This How To Have Paint Night At Home is part of our staycation series. Just because you can’t go out doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time.
Pete and I did a paint night a million years ago. We had a great time although, to be honest, we didn’t ever hang the paintings because I felt weird hanging two of the same painting in the kitchen.
I think they’re sitting in a closet somewhere. Think is the keyword there.
I know for sure that they moved with us from the apartment to the house, but that was four years ago, and I have’t seen them since.
Maybe Pete knows.
If you haven’t gone to a paint night, you should definitely set up an at home paint night.
How To Have Paint Night At Home
At paint nights, you usually paint on a huge canvas. But with an at home paint night, smaller canvases are better. You want to look for stretched canvas (you can click that link to order them online).
A stretched canvas is a canvas that is stretched over the wooden border that is the canvas’ frame. A stretched canvas gives you the full surface of the front, plus the sides, to paint.
If you’re planning on having paint night at home this often, you can pick up bulk art easels. But, if you think you might only do this once, you can skip the easels — and that means you don’t have to find somewhere to store them, which is always my trouble with buying things in bulk.
Purchase acrylic paints and brushes
You can use either oil paints or acrylic paints to paint on canvas. Acrylic is a better choice, though, because it dries quickly. You’re probably inviting people over to have paint night with you, and they most likely won’t have a ton of time to wait and watch paint dry. So go with the paint that dries quickly.
Plus, acrylic paint is cheap. So you can pick up a ton of colors and give your friends a lot of options when they’re painting.
Don’t forget to purchase paint brushes too. You want a bunch of sizes and duplicates of each size too. You don’t want people to have to wait around for brushes. And that will happen if you only have one of each size.
Decide on a design
Most paint nights have everyone painting the same design. That’s my biggest complaint of the one I did with Pete, but it is what it is traditionally.
Once you decide on a design, look up some fair use clip art online (or you can order a coloring page). Something with a very strong outline and few details works best.
Print out whatever you decide on. (This really works a lot better if you purchased an 8.5×11 or 8×10 stretched canvas).
Color the back of the paper with a pencil.
Place the paper on top of your canvas (with the pencil colored side touching your canvas). Trace the outline. This will make the design appear lightly onto the canvas.
Remove the paper and go over the light pencil lines darker (but not too dark) with your pencil.
Continue this on every canvas so everyone has an outline to paint.
Set up paint night stations
Once you know how many people you’re having over for paint night, you’l need to set up a seat for each of them. Set out tables and chairs for each person, making sure to give everyone enough space to spread out.
If you’re like us and have an abundance of tables (thanks, farmers market), set those out. It’s better to set up paint night at home at plastic tables rather than your kitchen table unless you have a tablecloth on your kitchen table. Your guests may be careful, but wine and paint don’t always cooperate. And you don’t want paint on your table at the end of the night.
At each seat, set a canvas (and easel, if you decided to buy those).
If you have paint tray palettes, you can use those to hold paint. If you don’t have those, use paper plates. To make life so much easier, squirt a dollop of each primary color onto the paper plate or palette. Do this for everyone. Yes, you can let guests squirt their own paint, but it’s just easier if you do this for them ahead of time.
Then, fill a cup with paint brushes. You can put one set of paint brushes between two seats, if you don’t have enough for a full set for everyone.
Put out a cup of water to use as brush washing. Again, you can set one cup between two stations, if that’s easier for you.
Place paper towels at each station so your guests can dry their brushes.
Set up a main station
This part is completely optional. If you have someone who is a better painter than the rest of the gang, you can set up a main station for him or her to stand at and lead everyone in painting. That’s how it’s done at regular paint nights.
But honestly, you can just let everyone paint as they wish. Paint night at home doesn’t have to be that formal.
Set up drinks
There are two things that are absolutely necessary for a successful paint night: painting supplies and drinks.
One might even argue that the drinks are more important because they enhance the paintings because you release your inhibitions.
But, if you’re having a paint night at home, set up drinks. You can have alcoholic ones, sure, but non-alcoholic is just as good. Just be careful if you serve water. You don’t want anyone mixing it up with their water glass.
Snacks are delicious, but don’t set them up near your at home paint night set up. Drinking and painting is enough. If you try to drink, paint, and eat, that requires a lot of coordination and concentration. So definitely make appetizers and finger foods for your paint night at home, but serve them while your guests are waiting for their paintings to dry.