Mess-Free Box Painting for Toddlers Cover

Mess Free Box Painting for Toddlers

This mess free box painting activity for toddlers and babies is the perfect way to get your little ones started painting without making a mess. I am always looking for fun painting activities to make holiday pictures to give to grandparents and for my littles to share with friends.

This one is perfect for Valentine’s Day or any other holiday for that matter. My mini and I just used this method to make Valentine’s for her grandparents and she was SO proud that she made them herself. 

The best part about this activity is that my 8 month old was able to make a picture as well.  I find that it is very hard to paint with a baby without them trying to put their hands full of paint in their mouths or eating the paint. This activity is perfect for babies ages 8+ months or so as they can create some of their very first artwork without having to worry about them eating the materials! 

The actual project itself is super quick and easy and can be replicated for any holiday using a different shaped piece of paper and different colors of paint. 

In order to do this project you will need a box to fit your desired piece of paper, paint in various colors, glitter (optional), a ball, paper, tape, and scissors. You will need to cut the piece of paper that you want your mini to paint into a heart shape if you are planning on making the picture in a Valentine.

You can also cut the piece of paper into various shapes like a Christmas tree, Easter Egg, Pumpkin, etc…to make pictures for other holidays if desired.

Heart taped to box

Tape your desired piece of paper onto the bottom of the box. You cannot skip this step or your picture will roll around with the ball and not turn out when you open the box in the end. Make sure to roll the tape up and stick it to the back of the paper to tape it to the box. Do not put tape on the sides of the picture to tape it to the box or the paint will not stick in those places.

Using the desired colors pour paint in the corners of the box. I find that it looks best if I do not pour a pile of paint directly onto the paper. Make sure to think about what colors your paint will make when mixed (you can even turn this into a little lesson for your toddlers on color mixing) before pouring it on.

Heart Paint in Corners

Drop a ball of some sort into the box. My favorite kind of ball to use is a ball from my mini’s ball pit. These work great because the paint just washes right off when you are finished with the project. This way the ball doesn’t get wrecked. Bouncy balls work great for this project as well.

Close and fold the top of the box up so that it doesn’t open easily. Then give your mini the box and let them shake and move it all around. Shake the box for 1-2 minutes or so. The longer you shake the more paint that ends up on the picture.

Mess-Free Box Painting for Toddlers Cover

Open up the box and see the masterpiece. If you want to add glitter just shake it on right away after you open the box up and take the ball out.  I would wait until the picture is dry to take it out of the box. Then you can write on it and decorate it any additional way you would like. 

Heart Paint in Corners Finished

Mess Free Box Painting Craft for Toddlers


  • Paper
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • A box
  • A ball (ball pit ball or bouncy ball work best)
  • Paint (in various colors)
  • Glitter (optional)


  1. Cut the paper into a heart (or your desired shape).
  2. Put tape onto the back of your heart and tape it to the bottom of the box. 
  3. Pour the desired colors of paint into the four corners of the box (not on the paper itself). 
  4. Drop your ball into the box and close it so that it cannot be opened easily.
  5. Shake and shuffle the box for 1-2 minutes. 
  6. Open the box and take out the ball.
  7. Sprinkle glitter on the paper (if desired).
  8. Once the picture has dried completely take it out and add writing or any additional decorations. 

Painted Heart Decoration

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