So you’re thinking about hosting a canvas art paint party? Well this post is for you! Paint parties have become one of the most popular ways to celebrate a special occasion…whether it’s a kids’ birthday party, a bridal or engagement celebration, retirement party….it’s the most fun thing to come along for artists and non-artists alike!
You don’t have to have a special occasion in mind either, it’s a great all-around activity for meetups, church groups, kids’ summer camp activities, the list goes on! But like all party types, if you want to be sure yours is a success, it takes having a good plan in mind.
So if you’re thinking about putting together one of these fun activities for a day and not sure where to get started, I have outlined a plan to get you started off on the right foot.
Pin to Your Art Board 🎨
Choosing the Venue
The location to host the party could be in a conference or meeting room, or it could be at your own home. Where I live we have a special clubhouse that can be rented for a day, residents often have parties there, you pay a deposit fee and reserve the room in advance. Before committing to a place be sure that amenities will be sufficient for your anticipated number of guests.
Will there be enough tables and chairs, and will people be able to move around comfortably? Does the place/room your considering have any rules to adhere to? Obviously paint is messy and a spill can happen accidentally, and not all venues may approve so be sure to ask questions and get approval going in.
Throwing a Paint Party at Home
If you can’t locate a suitable venue that you can get permission from, maybe think about hosting your gathering in your own home? There’s advantages of doing so, you’ll have the refreshments in easy reach and won’t have to worry about messing up someone else’s property inadvertently. Of course it also depends on how large a number of guests will be attending.
Most likely you’ll have a room that will be big enough – what is known as the “family room” would have enough adequate space for guests to move about. I have what’s called a “great room” which is exactly where I would be holding this kind of affair. (I’d probably have to move around a few articles of furniture…)
As with the public venue, be sure you do have adequate setup in the form of tables and chairs ( if you don’t have any long rectangular ones, a large round one that seats about 6-7 is a good option too.
How many people are you planning to invite? Let’s say hypothetically you have a whole niche group with about 20-25 people present you want to invite. There may always been a drop – out or two at the last minute because, life, so it’s a good idea to plan for around 25-30 guests give or take.
It is a good idea to send invitations early – one or two months in advance would be good. The invitations should indicate all the basics – the what, where, time and date. You may want to include special instructions to RSVP, wear certain type of clothing, or bring something in particular.
Supplies and the Painting in Question
This may be the biggest part, and it will be easier to work out once you have a “ballpark” idea of how many guests will be present. It would be a good idea to have a budget worked out as well as a list of supplies so you don’t miss anything important. The good news is that you can often get some products in bulk amounts for cheaper. Your list should include:
- Canvases by the pack
- Paint (bottles/jars will go further)
- Tabletop easels
- Brush sets
Table top style easels can be collapsed, I have a few of these and they’re very lightweight and don’t take up too much space. Smaller canvases would be better too – I would look into a size like 16″ x 20″, 14″ x 18″, or 11″ x 14″. If you can get supplies that are more “consolidated” like the one on the left, that is great.
Other tools you’re going to need include palettes, paper towels for cleaning and plenty of jars or compartments to hold water. Disposable tablecloths can be used to protect the work area. A few tools can be obtained inexpensively – or free! I save lots of jars and sometimes containers that I think may be useful later on, like whipped topping tubs.
Another thing I always keep is empty egg cartons -specifically the Styrofoam kind. These have so many uses – one of them is that they are great to use as makeshift palettes for mixing paint.
What Will You Be Painting?
As far as the painting in question goes? What most people do is to have a pre-designed subject so everyone will be following the same objective. Think of how confusing and chaotic things may be if you took a “wild card” approach. Remember you’ll have people with varying degrees of ability, ideally they want to learn something new but they also want to have fun and not get too hung up on perfection.
I recently found a series of pre-designed canvas kits which not only have cute templates but some materials, too! Your guest are sure to enjoy the bold, eye-catching designs as they follow along.
This is a social gathering not a competition. So it’s a good idea to have a subject in mind, it can be flowers, stiill lifes, or what have you…this can be created with a simple outline which you can make copies of, be sure to have enough for all of your guests that they can replicate and follow along.
Don’t Forget Food
Food and beverages can go a long way in making a great event. What kind of a party doesn’t have refreshments, right? That includes paint parties too. “Finger foods” like fruit, veggies slices, cheese, crackers, pretzels, mini desserts like petit fours, etc., are some good choices for the kind of food to offer. Try to keep it as non-messy as possible – or it could become a distraction more than an enjoyment!
This goes without saying, but don’t forget to have plenty of utensils on hand too, like napkins, flatware, and things to pick up food items like cocktail toothpicks.Try to choose flatware that matches the party theme and color scheme too, if you can.
A Word About Drinks…
Now the big question of will there be alcohol involved? A “paint and sip” event always involves crackers, cheese, and wine (hence the name.) but these usually involve a celebratory event such as a bridal/bachelorette, milestone 30th, 40th, 50th, etc., birthday, moving away or retirement party.
If your proposed gathering doesn’t revolve around an actual special occasion and you’re hosting the event just for fun and /or enlightenment, sodas and punch would work just fine, of course it may all depend on the sensibilities and lifestyles of the group you plan to invite, in which case, only you could answer that question.
Getting the Right Ambiance
Music, lighting and decor all need to be taken into consideration. The “right” ambiance for the event can help set the tone for creating artwork. Soft lighting is good. You could also hang some of those “party lights” by the string, or maybe even some paintings of your own for inspiration.
The decor should also be in sync with the theme if there is one, or occasion…
I’m usually listening to music when I paint, it helps me to focus too. Ideally it should be low enough in volume – kind of like “background music” so everyone can still have conversations amongst each other and ask questions, or give feedback.
Should you request any fees upfront from your guests? I think it’s fair…plus they will be leaving with their very own masterpiece at the end of the day 🙂 I believe a small participation fee of about $10 per guest is reasonable. You’ll be footing the bill for a lot of things and if all the participants chip in a small amount it will be easier on you as the host, plus it will be a lot less likely that they may back out later on.
Well that was a lot of territory to cover, but these six main “bullet points” are the most important steps to take, and the right order when it comes to hosting the ultimate paint party with friends, students, groups or your own besties. Best of luck to you, and may you have a fun and successful shindig!