Kitchen Paper Towel Art – Magic or Science?

paper towel art

Making paper towel art is a perfect activity if you are looking for something that is quick and easy to set up. This fun craft is guaranteed to be a big hit with the kids. Once they’ve seen the magic towel art for themselves they will be keen to have a go at this themselves.

sample drawings for paper towel art

Not only does it tick the art box but it is also an excellent science experiment. Paper towel art is easy for the kids to get involved with and prompts lots of great discussions during the activity too.

colouring ideas for paper towel art

What do you need?

Felt pens

Kitchen roll or paper towels (white works best)

A tray or shallow dish big enough for the paper towels and some water



Take two paper towels and keep them joined if possible, but it’s not essential.

On the top paper towel draw the outline of your picture. You can draw anything you like, a flower, a train, a rainbow or whatever your child might be interested in. We drew a castle on one!

On the other paper towel, on the side that will be directly underneath the outline, colour the shape of your picture. You can use the outline you have drawn to show where the colours need to be.

With both the paper towel with the outline and the colour picture face up, put the outlined paper towel on top of the other.

Put enough water in the dish or tray to cover the bottom of the dish.

Place the paper towels into the water and watch the magic happen.


The colour from the paper towel below will appear on the top paper towel to the amazement of your children. As soon as they see the effect they will want to create their own paper towel pictures.

castle picture for paper towel art

The colour is transferred to the top paper towel through a process called capillary action. The molecules in water like to stick together. Water molecules also like to stick to solids, in this case the fibres in the paper towel.

When the paper towels are put into the tray, the water molecules are absorbed into the kitchen towel and transfer the dye from the bottom towel to the top towel.

sun picture for kitchen towel art activity

This is such a lovely activity to do with young children and we love how hands on it is. It’s also incredibly low cost and can be done using equipment that you already have in the home.

Flower picture idea for paper towel art

Have you tried paper towel art with your kids? Let us know how it went in the comments below.

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Paper Towel Art - Easy to set up hands on activity for kids

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