Fork Painting: An Insanely Fun Art Idea


This is a low-prep process art activity for kids that yields a high level of fun!  All you need is paint, paper and disposable forks!

fork painting

If you are anything like me, you always want to do the fun, creative, “Pinteresty” things with your kids, but in reality, it can be hard to make that happen. Enter fork painting.

This process art activity is so simple that you could literally set it up in under 5 minutes. You legitimately only need three things: forks, paper and paints.

Fork painting is one of those “hero” kids activities that: 1. Kids love. 2. Makes you feel like an absolute rock star parent. 3. Requires minimal effort and materials.

This post will give you all the ins and outs of fork painting.

dipping fork in paint

What is process art?

So you might have read that phrase “process art” and wondered what in the world is she talking about, so let me break it down for you.

Process art, as the name implies, is more focused on the process of making art, rather than the final product.  It is experience-oriented instead of outcome-oriented. 

Children have the freedom to experiment and tinker with the given materials; exploration is encouraged! In process art, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to create; it is open-ended.  Children’s natural curiosity is their guide as they explore the provided materials.

Fork painting is the perfect way to pique kids’ curiosity and get them exploring!

Benefits of process art:

Process art promotes curiosity, exploration and discovery in ways that are not normally found in traditional craft projects.

Now, I love a footprint reindeer or a hand print turkey as much as any other parent. But crafts, with their distinct steps and predetermined end goal, do not allow for the same freedom of expression as process art does.

Children are put in the driver’s seat when creating process art. They are able to evaluate and assess materials. Kids go into research mode, determining, “What will happen if I drag the fork prongs through the paint?” “What will happen if I flick the fork with lots of paint on it?”

Process art provides an outlet through which children can develop their problem-solving skills and grow their confidence in themselves. It is low in pressure but high in joy.

To learn more about the benefits of process art check out this article from the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

How to Get Start Fork Painting:

Supplies you’ll needs:

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  • Disposable Forks
  • Washable Paint.  I find that for this activity, presenting the paint on a flat surface, such as a plate, works best.  Kids are able to manipulate their tools in the paint with more flexibility and ease.
  • Paper.  For this activity, especially when you are working outside, I love to use a long stretch of butcher paper or easel paper.  This gives children a great blank canvas and room to really experiment with different implements.  However, standard sized paper works just as well! I prefer to use thicker sheets of paper like card stock or construction paper.  These are less prone to tearing when using unconventional “paint brushes.”

Pro Tip

If you are doing this activity inside, I recommend using some sort of drop mat underneath your workstation.  This could be a designated splat mat, like these that Bumkins makes, but you can also repurpose other items to get the job done: old newspapers, a cheap dollar store table cloth, old towels, or a small tarp.

painting with spatula

Want to take fork painting to the next level? This art exploration isn’t limited to forks!

Try this out!

  • Spoons. Kids can explore the effects of spoons of different sizes from baby spoons to small disposable spoons and large cooking ones.
  • Spatulas. I feel obligated to issue a fair warning: spatulas will likely (or in my home most definitely) lead to splatters. The paint will probably fly, but I can assure you, the giggles will be endless. Beyond being like the most fun painting implement ever, spatulas provide a great opportunity for kids to experiment with cause and effect. eserve these for outdoor creation stations only; unless, of course, you’ve been meaning to splatter paint your floor and walls.
  • Whisks. Again, I must issue a splatter warning. But whisks, like spatulas, are another highly enjoyable way for kids to engage in cause and effect exploration.

Have a set of kids kitchen utensils for play!

Expendable kitchen tools are absolutely wonderful items to have on hand for kids!

Of course, they are the perfect addition to fork painting, but not only that, they can transform into an interesting set of artist’s tools, but they are also an excellent addition to sandboxes or water tables.

If you have some extra pots, pans and bowls, create a mud kitchen outside. You might find yourself being served all kinds of muddy, sandy, and/or grassy “delicacies.” Not to mention, kitchen tools are top-notch drumsticks.

Kitchen tools lend themselves to all kinds of wonderful, imaginative play!

So how can you cheaply source kitchen tools for you kids?

Dollar stores and places like Walmart or Target typically have basic tools that you can get for around $1 each.

Thrift stores are another great place to snag tools on the cheap.

Or, you might have  tools sitting inside your kitchen drawers that you never use.  “Shopping” your own kitchen and asking friends and family can be another great source

painting with kitchen tools

How to introduce the activity to kids?

I love to introduce process art through questions. It’s a great way to get kid’s inquisitive wheels turning. Here are some suggestions to give you an idea. Feel free to tweak and language that feels natural to you:

“Hey, I have these old kitchen utensils and paint. What do you think you could create?”

“How could you use these materials to make art?”

“Do you think you could paint with a fork? What about a spoon? Spatula? Whisk?”

Feel free to lay out a plethora of materials at the beginning or to ration out items throughout the process. I also love to ask kids, “What other kind of odd things do you think you could paint with?” And, whenever possible, let them try out their ideas!

 finished art project

Show off your finished fork painting project!

Children absolutely love to see that their work is valued and useful.  A great way to show kids this is to display or use their work!   

Genius Wrapping Paper Hack!

If your kids created art on easel paper (or any kind of long roll of paper), it is so easy to transform their fork painting artwork into custom-made wrapping paper! 

  1. Allow the art to dry completely.
  2. Carefully roll up the paper and secure it with a rubber band or twine.
  3. Store it with your gift-wrapping supplies and pull it out for the next birthday or holiday!

Family members and friends will love having such unique wrapping paper, and your children will feel so proud and acknowledged as artists!  Plus, you don’t have to buy wrapping paper!  Win, win, win!

Reminder: Adult supervision is required for all activities found at

Did your kids love fork painting? What items did y’all add? Let me know in the comments!