Cotton Swab Pointillism Painting for Kids

There is a lot more to this art activity than just swapping out your paint brushes for cotton swabs!

What you’ll need:

  • Cotton swabs
  • Paint, either on an palate or plate, or in individual cups
  • Paper


The classic way to paint with cotton swabs is to dab the cotton head into your paint and then onto your paper.  You can dab your paint into creative patterns or shapes on your own, use coloring book sheets (focus on coloring books for younger children with large, simple designs), or print out any number of free cotton swab painting templates by searching for “q-tip painting” on Pinterest (like this one from 

For older kids, you can use this activity as a way to introduce the child to a specific style of art known as “pointillism.”  Pointillism uses tiny dots of colors to make a picture.  When the eye sees these dots side by side, it connects the colors so you can figure out what the picture is, even though the colors don’t actually touch each other or blend together on paper.

Georges Seurat was a famous artist in the pointillist style.  Try your hand at a Georges Seurat painting with this activity.  Next time you are at Mott Children’s Hospital, you can see a recreation of a Georges Seurat painting just past big bird as you enter the hospital.

Aside from learning about pointillism, this activity is also a great way to practice fine motor skills and grasp.  The precision you use to create pictures using small dots is wonderful motor control practice for young children.

Check out other art and music activities from Camp Little Victors: