Zentangle®, Art Activities, & Mindful Resources for Kids

Splatter Art With Essential Oils – Calming Process Art for Kids

Splatter painting has always been a huge hit in my home and art room at school. My daughters really enjoy applying the paint using different tools to create interesting effects. In the video I’ve included below, my girls are using piping bags for our splatter creations. As a result, we were able to create long thin lines, small dots and big blobs, depending on how much pressure they used to squeeze the bag. 

We also used a feelings chart in the YouTube video below to help them decide which colours they wanted to paint with. Click HERE to download a free copy of the feelings chart I’m referring to. I’ve also included a black and white version of the feelings chart, so your children can choose their own colours to represent certain emotions. Once children can identify what they’re feeling, they can use that colour in their splatter art to communicate what they are experiencing. Here’s a picture of Chloe’s blow painting using shades of green, purple, and blue; which to her, represents gratitude, happiness, and excitement. 

Related: Flextangles – Paper Toys (free printable templates)

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As an alternative, you can take this activity outside for a more full bodied experience and use a much larger piece of paper. One of the beautiful things about splatter painting is that it allows children to be completely expressive. They can drip, splash, or splat the paint any way that they want. The goal of this type of abstract art is to promote exploration and creativity. There are no mistakes! 

Creative activities, such as painting, promote mental calmness and encourage relaxation. Often, when people are creating art, they get into a mental flow; which helps them focus on the art piece they are bringing to life, instead of their worries [1]. Splatter art paired with essential oils is the perfect recipe for promoting relaxation and relieving anxiety.

Related: How to Draw a Mandala Step by Step – Calming Art

Creating a Sensory Experience with Essential Oils

In aromatherapy, inhaling the scent of an essential oil (or absorbing it through the skin) is believed to send messages to the limbic system, a brain region that influences our emotions and nervous system. It is thought that the use of essential oils can affect stress levels, blood pressure, breathing and immune function.

Essential oils have been known to help calm a child who is feeling anxious or stressed [2]. Chanel has a diffuser in her room that she uses on a regular basis to help her sleep better at night and she thoroughly enjoys incorporating these fragrances into her artistic creations.

Daniela Montalto, Ph.D., a child neuropsychologist at the Child Study Center at NYU Langone, states that “a soothing or familiar scent can ease anxiety”[3]. So, if your child can tolerate the fragrance of essential oils, adding them to your calming toolkit could be beneficial. It’s important to note that aromatherapy is only effective if the child finds the smell calming. When choosing essential oils for this activity, get your child involved and see which fragrances they prefer. Lavender is generally a hit with kids because of its mild, flowery scent. Here is a brief description of the essential oils that we used in our splatter art:

Lavender – the fragrance from the oils of the lavender plant is believed to help promote calmness and wellness. It’s also said to help reduce stress, anxiety, and possibly even mild pain.

Frankincense – frankincense oil is typically sourced from the resin of the Boswellia carterii or Boswellia sacra tree. It is often used to ease stress, anxiety, and colds. 

Lemongrass – lemongrass is extracted from the leaves and stalks of the lemongrass plant, lemongrass oil has a powerful, citrus scent. Lemongrass essential oil is a popular tool in aromatherapy to help relieve stress, anxiety, and depression.

Here’s our YouTube video that will show you step-by-step how to create an amazing splatter painting.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Appropriate for all ages

For today’s art piece you’ll need:

  1. Acrylic paint or any kind of liquid paint you have available. 
  2. Watercolour paper or cardstock
  3. Piping bags or zip lock bags 
  4. Essential oils (lavender, lemongrass, and Frankincense) just 3-4 drops per bag. Or you can choose to use just 1 fragrance.
  5. Scissors 
  6. Feelings Chart (optional)

Step 1. Get Out Your Feelings Chart

If you choose to use a feelings chart, have your young artist choose a few colours to describe how they are feeling at that moment, or you can skip this step and have them choose any colours that they radiate to.

Step 2. Set Up Your Work Space

It’s a good idea to cover the surface that you’ll be painting on just in case some paint goes off the page.

Step 3. Prepare Your Materials

  1. Gather all of the materials mentioned above and place them in the area you’ll be working in.

Step 4. Prepare Your Piping Bags

  1. Fill up your piping bags with paint and add 3-4 drops of each essential oil. 
  2. Cut a tiny corner off the piping bag.

Step 5. Start Splattering!

  1. Squeeze the paint out in a splattery pattern by gently squeezing the bag. 
  • Depending on your size of paper, you can try splattering with your whole arm, upper body, or entire body
  • You can try holding the piping bag close to the surface of far away to create a cool effect
  • You can even try circular motions

Step 6. Repeat with more Paint

  1. Keep applying different colours to your page and enjoy the aromatherapy benefits of the essential oils.
Mindfulness Art Activity

Step 7. Display Their Artwork

  1. Once the paint dries you can frame your masterpiece, gift it to someone, or use it as a background for another art piece.
Please note that essential oils should not be applied directly to the skin, without a carrier oil, and they should not be ingested.I hope that you have fun completing this activity! I’d love to hear from you – questions, comments, or any art activity that you’re looking for. Please also let me know how your masterpieces turn out.References
  1. “The Mental Health Benefits of Art | Scripps AMG.” Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups, 1 Aug. 2017, https://scrippsamg.com/managing-illness/mental-health-benefits-of-art/.
  2. Philadelphia, The Children’s Hospital of. How Aromatherapy Can Help Children. 5 Mar. 2018, https://www.chop.edu/news/health-tip/how-aromatherapy-can-help-children.
  3. How the Right Scents May Stimulate Your Child’s Learning. https://www.scholastic.com/parents/books-and-reading/raise-a-reader-blog/aromatherapy-benefits-kids.


14 thoughts on “Splatter Art With Essential Oils – Calming Process Art for Kids”

  1. Thank you! I’ve included a list of references at the end of my blog post if you’d like to explore further. Thank you again!

    1. Thank you so much! I appreciate your feedback. Please let me know if there’s a particular activity that you’d like me write about or make a video for.

  2. Pingback: How to Draw a Mandala Step by Step - Lightly Sketched

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  5. Pingback: Process Art Ideas for Toddlers (with full supplies list!) – The Salty Mamas

    1. Thank you so much! I’m glad that you found it easy to understand. Thank you for taking the time to write me a comment; I really appreciate it.

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