Animal Finger Painting

Year Levels: Foundation – 6 (all ages)


with Kylie Wickham

Animal Finger Painting by Kylie Wickham Outcome1 800x500

Click Here to download Lesson Plan


In this lesson students explore colour mixing and creating images using imagination. Provide students with a simple starting point such as an eye and let them build their image. Working in a sensory manner students use their fingers as a painting tool – Exploring both paint and touch.

*Students who aren’t able to touch paint can wear gloves, or use a small bit of sponge instead of fingertips.


Art Elements & Principles

Shape, Colour


Learning Objectives

Students will:



  • Explore secondary colours; Mixing two primary colours to create a whole new colour.
  • Explore colour mixing; Adding white paint to lighten or tint the colour; Adding black paint to darken or shade the colour.
  • Think imaginatively – using their imaginations and prior knowledge.
  • Consider the colour, shape and texture of animals as they create their own individual responses.




Create Artwork

Animal Finger Painting by Kylie Wickham Step 1-4Animal Finger Painting by Kylie Wickham Step 5-8
Step 1: Take a piece of paper and draw an eye, or two eyes, with a pencil.

Step 2: Pick one primary colour to start with. Dip fingers in the paint and rub together to spread over the finger tips on both hands.
*(Primary colours are: Red, Yellow and Blue)

Step 3: Gently start to tap around the eye with fingertips.
Observe that by tapping you can make the dots lighter or darker by how much paint is on the fingertips.

Step 4: Now dip your fingers into a different primary colour and tap some more. The two primary colours will start to blend and mix to make a secondary colour.

Step 5: After short while stop tapping and look at work.
Q: Can you see an animal emerging? Turn your paper around and look at it from different angles.
Q: Can you see a different animal? An elephant’s trunk? a bird’s long beak? or a fish fin?
Perhaps invent a whole new animal!

Step 6: Once you’ve decided what animal your animal will be and then continue tapping paint to create the shape. Explore the blending primary colours to make secondary colours, making paint thicker or thinner, using the very top of the finger and then the fleshy pad of the fingertip.

Step 7: Add a small amount of black paint to create shades (darker). Add small amounts of white paint to make tints (lighter).

Step 8: When complete, you might use scissors to cut out your animal shape for mounting/display, or you could draw or paint a background environment for your animal.


Discussion / Reflection



  • What colours did you make?
  • How did it feel painting with fingers?
  • How were able to control the paint with your fingers?
  • How do you make secondary colours?
  • What other things could you finger paint?




Taking it a step further…

Students can make several of these and really experiment with use of colour

Experiment by starting without an eye OR at the end by painting over with a larger white circle with a smaller black dot in the centre to create an eye.

Painting with someone else can also be fun! Try starting out and then swapping the work over at the beginning stages.

Explore working at different speeds with different types of music playing. This can cause different expressive marks and experimental outcomes.


Materials & Equipment

  • A4 or A3 Paper
  • Acrylic Paint (Black & White and the Primary Colours: Blue, Red, Yellow)
  • Pencil
  • Scissors (optional)
  • Glue Stick (optional)

Don’t have these materials at home?
Click Here to view recommended materials



Related Artwork, Links & Sources

Look at pictures and illustrations of animals for inspiration.

Investigate and research animals from different continents or era’s. Consider sea creatures, mammals, insects, reptiles – even dinosaurs!


Share Your Outcomes!

How did you go!? We’d love you to share your artwork with us on Facebook or Instagram!


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