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Painting Mouse Paint

We were lucky enough to have my sister with us for a whole month this summer. As you can probably guess from her extended vacation and the season in which it took place she is a teacher. But better than that, she’s an art teacher. With over 420 students ranged ages 5-11, this lady’s got art tricks up sleeves that I wasn’t even aware existed. So when she said she was going to be coming this summer, I asked if she’d bring an art project for Bug. Now her favorite medium to work with is metal, preferably with an acetylene torch. But as we A. don’t have an acetylene torch, B. she couldn’t bring one with her on the plane, and C. it’s not really all that age appropriate, we just settled for paint instead.

One of her favorite projects that introduces color theory to munchkins is combining the book Mouse Paint by Ellen Walsh with some good ol’ finger painting. I should clarify that she says that she never finger paints in her classroom, because the idea of getting 20 children to wash their hands without slathering paint over everything in the process is cringe inducing.

We started off by reading Mouse Paint with Bug. He loved the cat and those mischievous mice. Who wouldn’t? The white mice like to hide on white paper so that cat won’t find them but then one day they find primary colored paint and decide to let their artistic creativity out of the box. They each crawl into a different color and get completely covered in red, blue, and yellow. It’s only after they’ve been dancing across the white paper that they notice the puddles of paint  they’ve created. The yellow mouse decides to dance in the red puddle and lo’ and behold his feet turn orange! The other mice follow his example and there is soon a festive rainbow dance taking place across the page. Eventually the mice wash off and resume their game of cat and mouse but with a new found knowledge and appreciation for color theory. Bug loved this. He’s very into his colors at the moment, pointing out everything that is red, green, blue, purple, yellow, and orange. He thought the mice were silly and enjoyed reenacting their dances.

We then began the great mouse paint. We made our puddles of red, blue, and yellow but Bug was losing interest quickly. He didn’t really care about combining colors and just wanted to be free like those wily mice escaping the clutches of the tyrannical cat. That’s when my sister pulled out an art trick. She painted one of my hands red and one blue and then with Bug’s encouragement I rubbed them together for ten seconds. Bam! Purple. He was in shock. Where did the red go? Where did the blue go? We did the same thing on the paper with the puddles and his interest was renewed. Each secondary color was created in the same way. And he talked about it for days. “Mama, blue hand, red hand. Rub, rub, rub. Purple hands!”

After the paint dried we added our mice and Bug added the ears giving them a distinctively Picasso feel. I could definitely imagine Picasso mixing paint colors with his hands.

What You’ll Need:

-Mouse Paint by Ellen Walsh

-Red, Yellow, & Blue Paint




  1. Make puddles with red, yellow, and blue
  2. Combine the red & yellow for orange, yellow & blue for green, and blue, red & WHITE for purple (if you don’t add a little white the purple comes out very dark).
    1. You can use the puddle method or the hand method discussed above.

      Mixing paint via the hand method: 1 hand red, 1 hand blue, a little bit of white. Rub, rub, rub. PURPLE!

      Mixing puddles on paper. You can see how dark the purple came out.

      Mixing our green using the finger painting style.

  3. Cut out 3 large teardrop shapes of white and attach to the page when the paint dries.

    Place the white teardrops on the page for the mouse bodies.

    Place the white teardrops on the page for the mouse bodies.

  4. Use your new found color knowledge to make light pink and cut out 6 small teardrop shapes for the ears.

    Add the pink ears on to the mice

    Add the pink ears on to the mice

  5. Add eyes with a marker.

    Finally, draw on your mouse eyes.




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2 Responsesso far.

  1. Tracy G says:

    I work with preschoolers and am going to try this….when school starts again.

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