Make Your Own Natural Paint Brushes {with tutorial}

Raileigh loves to paint. I do not enjoy cleaning paint brushes, though. It’s really not that big of a deal, and I do it pretty much on a daily basis, I just don’t enjoy it.

The other day I had an idea to make our own natural paint brushes that are actually disposable! This is great for us on many levels. It provides some exploration time outdoors as we prepare the paint brushes. It’s really like a science experiment. We used a variety of materials to make our paint brushes and painted to see what types of results each material would produce. It’s exciting for Raileigh because she got to use something other than a traditional brush or her fingers to paint. I love it because there are no paint brushes to clean in the end.

I’ll walk you through exactly how we created our natural paint brushes in case you’d like to make some with your little one as well!

Head outside. You’ll need to take some kind of tape. We used masking tape, but duct tape or electrical tape would be fine, too. You could also choose to use rubber bands.

First, you’ll need to gather your materials. Be creative and think outside the box. I’ll show you some of the things we gathered:

Sticks. This is what we used for the paint brush handles.

Grass. We used this for the bristles on one brush.

Pine Straw. This served as the bristles on another brush.

Hydrangea. Raileigh wanted to make a brush from the big flower, so we used this as brush bristles as well.

For the pine straw, I gathered about 20 little pine straw bundles. Each one had 3 little pine straw piece coming from it. I tried to make sure the ends were relatively even. Next, we held our little group of pine straw up against the stick. I tried to make sure the group of pine straw went all the way around the diameter of the stick. The ends of the pine straw extend approximately an inch and a half past the end of the stick. I tore off a piece of masking tape and started to wrap it around our pine straw and stick. I wrapped very close to where the stick ended within the pine straw. Wrap as tightly as possible so pieces of pine straw don’t slide out when you paint.

We repeated this process with the grass and the flower.

Of course, there where lots of leftover grass and pine straw extending beyond the tape (not on the side that we would be using to paint- the other side). I used scissors to trim the materials as close to the masking tape as I could. You should be able to see this in the pictures below.

That’s it– you have some easy natural paint brushes to go and use!

We tested out each of our paint brushes. The pine straw paint brush was most similar to a normal paint brush. Raileigh seemed to like this one best.

The grass paint brush was kind of a dud. It globed together and didn’t work all that well.

The flower, which I was honestly doubtful about, was really fun. We used it as more of a stamp than an actual paint brush. It was a lot like sponge painting.

This is a very fun activity to do with your kids this summer. You can ask them to hypothesize about the results different objects will produce. I’d love to hear about all the materials YOU use to make your own paint brushes!


  1. Natalia says:

    Thanks Desi! This is so great! I am planning to use this idea for a green birthday party. Have kids look for their materials in the backyard to make their own brushes. I will have them make natural paint too and then have them paint in the fence

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