Process Art: String Painting


While I am actively embracing crafts and trying to find neutral ground in the arts vs crafts debate, I love when I am able to provide Ella with a process-based art project that has no specific outcome but has a solid developmental purpose.

We recently tried this string painting art activity and it’s been such a hit that I wanted to share it with you.
String Painting a fun way to develop fine motor skills needed for writing - and a fun, open-ended art project that never disappoints

Benefits of String Painting

There are a few purposes to this art invitation:

  1. To develop fine motor strength. The strings require a precise grip and depending on how the child handles the string, it will result in different painting effects.
  2. To encourage children intimidated by art. There is no wrong way to paint with string, and no one can really control how the artwork turns out, so this is a great activity to help a child loosen up.
  3. To accommodate different age groups. This is an art activity that any child past the mouthing phase can safely attempt with proper supervision.

String Painting (4)

Materials needed for String Painting:

  • String. While you can use just one length of string, I offered several different lengths and widths of string to allow for experimentation.
  • Paint
  • Paint container
  • Cardstock. I prefer cardstock for painting as it’s less easily saturated and moved than construction paper.

a fun way to develop fine motor skills! (4)

Ella was so enthusiastic about this activity — we went through several sheets of paper and refills of the paint containers!

She stood on her chair to better manipulate the longest string, and made observations as to which types and lengths of string were easier to work with and how different they were to work with — the thick wool was easier to make dots with, while the ribbon was hard to manipulate and made “scratchy” marks.

Untitled design (22)


I loved observing how she had to manipulate her pincer grip in order to manipulate the strings. Whether holding her hand above her head to drag the long string across the paper, or dabbing paint with the thick, short wool string, she had to evaluate how to manipulate each of the different materials in order to get the results that she wanted.


Untitled design (23)

This was such a frugal and easy art activity for kids — it takes just a couple of minutes to set up with materials you likely already have on hand. It would be a great way to decorate wrapping paper for a present, and for older kids it would be fun to see if they could try to manipulate the strings to form shapes or letters (this might be frustrating for younger children).

Be sure to pin this activity for later:

Painting with String is a silly activity that also helps build finger muscles needed for writing - this activity is the perfect way to use up leftover scraps of string, ribbon and wool

What do you think? What’s your go-to simple art activity for kids?

String Painting

For more fun open-ended art activities, check out our Homemade Rainbow Fish Scratch Art and Starfish Mixed Media art project.

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