Tempera Paint Sticks Review

As a big fan of paint I was not sure how to react to a mess free alternative to the paint brush and liquid paint. Tempera paint blocks or cakes, you know the ones:

Tempera Cakes

They are still popular in classrooms and centers but I find they don’t give great coverage. Sometimes students are frustrated by the wateriness of the paint. Learning to apply paint from a tempera cake, without ripping your paper with too much water can be a challenge! However they have a place and are great to pull out quickly, with minimal clean up.

Liquid tempera, you know the type:

Prang Washable Tempera Paint - 8oz

It is great for coverage but can be messy to apply and clean up!

As a fan of process rather than product, my initial reaction to Tempera Paint Sticks was hope that they would not replace the process of painting which I believe all children need to explore, learn and enjoy.

I am a huge fan of oil pastels and wondered if they would be similar.

Tempera Paint Sticks

Turns out they are even more awesome! They are smooth to apply as they glide over the paper and yet they look like a glue stick. They dry almost instantly with full coverage. Check it out:


The flowers reactions were funny. Daisy said “Oh these are cool, they are kinda like a crayon and kinda like an oil pastel.” and “they go on really easy”.


Rose said “awesome” and “can we use them later?” when I told her to get ready for the bus.


They were both engrossed in their art.

They are so easy to apply, drawing is a natural reaction to using these paint sticks, as you can see from the photos.


We applied liquid watercolour paint on top of the Tempera Paint Sticks and it stayed put. Not bad for newsprint paper!

The paint dries almost instantly so artwork can be taken home the same day.

Lets face it there are times when you want great colour impact but don’t have time to pull out the paints. These Tempera Paint Sticks give the colour impact without the mess of paint or the smudging of oil pastel. What more can I say?

At only $4.25 for 4, give them a try and I think you will be impressed.


Paint Nite Style Party for Children

Complaints that Mama was getting to go to Painting Parties while children missed out were countered by having a “Paint Nite” style birthday party for 9 year old Daisy. She is an avid artist and was very excited to host a painting party for her friends.

Guests were asked to bring an art smock or old shirt and when they all arrived we headed down to the basement to the spare bedroom aka The Art Studio!

Everything was ready and waiting ahead of schedule and included:

Easels and canvases were purchased from the dollar store. Paintbrushes were from Quality Classrooms and were great quality.

Beginner Brush Set

They were an affordable starter pack and the different colours made it easier to direct artists to pick up a particular sized brush.

Paint was a mixture of tempera and then for the white we used acrylic. I did notice the white on top pulled colour from the background which you can notice in the completed painting. When looking at paint night style paintings they usually layer darker colours on top, probably for this reason.


Here the artists are adding green to their background. A simple painting of a panda was chosen to tie in with the theme Daisy wanted. As I painted the example, prior to the party, I noted the stages and steps. In the style of a paint night party, I talked through each step and emphasized the importance of enjoying the painting and not comparing with each other. Everyone’s painting will be different and we are all artists.


Then bamboo was created with white paint. This was the perfect time for supper which allowed the paint to dry.


After tummy’s were full, back to painting. The black paint was great for coverage but even the white acrylic struggled. As mentioned earlier, I recommend dark colours for top layers when working in a tight timescale.

We noticed the easels were designed for smaller canvases so they did cause an indentation on the canvas while painting. I am wondering if they could be adapted to a bigger canvas? …next time!

Paint-nite-blog-4The finished Panda by Daisy. One of the artists mentioned that this painting was easy when it was broken down into steps and you were guided through it. What more of an endorsement does this style of painting need? This party was a lot of fun and the entertainment from the guest artists was awesome! As they painted they told ghost stories, sang and chatted. It was a wonderful glimpse into the life of a 9 year old!





Testing Watercolour Pencils

I enjoyed using watercolour pencils as a child and loved that moment when you added water and your art turned into a painting. As with many things the memories from childhood are a little betraying. While teaching an art class recently, I was disappointed by the watercolour pencils I tried with my students. They seemed grainy and not very vibrant.

Watercolour Pencils (24)

I was then challenged to try out different brands to see if the brand I had tried were weak or if my memory was failing me.


The four brands were:

  • Prang
  • Crayola
  • Lyra
  • Sargent Art

The girls got straight down to “work”!


We used a printed colouring sheet and dived it into four sections. We took care to use the allocated brand of watercolour pencil in the correct section.

Comments included:

  • Prang- soft and makes chips or dust, kinda crumbly, it is hard to colour lightly
  • Crayola- it has a hard lead, you have to press down hard
  • Lyra- doesn’t erase easily, I like it best because it doesn’t dust
  • Sargent Art- it has a hard lead, it takes too long to cover

These comments were shared while colouring. We did try to erase them all. Lyra was the most difficult to erase, while the rest were more successful. As you can see from the photo we were on a rough surface, not dissimilar to a school desk I imagine.

The excitement of adding water was quite the thrill!


The wonderful no spill water pot saved the day.


The girls enjoyed watching the colours blend together as they used paintbrushes and water. They did need to wash their brush off after each colour change but the results were beautiful.


Our favourites in terms of blending power as you added water, were probably the Crayola and Lyra with the Prang and Sargent Art coming close behind.

Yes, apparently my memory has failed me. While the watercolour pencils did what they needed to I was thinking more of these I think….

Watercolour Crayons

I guess I will have to try them next!

Paint Pipette Exploration

Rose loves playing with these paint pipettes:

Paint Pipettes

Coloured water play, as well as paint is a hit. We used them last to create Moon Salt Art and the children who participated loved the squeeze action of the pipettes.

Here is the invitation:

Paint pipette invitation

The messy paint trays are a perfect fit for a 9 x 12″ piece of paper so we used one as a blank canvas.

Pipette action

The paint we used was a little thick as it had been sitting unused for many months. Adding a little water would have made the process easier for little fingers.

Pincer gripThis is a great strengthening action for the pincer grip.

Colour mixing with skinny sticks

A skinny craft stick was used to mix paints. This is not necessary, but fun and prepared Rose for the colour mixing which is about to occur.

Paper patting

Adding paper and firmly patting.

The reveal.

Revealing the print.

Final painting

We managed to get two prints from the paint. Beautiful!


Fall Tree Window Art

We have been suffering from withdrawal from messy art activities. Too much gardening and preserving happening in preparation for winter, so we decided on a perfect fall painting task.

Fall colours were chosen; green, yellow, brown and red. Just enough paint was added to cover the dish and coat hands.

Rose provided a stencil for the tree and branches.

And paint was liberally added with a brush while Buddy the pug watched.

Painting technique was discussed:

  • place hands in the paint
  • gently pat them together
  • paint your leaves on the window
  • chose to get more paint or wash hands for a new colour

Messy happiness

Pure joy

Adding final details

Our beautiful fall tree window art.

Butterfly Inspired Art

We decided to use the abundance of white butterflies in the garden as inspiration for art.

These beautiful butterflies are everywhere at the moment, not sure if it is good for my vegetable garden but they are pretty.

We looked at them in detail with the help of Google talking about the patterns and colours of the wings.

You need:

What to do:

Make corn using green paint. We tried using sticks to apply the paint but it was too slow a process for Daisy. A paintbrush applied the paint in a much more satisfying way.

We talked about how corn grows from the ground up. We imagined the roots were below the paper and we were painting the corn as we see it above the ground. This helped her to start at the bottom of the paper and paint up.

She struggled initally with the need to paint in a downwards motion but when using the words “growing form the bottom up” it all seemed easier. Yes; those were the first words that came to mind; growing from the “ground to the sky” might have been better, on reflection!

Next we added the butterflies.

So here is where I had the usual dilema. I have a tendancy to have control issues. I am a grade 3-6 teacher and so am used to working with set outcomes or learning objectives. I find it hard to remember little kids need to freely explore. Daisy is a very headstrong girl and likes to do things her way; sounds familiar. She insisted on doing the butterflies her way. This is her finished exploration piece:

We then did anther version of butterflies; with emphasis on showing the different corn plants in our garden and each butterflies wings. We talked about the symmetry of the wings:

I made sure she understood that I valued both pieces of work. When adding the antennae, Daisy pointed out she couldn’t find each butterfly in the exploration piece. On her second attempt, she added the black dots she had seen on the wings and tried to make each wing match.

Here is the finished Butterfly Inspired Art:

Learning Objectives:

  • To identify elements of art: line, colour, texture, shape, form, and space.
  • To identify, describe and create patterns.
  • To identify and describe examples of symmetry.