Kids Crafts

Cotton Ball Canvas Heart

Posted on February 1, 2021

This project is perfect for younger kids who want to craft, but don’t quite have the ability to stay between the lines and keep colors separate. Moms, this should spare you a headache since they can make their canvas messy and it will still turn out cute. If you’ve got a perfectionist on your hands, there are some hacks at the end to help them clean it up!


  • Canvas – 8×10″ is perfect for little hands
  • Paint – 2 or 3 colors is perfect, any more and they’ll start to blend together to make brown
  • Heart shape – you can cut it out from plain computer paper, construction paper, or cardstock 
  • Cotton balls – twice as many as you have paint colors
  • Clothes pins – as many as you have paint colors
  • Scissors, Tape, Disposable cups or paper plate

Amazon shopping list for easy ordering! Check it out here.

Step 1: Gather and ready your materials

Having all of your materials in one place from the start will help your craft progress smoothly.

Cut out your heart shape. When cutting out the heart, it’s best to cut off the black outline (if you printed it out first), otherwise the paint will cause the black line to bleed onto the canvas.

Put paint in cups or on paper plate. Smaller cups are handy to help the cotton ball get enough paint on them and they also give you an edge to wipe off excess paint. If you use paper plate, it might be best to use one plate per paint color so there’s plenty of room to wipe off excess paint.

Clip clothes pins on cotton balls. Keep extra cotton balls nearby in case they start to come apart or lose their shape (sometimes they can get stringy). If this happens then just replace them!

Step 2: Tape heart shape to the center of the canvas

You may also have to put a finger on the heart to keep it from sliding around as you paint. If the heart moves, it will smear paint and it’ll be a little messy.

place your heart on the canvas

Step 3: Paint!

Grab your cotton ball by the clothespin and dip it into the paint. Be careful not to get too much paint on the end or the cotton balls will slide and smear. It’s best to wipe off excess paint on the edge of your cup or plate before placing on the canvas.

Begin placing “dots” all around canvas. Take turns using colors so that they’re evenly distributed on the canvas. Try to spread the colors out, but you don’t have to make a pattern; it’s okay if the same colors are touching. Continue placing paint dots across the canvas until there is little to no white space left. Try not to oversaturate the paint or use heavy pressure in the area around the heart – this is what will cause the paint to bleed under the paper.

Step 4: Peel & Dry

 Peel up the heart print out. If paint has found it’s way under your heart, don’t panic. We think the “mess-ups” add character and extra love, but if they bother your little artist just check out the Tips & Tricks section at the bottom of this post.

Let canvas dry. If you want the canvas to dry faster you can place it under a fan. Then take a step back and enjoy your masterpiece!

Tips & Tricks

If paint got under your heart, let it dry completely. Resist the urge to wipe it off while it’s wet – it’ll only make it worse. Once it’s dry, use white paint on a paintbrush to touch it up.  Depending on the color that bled, you may have to do 2 coats of white to cover it. Make sure you let each coat dry in between. If you can, feather out the white paint towards the inside of the heart so it’s less noticeable of a texture difference. This may be enough for your little artist, but if you want to take it a step further, you can paint the entire inside of the heart so it’s all the same color.  

Hey, I’m Anna!

I’m a wedding stationer with a passion for all things crafty. Whether you’re a bride looking for information on invitations or a mom looking for crafts for your kids (or let’s be real here, for yourself), I’m glad you’re here! Check out all the other ways to follow along below.

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