Painting Rainbows With Q-Tips + Free Printable Template

My daughter is in Kindergarten this year, and every day she learns something new. But I have been learning too. And not just about how to teach a five year old how to read… I am kind of obsessed with getting ideas from her art projects that she brings home from school.

When I helped the kids in K’s class make a snowman snow globe this winter, I fell in love with painting with Q-Tips. The kids got such a kick out of it, and it created a really neat project.

Inspired by that craft I decided to make Rainbows with Q-Tips. 

Rainbow Q-Tip Painting Printable Template

It was super quick, and both girls completed their Rainbow projects within 10 minutes. (I think it took me longer to gather my materials.)

Q-Tip Painting Rainbows

With St. Patrick’s Day coming up next week, I decided our rainbows needed a pot of gold. So I created a simple outline and cut it out of black construction paper for the girls. Then I let the girls glue the pot on one side and some shredded cotton pads on the other. (Apparently my art supply was out of cotton balls, so I resorted to cotton pads. But I am happy to report that it worked fine.)

I helped my toddler make her first rainbow row, and then I let her go to town with the paint. She was very serious about her work. Each time big sister changed colors, she was ready to change as well. 

Toddler Art Project

Since the project was so quick, both girls decided to continue painting with Q-Tips. And that was the end of my clean toddler, she got very into painting. And the more she painted, the more she smeared it all over herself — including her cute little nose.

Tip – my favorite paints are Crayola Washable Paints. They make for easy clean up!

Toddler Painting Activity

The girls were pleased with their work, and so is mom. We all had fun. If you want to make your own rainbows, here is a printable version of the pot template.  To use, right click on the template to save to your computer, then print the template and trace on to black construction paper.

For my coins, I used some shinny gold paper I had leftover from another project, and then I just cut crude circles (ovals really) and let the girls glue them in place. 

Pot of Gold Template

After finishing the “official” project, baby girl went on to design her own rainbow. Painting with Q-Tips is fun!

Painting with Q-Tips


  1. This is a cute idea. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Cute! Rylie actually has to make a rainbow for her last “family project”, and we may just have to use this idea. 🙂

    • It is so simple, but there is something about painting with a different “brush” that makes it so much fun.

  3. Dorothy Boucher says:

    such a cutie, love that smile 🙂 just like my little ones, and yes they would love these.. thanks for sharing with us 🙂 @tisonlyme143

  4. Love this! I only give my kids q-tips for painting and they use them just like regular paintbrushes, but I love the idea of encouraging them to do the little dots, pointillism-style! We’ve done rainbows with fingerprints too as a family craft. One suggestion to try – I put out my paints a little at a time in egg cartons so they don’t have to put the whole q-tip into the paint jar – that way you don’t wind up with quite as much mess (in theory)!


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