Nadia Ryzhakova


How To Breathe Life Into Your Painting (quite literally)

When I was searching the web for new interesting techniques to introduce to my little students, I came across the so-called ‘blow painting’. As you may have noticed from my own art I am very much driven by happy accidents in painting. No wonder this technique hooked me up. When I tried it myself, I couldn’t stop blowing paint around paper with a straw. As a result, I went to bed only in the very early morning. The stream of air stretches colours into wriggle lines resembling tree branches. This is one of those magical art activities that you never get tired of because the result is different every time.

Here above is my humble creation. If you were to compare my painting with the ones created by my little students, you wouldn’t be able to tell one from another. And that is what I like the most about this technique. You don’t need as many years of education as I had endured, to create a true piece of art!

I decided to introduce blow painting to both groups of children: Reception and First Grade. But the tasks for two groups were at different levels. Whereas the First-Grade group was drawing Japanese Cherry Blossoms; the Reception group blew paint into funny monsters and pretty flowers.

Here are the materials that you need and basic principles of Blow Painting with Straws:


 • Paper. We used simple printer paper, and it worked fine. If you take blow painting very seriously, use heavier paper. 

• Liquid paint. At the lesson we used tempera paint mixed with water. Watercolour should do as well, but paintings my come out not as saturated as with watered-down tempera paint. 

 • Drinking straws 


 • Protect you working surface with plastic cloth and anything you are not afraid to be splashed with paint. • Prepare our liquid paint in small dishes or special paint cups.

 • Take one drinking straw and dip one side into the paint. Hold it there and cover the top eyehole of the straw with your thumb. The straw would take little paint inside.

 • Hold your thumb there, move your straw to the paper and release the thumb. See, you don’t need a dropper or pipette to transfer droplets of liquid paint to the paper. ☺

 • Blow through the straw at the paint drops, forcing the paint to move along the paper in tiny rivulets.

• Step back and admire your painting!