Make a Magnet Painting

3.6 based on 75 ratings
Updated on Aug 25, 2014

Children are fascinated with magnets and often believe that magnetic attraction is magic. Although magnets are amazing, their powers are purely scientific! Here is an activity that blends art and science by using magnets, paint, and objects found around the house to create a picture.

What You Need:

  • Wooden blocks
  • Sturdy piece of cardboard
  • Strong magnet
  • Metal (iron) objects such as washers, nuts and bolts
  • Thread
  • Liquid tempera paint in more than one color
  • Tape
  • Blank paper
  • Small bowls or shallow pans for the paint

What You Do:

  1. Tape a blank piece of paper to the piece of cardboard. Then use the blocks to make a raised platform to hold the piece of cardboard. Make sure to leave enough room under the cardboard for your child to move her hands.
  2. Place a washer (or other metal object) on top of the piece of paper. Give your child the magnet and tell her to place the magnet underneath the piece of cardboard. Allow her to move the magnet around underneath the cardboard to make the washer move.
  3. Tell your child that the magnet is attracted to (sticks to) the metal washer and the force is strong enough to work through the cardboard. Show your child the paint and thread and tell her that she is going to use the magnet and the metal objects to create a painting.
  4. Allow your child to select 2–3 metal objects to use for her project. Help your child tie a length of thread to the metal objects and dip the objects in the tempera paint.
  5. Next have your child place the metal objects on the piece of paper and hold the magnet underneath the cardboard (the magnet should touch the cardboard) and move it around. The magnet will “paint” with the metal objects as they move over the paper.
  6. For some fun, let your child move the metal objects, dip them in paint again, and continue painting to make an art piece. Try using a variety of paint colors to make this a unique and memorable experience!
Latrenda Knighten has spent 19 years teaching in a variety of elementary school classrooms, from kindergarten through fifth grade. For nine of those years, she taught kindergarten. She also served as an elementary school math and science specialist. She lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.