This activity is inspired by a session I ran with my afterschool art class. The kids were aged 8 to 13 and they had a wonderful time exploring paint with a pallet knife. I thought these abstract boat paintings would make amazing Father’s Day cards.

Kids love to explore paint in different ways and each child’s abstract boats are uniquely their own. This makes it such a personal gift!

And if you have a child who loves art with a Dad who loves boats, this will make for a fantastic activity. These Father’s Day cards are a piece of art worthy of framing. And your kids will be so proud of their creations when they give them to Dad on Father’s Day morning.

Now I won’t lie to you it is going to get messy so let me give you some tips to make the whole process run a little smoother.

4 handy tips on setting up a painting area for kids

  1. Make sure your children are in clothes you don’t mind getting paint on or better yet grab them an apron.
  2. Prep the table you are working on with either with a dropsheet or newspaper.
  3. Have paper towels and/or wet-wipes on hand. Your child will use these to clean off their pallet knife in between colours as well as their hands.
  4. Place a bucket, bowl or rubbish bin right beside your child, that way those dirty hand towels can go straight into it and be kept out of the way.

Once you’ve sorted out a space for your children to work in you are ready to create.

Father’s Day Abstract Boat Card

You will need
A3 watercolour paper (a nice thick paper stock)
A Pallet knife – you can get these from a hardware store, or I just bought some plastic ones from Warehouse Stationery
A teaspoon
Resene test pots in Dust storm, Candy Floss, Yes Please, Bunting, Norwester, Seafog and Wild Thing
Paper towels or wet wipes
Masking tape

What to do
1. Fold your A3 water colour paper in half to make a card.

2. Tape off around the edges with masking tape. This will give your card a nice border.

3. Turn your paper so it is in a landscape position.

4. Now using a spoon scoop a small amount of Resene Yes Please and dribble it along the bottom third of your page in a wavy line pattern.

Father's Day Card - Abstract Boat 4

5. Wipe your spoon with a paper towel and scoop some Norwester and dribble along the bottom third of your page in between the wavy lines of your Yes Please. Repeat this step with a small amount of Bunting.

Father's Day Card - Abstract Boat 2

6. Once you have your blues in place for the sea, go ahead and use your Sea fog to fill a small section above the blue. This creates a nice transition from the sea to the sky. You can also dribble a little into the sea.

Father's Day Card - Abstract Boat paint

7. Above the Sea Fog dribble some Dust Storm and Wild Thing. Make sure to leave an area up the top to bring back in the blue (Yes Please) and White (Sea Fog). Remember to wipe your spoon between colours.

8. Your painting should look like a lot of dribbled lines now. Something like the below:

Fathers day card abstract boat 1

9. Now using your pallet knife, start by blending the paint together. Try not to go into the sky just yet. Make sure to wipe off your pallet knife every now and then to stop the colours from blending too much.

Fathers day card abstract boat 5

10. Once you have done the sea, wipe off your pallet knife and start blending the white, yellow and pink together until you are happy with the results. Remember to keep wiping off that excess paint.

11. When you are happy with the sunset colours wipe off your pallet knife again and go ahead and blend the blue and white at the top of the sky.

12. Now for the boats. These a pretty easy the main thing is to not get caught up on thinking they must look exactly like a boat. They are only meant to be an impression of a boat.

13. Use Candy Floss (red) and Bunting (dark blue) to create the boats. Start by placing one little blob of paint onto the page. I made 3 blobs because I wanted 3 boats.

14. Using the side of your pallet knife run the edge up and through the blob of paint. You will now have a line coming up out of your blob. This will be the boat mast.

15. In the blob area flatten it out with your pallet knife, and roughly turn it into the hull of the Boat. Repeat step 14 for each boat.

16. After you have your boats created you can use the side of your pallet knife again to pick up some paint on the edge of your knife. Then create little zigzag lines below the boat to give the impression of a reflection. Repeat this step for each boat.

17. You will need to set this aside to dry overnight. Once it is dry peel off the tape slowly and write a heartfelt message to Dad on the inside. I’m sure your Dad will be totally amazed, and very chuffed to have received such a beautiful handmade card.

Fathers day card abstract boats mum and daughter

For more great Father’s Day craft ideas check out our Cute crafts for Fathers day post. Also for more fun project to do with your kids check out our Creative arts and crafts section.

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This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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