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AJ is the perfect age to do arts and crafts projects with me, so this year she’s helping me with our fall decor! She loves painting, so I decided to give her a “blank canvas” to paint on for our fall mantel this year. I did a little prep work and put vinyl on the canvas to act as a negative stencil, then sat her down with paints and brushes and let her paint it however she wanted. She totally loved it! If you’re looking for a fun fall painting craft for toddlers to do this year, this one is perfect because it allows them to paint however they want, and you still get clean, crisp lines in the finished piece!
This activity is perfect for your toddler, and works for any holiday or season, or even just for fun one day! You can completely customize the vinyl decals for Christmas, a birthday, a jungle scene, or whatever you want. Once the canvas is prepped, you can hand it to your toddler and let them paint whatever the want over the top of the vinyl, and you know that you’ll still get clean lines when you peel up the vinyl later. It’s a great way to allow them to be creative without any limits like “color inside the lines”!
Fun Fall Painting Craft For Toddlers
- Time to set up: 15 minutes, plus drying time
- Time it kept the toddler busy: 30 minutes
- foam paint brushes
- cutting machine (I used my Cricut Explore Air and basic tools set, but if you have steady hands, you can use scissors or an X-Acto knife instead)
- 11×14 stretched canvas
- craft paint (I used white, red, orange, and yellow)
- adhesive vinyl
- Press’n Seal cling wrap
- paper plates
I started by designing my canvas in Cricut Design Space. I found a few fall leaves, and typed in “Happy Fall!” If you like the design I created, you’re welcome to use it for free! Here is the link to the saved design in Design Space.
I loaded adhesive vinyl into my Cricut and then sent the design to the Cricut to be cut out. Once the design was cut out, I weeded away the extra background vinyl, then transferred the letters and leaves onto the canvas.
To make sure the vinyl is really stuck to the canvas, flip the canvas over and rub the entire back of it with your fingers.
Then flip the canvas back over and paint over all of the vinyl with white paint (or whatever color your canvas is). This is the important part! This way, if any paint does seep under the edge of your vinyl, it will just be white, which will match your canvas anyway. The other benefit of this is that the white paint “seals” the edges of the vinyl so that no other paint can seep under, and it also helps the vinyl stay stuck to the canvas, even if your toddler is a fierce little painter!
Let the white paint dry for a few minutes, then the canvas is ready for your toddler. Squirt out some craft paint onto paper plates, stick a foam paintbrush in each color, and let your toddler go wild!
Quick tip: cover your work station in Press’n Seal cling wrap to make it easy to clean up when you’re done. It protects your table from the paint, and you can just peel it off and throw it all away when you’re finished…super easy!
Once your toddler has finished painting, let the paint dry for about half an hour. When the paint is dry, carefully peel up the vinyl and you have a gorgeous fall canvas that your toddler helped create!
AJ had a lot of fun painting this canvas, and she loves seeing it up on our mantel. It’s like having artwork on the fridge, but even better!
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I believe that anyone can do crafts and DIY projects, regardless of skill or experience. I love sharing simple craft ideas, step by step DIY project tutorials, cleaning hacks, and other tips and tricks all with one goal in mind: giving you the tools you need to “do it yourself”, complete fun projects, and make awesome things!