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How I Messed Up Our Messy Art Party

How I Messed Up Our Messy Art Party
I planned a messy art party with a certain degree of naivety. “Kids want freedom,” I declared to my husband. “They WANT to get messy, they will love it! We’ll do it outside and clean-up will be easy!” Oh, Me of Two Days Ago. I shake my head at you. I would definitely do a messy party again, but there are a few things I would do differently. I’m going to tell you about what I messed up, and how to avoid my mistakes.
The activity I did NOT screw up was painting. We started with white poster board and some washable paint. We gave the kids the paint, and let them get messy. Instant fun!

Also instant mess. Thankfully, I got some free paper towel for this party. Viva® Vantage* paper towels are new to Canada, and the shape of the weave allows them to actually STRETCH. Yep, stretchy paper towels. It’s cool.

We wiped the kids down, and I was impressed with how durable these things were. We were able to rinse them and use them again, almost like a dishcloth. 

For our other messy art activity, I gave the kids some nice clean white shirts. I made sure they were wearing old or torn pants, since those were probably about to get wrecked. Then I gave them fabric paint. This started off well.
The actual painting part was great – the adults got in on the fun, too! Which leads me to Mistake #1: I did not ensure that the ADULTS at the party were wearing old clothes.
The kids, who were covered in wet fabric paint, wanted hugs. We all inevitably got fabric paint on ourselves, ruining otherwise nice shirts and pants. You may want to have rain ponchos available to protect the adults.

After this, I quickly ran into Mistake #2. I had assumed that the kids would enjoy being full of paint, and would keep their painted shirts on until they dried. WRONG. The kids loved painting the shirts, but then they all wanted to take them OFF. While they were dripping with fabric paint.

We tried to remove the shirts carefully, but the kids’ hair ended up full of fabric paint, which quickly dried into a plasticy, matted mess. If you do this, buy shower caps! You can use them to protect the kiddos’ hair when you’re removing the shirts.

Also make sure you have somewhere to hang the shirts while they dry. We improvised and used a tree.

So after I got the kids’ hair full of paint, I thought I should feed them. Earlier in the day, I made some sugar cookies (from a mix – I’m not Martha Stewart). The kids each got a couple of cookies to decorate with various kinds of icing.

I liked using the tubes of icing because they remind me of an artist’s tubes of paint, and they were easy for little hands to squeeze.

I had a cleaning station set up in the yard, which consisted of a bowl of soapy water and a TON of paper towel. I liked that the Viva Vantage paper towels were really durable, but still soft enough to scrub the kids with. Don’t believe me? Click here to snag a coupon and try them for yourself!
After the kids had been hosed down, Mistake #3 was staring me in the face. I had requested that the kids wear old clothes that could potentially be ruined, but I had NOT asked for a clean change of clothes. If you are having a messy party, make sure your guests have something clean to go home in!

Check back next week for printable invitations and loot bag ideas for your messy art party. Now that I’ve done everything all wrong, YOU can have a really good one!

Full disclosure: This post was brought to you by Viva® Vantage*, THANKFULLY, because I really really needed help cleaning up during this party. The images and opinions are my own, as usual. For more information please visit


Wednesday 6th of April 2022

Thank you so much for sharing! My daughter wanted to have a Sonic the hedgehog party but her friend whose birthday is two weeks earlier and was planning to have a Barbie party asked her what kind of party she was having…and is now having a Sonic party. My daughter was crushed, but had the idea to do a paint party instead. I was thinking of how to really make it awesome and thought of this exact idea! So thankful for all your tips!!