Colourful painted wood kids art activity

Recently we got some scraps of balsa wood from our local up-cycled craft supplies shop here in Adelaide (It's Not Garbage). We have been thinking about what to make with it and thought we would experiments painting on the wood with different inks and pens. We experimented with liquid water colour paints, permanent marker pens and rubbing alcohol to see the effects we could create. If you don't have any balsa wood, scraps of ply wood would work well too.


  • Balsa wood (or thin ply would work too)
  • Liquid water colour inks
  • Permanent marker pens
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Multi purpose craft glue
  • Craft knife
  • Brushes

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We began by cutting up a thin sheet of balsa wood into smaller shapes using a cutting knife and glue them onto a base to make a fun 'canvas' to decorate. This step isn't strictly necessary, we just thought it would look cool! We made 3 different 'canvases' for our experiments.

balsa wood shapes for craft

One the first piece of wood we tried just liquid water colours, watching how the colours spread through the wood grain and combined. The inks soaked quickly into the absorbent wood.

balsa wood painted with liquid water colour kids art

One the second piece of wood, we coloured in the shapes using Sharpie permanent markers. Then using a brush, we added drops of rubbing alcohol on top of the maker to see the effect. The alcohol changed the colour of some of the pen inks and made the colours seep and blend together. This was probably the most fun of our experiments and the kids loved watching the colours change.

sharpie marker on wood with rubbing alcohol kids art

One the third piece of wood we added everything; liquid water colours, sharpie pen and alcohol!

kids art decorated woodinks and pen on wood kids art project


Here at Mini Mad Things, when I'm not busy crafting up a storm with my little ones, I also run a small online shop selling a range of eco-friendly kids ART SUPPLIES, CRAFT BOXES and beautiful art activity BOOKS. All the products that I sell are tried and tested by my awesome team of rigorous quality control experts (my little ones) and we only sell items that we love!

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Natural Water Colour Paints
Art Workshop for Children
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