Art With Grandma 07/16/2020 – Painted Wooden Cars

This project combines two of Finn’s favorite things, painting and cars. I have used this project several times for different purposes. For younger children, like Finn, it’s just fun to decorate the cars. For older children, it can be a lesson about Kinetic Art – art that moooooves. You can also use the cars as a vehicle (pun intended) for art history or self expression. You might prompt your students to paint the cars to demonstrate the style of a particular artist or art movement, like my Mondrian inspired car below, or perhaps to express an aspect of their personality.

Needed Materials:

  • Small wooden cars – I buy mine from Oriental Trading Company ( They are listed as DIY Unfinished Wood Cars – presently $9.79 for a dozen.
  • I have found that felt tipped markers or paint pens are much easier to use to paint these cars than traditional paint with brushes.
  • Any desired embellishments like googly eyes, tiny pom-poms, feathers, sparkles, etc.
  • Splat mat
  • White glue or hot glue gun for older kids


  • If you plan to use a prompt, explain the idea before you distribute the cars. Once the kids have the cars in hand – you have lost them! Examples and pictures are always helpful.
  • Paint the cars using felt tipped markers or paint pens.
  • Once the paint is dry, glue on any embellishments and allow to dry.


We read one of my favorite children’s art books: Coppernickel Goes Mondrian by Wouter Van Reek. The illustrations are FANTASTIC!

We sang Mairsy Doats, a really old song that I can remember my Grandpa singing to me.


Finn loved the cars as much as I knew he would. The cars are sooooo engrossing that it’s difficult to talk to the kids about much else while they are actively painting, so the book kind of got lost – we’ll try it another time.

Suggested Follow-Up Activity:

Paint more than one car and race them. You might build ramps using boxes and blocks or books, or these cars are small enough to work on Hot Wheels tracks.

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