Before I was a mommy or teacher, I was an after school and summer daycare program coordinator. I loved the carefree days I spent with the kids after school doing arts and activities. And for me, nothing says after school fun quite like painting. It was always the favored art activity 🙂

Yarn painting is nothing new to the art world. Many a child has taken a piece of yarn rolled in paint and smeared it across their papers. The problem with yarn painting is it’s kind of messy. Paint saturated yarn ends up on tables and floors and leaves me feeling a bit regretful of ever offering the activity. It was NOT an activity I planned on offering my toddler for quite some years…

Until now.

While I was at the grocery store I came across these extra-large smoothie straws by The Monster Straw Company. These are the largest smoothie straws I have ever seen (1/2 an inch wide!) They are also colorful and VERY durable (much thicker than most other straws). Seeing as how these were thick, colorful, and large, I knew I needed them in my life. And not just for smoothies either…

Introducing the DIY Yarn Paintbrush!

These paintbrushes make such interesting textures as you drag the yarn across the paper! And the coolest feature (other than the reduced mess) is the fun pull-string that makes the yarn retract into the straw! So painting can be done by dragging long pieces of yarn, or stippling shorter pieces to create a whole new effect! (can you sense my excitement about these? I used an exclamation point after every sentence here 😉
Here’s a picture which shows the pull-string feature more clearly: 
Are you ready to make some for yourself? Here’s what you’ll need:
  • Monster Straws (I would not recommend any other straws as the opening will be too small)
  • Yarn
  • Decorative tape (optional, but a fun addition)
  • Safety Pin
This would be a great project for summer camp kids to make, decorate, and use themselves. But parents of young kids might want to make the paintbrushes for them as it takes refined fine motor skills (and uses a safety pin to make a hole in the straw).  
1. Using the safety pin, Poke a hole in one end of the straw. This will be for the pull-string to go through later.

2. Loop the yarn around your hand several times. Tightly tie one end of the gathered yarn as seen in the picture.

3. Cut another piece of yarn (make sure it is longer than the straw!) and pull it tightly through the top loops. Tie the yarn securely to these loops!

4. Now lace the long portion of your yarn into the straw and pull it through the hole at the top (I used a ballpoint pen to help me pull the yarn through this hole).

(At this point you can also cut the loops of yarn for your paintbrush.)

5. Make sure the paintbrush tip is secure in the straw, then test the pull-string by gently pulling it and making the yarn bristles shorter.

Decorate your straw with washi tape (if you choose) and 
have fun painting!

This would even make a great 4th of July painting project if you limit the paint colors to red and blue! Stipple one of the brushes so it makes small star-ish shapes, while the other brush makes long stripey strokes.