This post contains affiliate links.
Thanks for your support.

My friend Cara from Raising Kinley is the Queen of Photo Paper Art.
I want to spend this whole introduction raving like a lunatic about how awesome and enthusiastic Cara is.
But I also don’t want to hold you back from this guest post by Cara. It is E to the PIC. (Epic for those playing along at home.)
You can read more about Cara in her Oh Creative Lady interview. And once you are done here, I urge you to run – don’t walk!- and follow her and Kinley on alla the socials!
Here are 6 of Cara and Kinley’s fave photo paper art ideas. There are another 6 ideas over on their site.

Do you have an old pack of photo paper sitting in a forgotten spot somewhere in your house?
Maybe it came free with your old printer or maybe your friend handed some down to you in a box of art odds n’ ends?
Or possibly you bought some with the intentions of printing your own Christmas cards and then promptly forgot about sending Christmas cards until December 23rd upon which time you shoved it in the back of your craft closet? (Just me? #goofball)
Well if you do, you’ve been sitting on a creative goldmine, friend!
Go dig it out, dust it off and break out the watercolors because hours of gorgeous fun are in your future.

Photo paper + watercolors have become my absolute art obsession and the combo that I am kinda-sorta-instafamous for.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Laura and Emily (@make_art_school) on

It all started when I spotted a simple but magical photo paper post by the fabulous ladies of @make_art_school  while doing my usual absent-minded scroll through the ol’ Instagram feed.
Their stunning piece of tiny human art stopped my quick thumb dead in its tracks & instantly inspired my smock clean off.
Kinley and I have tried approximately half a bazillion different photo paper art-making methods since that day and we are still 100% obsessed.

Liquid watercolors are vibrant and amazing on any canvas, but on photo paper they are next level.
The glossy paper just sucks the color up instantly so each drip and brushstroke and bubble is captured like magic, and bonus it’s somehow almost impossible to get the dreaded brown kid art smearage no matter how many colors you put in front of your little human. S
ounds too good to be true, right? Just wait!
You are gonna be hooked, too, guaran-dang-teed.

Ready to get your own smock knocked off? Here are my top six favorite photo paper art ideas.

For each of these methods you will need:

  • Liquid watercolors

We’ve used homemade liquid watercolors (click here for our homemade recipe)  and both Blick and Colorations brand. Whatever you’ve got will be perfect!

  • Jars or cups to hold your watercolors
  • Photo paper

Now, I should warn you that all photo paper is not created equal.
The dollar store photo paper will work for experimenting and getting your process art on, but if you want your artwork to be as vibrant as the stuff you are about to scroll through, you’ll probably wanna shell out a little more (we love the HP and Canon brands) and make sure it’s glossy.

  • A tray or cookie sheet

Trust me. Besides being incredibly rad, photo paper art is always guaranteed to be messy!

Drips & Dots

PHOTO PAPER ART - Do you have an old pack of photo paper sitting in a forgotten spot somewhere in your house? Cara from Raising Kinley shares 6 colourful and fun photo paper art ideas. #kidsart #kidspainting #kidsartsandcrafts

For this method, you’ll also need:

  • Pipettes or eyedroppers

This is the OG photo paper art method and the simplest of them all. Use your pipettes to squirt watercolors in drops and puddles and lines however you want all over the place.

Totally random and totally awesome!

Cotton Ball Smush

For this method, you’ll also need:

  • Cotton balls
  • Pipettes or eyedroppers
  1. Put a handful of cotton balls on your art tray bunched up together.
  2. Squirt watercolors all over them however you would like.
  3. Press the glossy side of the photo paper on the color-soaked cotton balls and lift a print.

You can pick up those pretty cotton balls and use them as dot-stampers on your photo paper, too, as long as you don’t mind rainbowy fingers.

Bubble Prints

For this method, you’ll also need:

  • Wide-mouthed cup or bowl
  • Water
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Pipettes or eyedroppers
  • Drinking straw
  1. Fill your cup about halfway up with water and squirt a few drops of dish soap on top.
  2. Stir the soap and water up a little with your straw and then blow until you’ve got a nice mound of bubbles popping up over the rim of your cup.
  3. Use a pipette to gently squirt on some liquid watercolors. (If the bubbles instantly pop the second the watercolors hit them, it’s your soap. We’ve tried it with a few different brands and the best one we’ve found is Dawn. You might have to do some experimenting if that brand isn’t available in your neck of the woods.)
  4. Quick plop a piece of photo paper on top of the colored bubbles and lift up. Gorgeous, right?
  5. Blow more bubbles and repeat the process until your bubble art is just how you want it to be.

Resist Art

For this method, you’ll also need:

  • Oil pastels
  • Paintbrushes
  1. Draw a picture directly on the glossy side of the photo paper using your oil pastels.
  2. Use your paintbrush to apply liquid watercolors over the top of your drawing.

Kinley and I love to draw secret pictures in white oil pastel and then switch papers so we can surprise each other with our artwork. Rainbow is gorgeous, but neon oil pastels and black watercolors are crazy beautiful too!


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Cara + Kinley (5.5) (@raising.kinley) on


For this method, you’ll also need:

  • Drinking straw, cut into thirds. Shorter straws are easier to blow paint with.
  • Pipettes or eyedroppers

Use your pipettes to squirt a few small drops of watercolors around your photo paper. Repeat again and again until you are happy with your art …or until you are completely out of breath and a little light-headed, whichever comes first.

This is a great one for when you need a little peace and quiet! It’s hard to be loud when you’re blowing through a straw. Also bonus point for adding googly eyes and sharpie smiles like these guys!

Spin Art

Images of water colour art on photo paperFor this method, you’ll also need:

  • Salad spinner
  • Pipettes or eyedroppers
  • Clear tape

Do you already know the joys of process art in the salad spinner? I’ll lead ya through it just in case:

  1. Make two loops of clear tape and attach them to the back of your photo paper,
  2. Stick the paper to the bottom of the spinner basket and set the basket on a tray.
  3. Squirt on a few drops or squirts of watercolors. Don’t be afraid to experiment. There’s no wrong way to make spin art!
  4. Pop the lid on the salad spinner and give it a spin.
  5. Open it up and gasp in wonder as you behold your amazing masterpiece! Then add some more drops and keep going ‘til it’s perfect.

If you give any of these photo paper art ideas a try, be sure to tag Shannon @ohcreativeday and I @raising.kinley on social media. We would LOVE to see your creations!

And if you are interested in even more ways to get your photo paper art on, hop on over to to Raising Kinley for six EXTRA tried-and-true rainbowy ideas.

Pin for later:

PHOTO PAPER ART - Do you have an old pack of photo paper sitting in a forgotten spot somewhere in your house? Cara from Raising Kinley shares 6 colourful and fun photo paper art ideas. #kidsart #kidspainting #kidsartsandcrafts PHOTO PAPER ART - Do you have an old pack of photo paper sitting in a forgotten spot somewhere in your house? Cara from Raising Kinley shares 6 colourful and fun photo paper art ideas. #kidsart #kidspainting #kidsartsandcrafts