Art is Fun! has a great post on this subject. Brushes, like paint and canvasses, have levels of quality, which will affect how easy the painting is to accomplish. If you are not sure how much you will be painting, I would start with the least expensive ones and add to the collection if you get hooked on painting as I have. Professional brushes can get very expensive.

Other Supplies

You will also need either cloths or paper towels to wipe your brushes out and clean up any spills or messes. I love kitchen flour sack cloths, but paper towels work just fine and are inexpensive.

You will need a cup of water and something to use as a pallet for each painter. I used regular plastic cups and paper plates for this.

Your guests may want to use a piece of regular kid's chalk to sketch in their painting. You may also want to provide a table easel for each guest. We had a few around the house (I have a college student daughter who is majoring in art) but they are not necessary and many of our guests just painted with the canvas flat on the table. 

Unless you want to just watch the tutorial and then teach how to do the painting yourself, you will need to have a way to display the tutorial from YouTube. I set up a television so that all the guests could see it and my husband worked the technical side by stopping the video periodically while guests painted and caught up to the tutorial.

You will also need to cover your table (and maybe even the floor and chairs) with a dropcloth. I used a thin plastic tablecloth that I picked up for a dollar.

You may want to buy refreshments, whether they be wine or coffee any other beverages of your choice. You might also want snacks or even a dinner. Since we needed to have the background of the painting to be dry before painting in the rest of the painting, I set up our party so that we painted in the background of the painting and then set it aside. While this dried, we ate dinner and then after dinner was over, we went back to painting. This required two places, one for painting and one for eating, however. You could, instead, just have finger foods and have everyone eat standing up or sitting in the living room while the paint dries. We served wine coolers while we painted the second part of the tutorial. An alternative to allowing the paint to dry, is to use a hair dryer to dry the paint.

The Day of the Party

On the day of the party, set up any decorations you might want to use and set up your drop cloths. Set up individual painting stations with all the supplies your painters will need. I just set the paint tubes at one end of the table and we just squeezed out a bit of paint as we needed it and then passed the tube around the table.
Prepare any refreshments you are serving. If the tutorial has a traceable, you will want to print that out for any guest that wants to use it. I find that rarely do you need one for the level one tutorials, however, as she explains how to paint everything very clearly. If you want to use a traceable, you will want to watch this tutorial on how to transfer an image to canvas.

The Party

Unless you have invited all experienced painters, expect your guests to be nervous about their ability to paint. Prepare them to expect the paintings look like children's art until the final highlights and lowlights are added to the painting. Reassure your guests and be prepared to give them step by step help. You may choose to paint with them, or just be available to give them the help they might need. It's a good idea to take a break at some point, even if you are not serving refreshments.

I hope this post reassures you that a painting party is not too difficult to host. However you choose to do your party, an art party is an inexpensive way to have fun with friends in a way that is tailored to your and your guests.


  1. I LOVE this idea! I actually got so excited by it that I scheduled it to pin, and then closed the post before I commented, so I had to track it down again.
    I'm thinking Princess would love to do this for her birthday party.

    1. Yes, I think it would make a great party for pre-teens and teens.


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