Salad Spinner Art

 I heard someone mention that their child really enjoyed salad spinner art at preschool.  I’d never heard of it, but it sounded fun so I thought we’d give it a shot.

I didn’t look up directions anywhere, though I’m sure they’re out there.  We just winged it.  I figured it was somewhat similar to one of those spinning art toys I played with at a friend’s house as a child.  (Something like this.)

Here are the materials we used:
*salad spinner
*thick paper (designed for watercolors)
*Crayola tempera paint

Here’s what we did:
1.  I got out my salad spinner.  I see them frequently at thrift stores, so if you don’t have one, maybe you could pick one up for a couple bucks.

2. I took the basket out, sat it on the thick paper I planned to use, and traced around the bottom of it with a pencil.  

3.  I cut identical circles out of 4 pieces of paper — one for each child.

4. I assembled the salad spinner and laid one piece of circular paper in the bottom of the basket that spins, making sure it would lay flat.  If it doesn’t, just trim the circle a bit more until it does.

5.  I worked with one child at a time to squirt Crayola tempera paint in the primary colors (red, blue, and yellow) randomly across the paper.

6.  We put the top on the salad spinner and the child pressed the lever to get the basket to spin.  The other kids watched.  I helped press if needed for the younger ones.

7.  After it had spun for a bit, we’d open it to check on the art.  We’d either continue spinning if we thought it needed a little more, or remove the paper to the counter to let it dry if it was done.

8.  Repeat for each child.

9.  Wash the salad spinner when you are finished.  A couple of rinses and scrubs with the dish brush and mine looks brand new.
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Here are the results we got:




  • I definitely think you want to choose a heavy weight paper for this project.
  • It probably wouldn’t hurt to thin your paint a bit for this project.  I think it’d help the colors mix better and also be less wasteful.  I feel like I washed a good bit of paint down the drain.  
  • If we do this again, I’ll plan to let the kids use paintbrushes or fingers to use up the leftover paint in the salad spinner instead of just washing it away.
  • There are probably limitless variations you can do with this — cut the paper in different shapes initially or after it dries, use a different type of paint, add glitter in with the paint, use seasonal colors of paint, try different methods of squeezing it onto the paper (thin steams of paint vs. gobs), and so on…

The great thing about this is no two designs will ever be quite the same.  I also liked the fact that everyone from ages 1 to 4 (Eh, who am I kidding?  Everyone from 1 to 31!) had fun with this project!  I’m sure this will be one we repeat often! 🙂

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Genny Upton

A former teacher turned stay at home mom to two preschool aged children. Creator (and writer) at In Lieu of Preschool and Parent Teach Play. Currently publishing my first children's picture book!

  • […] product will be, but more about enjoying and experimenting with the process.  We’ve tried salad spinner art, marble art, painting with pumpkins, and several variations of pour painting to name just a few […]

  • Kerry says:

    Hi, I love your spinner art. We added more and more paint and they ended up pretty technicolor. How did you display yours? We hung ours so they dropped down and it looked pretty good.

  • Very Cool… Thank you.

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