You might be living under a rock if you haven’t heard of Squishmallows. Or, you might not know any young artists. If you’ve spent time with kids under 14, you’ve probably encountered a Squishmallow without even knowing it! Squishmallows are limited-release stuffed animals for kids to collect. Somewhat like the cabbage patch kids phase in the 80’s.
Kids love painting and if you’re looking for a lighthearted paint event, perhaps try running your Squishmallow painting class.
Here’s what you’ll need to run a Squishmallow painting party
Squishmallows Painting Party: You can either have kids bring their favorite Squishmallow or purchase a class set. I purchased a class set.
- Acrylic paint
- Paint brushes
- Condiment cups with lids
- Table covering – I like the flannel backed because you can wipe clean and use again
- Jumbo sharpie
- Easel (optional)
- Squishmallow template cut-out (I made them out of cardboard – 2-3 per table
When planning a Squishmallow class, you’ll want to have all of your supplies ready to go before the whole crew arrives. Being prepared is imperative with a paint party. When you plan an art party, you’ll likely have limited space and abilities. Kids with prior art experience will be much more comfortable with the painting process. Others…not so much. Therefore, you’ll want to go over the step-by-step instructions together. If you can hire or bring extra artist instructors, that’s a bonus.
Also, when purchasing paint for a Squishmallow portrait painting, I have found it easiest to purchase heavy body acrylic because of the full coverage. Obviously paint choice is up to you, but having the kids do only one coat of paint makes the project go much faster. If you want more information on the different types of acrylic paint and why some act differently than others, check out my acrylic paint guide. I used small condiment cups and had the kids keep the lids on even when they finished painting in case touch ups were needed. Lastly, I did not allow any mixing of colors. I wanted to keep the process streamlined, so I photographed the squishmallows before buying paint so that I knew exactly which colors to buy. With the heavy body acrylic paint, a little goes a long way!
Before painting, we talked about what colors would complement the squishmallows and to make sure there was enough contrast. That short chat paid off big time, every single kid picked background colors that looked amazing with the project.
How to make a Squishmallow hand painted canvas
1. Set up and organize canvases and paint
2. Have kids trace the Squishmallow template onto the canvas
3. Paint the background of the canvas in any contrasting color. Feel free to review warm and cold colors with the kids.
4. Begin painting the Squshmallow body and features. Make sure kids do not add the eyes or mouth. This is to be added at the very end of the class once the paint is dry.
5. Grab a black Sharpie and have the kids add the eyes and mouth. This step is particularly hard to do with a paintbrush.
How to manage the supplies – tips and tricks:
- I only offer limited seating so I will know who will be attending the workshop. Cancellation policy should be within 24 hours since the supplies have been purchased.
- Start off playing Squishmallow games like bingo or other easy to play games as kids arrive.
- Perhaps have some squishmallow glitter tattoo varieties on hand
- Once you start passing out the Squishmallows, it is best to not allow the students to make any special requests. This is a recipe for disaster! Place all of the Squishmallows inside a mystery box and have the kids reach in and choose.
- After the class is over, think about what other future classes to run using the Squishmallow theme. For a future event, think about making homes for your Squishmallows or little matching bracelets. The possibilities are endless.
- My classes are one hour and this took two class periods. I also do not have a sink in my room, so I had extra brushes on hand to have one brush per paint color.
- There are limited edition squishmallows during holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day. During those times you can find them cheaper at Costco or Five Below. I got some from Amazon and the rest from Five Below.
- You can choose to let the kids keep the squishmallows. I let them keep them and I think that was the best part of the project! Already parents are sending me pictures of the squishmallows displayed next to the paintings at home.
- I put all of the squishmallows into a black bag and had the kids pick without seeing. Then I gave the kids 2 minutes to trade and discussed not pressuring anyone. At the end of the two minutes, only one child was disappointed and I let her swap it out. Some teachers have a different approach, but this worked well for me!
- I dispensed all of the paint and had it in small cups in advance. Kids had to bring the cups back before requesting an additional color.
- Only let the kids use sharpies or posca pens for the eyes and mouth. No black paint was available for students to use.
- Have a blow dryer or heat gun on hand if you need the paint to dry faster
- Have an extra table covering or table for supplies
- I specifically told the kids only to use the sharpie to add features and to sign their names. Lately I have had kids adding words like “slay” to their finished art and I wanted to avoid that.
Have more questions? Email me! [email protected]
Want another fun stuffed animal craft? Check out this post.