I know it sounds weird and I don’t know why we do, but for some reason we have a growing collection of spare wheels and casters. I am always trying to come up with ways to use them so that they don’t just sit around and let me tell you… this one is my favorite one yet! We did some process pendulum art using wheels from an old storage bin. It was a lot of fun and of course it was messy. In fact, I think it was the messiest my girl has ever been to date. But that’s ok, the process was worth it!
While this time we used wheels since it was fun watching it roll as it swung, we definitely plan on doing this again using sponges, paint brushes, and even just markers!
The pendulum art process is very easy and so is the set-up. However, it does take a little bit of planning to make it right and to make sure you don’t have unwanted paint splatter somewhere in your house. I cleared a space in my living room, removing anything that I would be upset if it got some paint splatter (I was thinking a few feet in the radius around the art because since it is swinging, it could send paint flying). I also laid a sheet and then the paint paper on top of that.
- Acrylic Paint
- Paint Brush
- Postal Paper
- (Optional) Styrofoam Egg Carton for Paint Palette
Set everything up like I mentioned above. Then you are going to set the tripod on the corners of the paper. We decided on postal paper because it is durable and we could use it as wrapping paper when we finished).
Securely wrap the string around the anchor points of the tripod and tie it off. Then, your caster should have a little lip on it. This is where you will tie the other end of the string. I made sure to drape the string through to where I had the option to tie the caster twice since it’s not necessarily a balanced object.
Get your paint palette prepped. We chose to use two to three colors so the art was less chaotic, but had some vibrant contrast. For any painting with kids, I highly suggest upcycling any Styrofoam egg cartons you have. There’s usually a lip on the lid to set a paint brush and plenty of space to mix colors. And if you happen to be using oil-based paint, you can close it all up when finished and put it in the freezer so it won’t dry out.
Roll or paint the edges of your wheel, keeping in mind that it will roll so all edges need to be painted. and just start painting by choosing a swinging pattern and letting go! This is a fun way to explore patterns while having some messy fun.
As you can see in the picture to the right, we also had a lot of fun just using the wheel as a painting mechanism. This was one of the reasons I chose elastic. My daughter is young enough that she doesn’t fully understand that it won’t touch other than in the middle so I averted that crisis before it happened by using elastic.
Remember that art for young kids is about the fun and the process and not just about a product. I love the messy pendulum art that we made and plan to use it to wrap a gift! We both had a lot of fun doing it, though my daughter is still not so sure about why her skin is stained.
For more on art with kids, you might enjoy posts in my music and art category.
Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!