Positive/Negative Spray Painted Snowflakes Tutorial

Happy New Year! In this post, I am going to share how to make some beautiful positive/negative spray painted snowflakes! I adapted this idea from something similar I saw done on Instagram, but with fall leaves instead of snowflakes. I absolutely LOVED the idea, (I even pinned it here!) so I thought it would be fun to adapt it and see if I could come up with something new to put on our wall for winter. It’s about time I changed that bulletin board, anyway!


For this project, I had to purchase some snowflake stencils on Amazon. This set by Roylco came with twelve different plastic snowflake stencils in it for about fifteen bucks. I was tempted to purchase the leaf stencils just to have for next year, but somehow I managed to resist. 🙂 In any case, I think it’s important that the stencils are made of plastic so that you can rinse them off and reuse them after painting. Otherwise, if they are cardboard, you will probably end up ruining them by spraying the paint over them, and that’s no good!


The process itself is pretty easy. All you need to do is measure the size of your stencils and cut the paper so that it is even with the stencils as shown in the picture. Cut one paper for each child. We put the names on the backs of the papers in advance, because that helps me remember to do one for each child without missing anyone, even if they are absent the day we do them. It’s important to me to have everyone represented on my bulletin boards!


Now comes the only time consuming part: someone needs to tape down the snowflake stencils in advance. I had volunteers help me with that part, but if you don’t have any volunteers, I bet that some fifth graders would be happy to help. The fifth grade teacher at my school is always happy to give her faster workers projects like this, as long as I give her plenty of time to get it done! Now, one problem is that I had ten stencils to work with and 19 kids, so I had to do half of the class one week and half of the class the next week. Of course, some of the kids were a little confused about this even after I explained it, but they understood why they had to wait in the end!


You’ll need to get your paint ready, too! We were going to use liquid watercolors, but that limited us to only the one color of blue that I had on hand, and I really wanted to mix light blue with dark blue. So we decided to get some tempera paint and add a lot of water until it looked like liquid watercolors! We used the bright blue aqua tempera and the regular darker blue the kids normally paint with, mixing it with a LOT of water!  Note that the original Instagram post with the fall leaves indicates that this can be done with food coloring and water as well!  Once both colors are prepared, just put them into a couple of spray bottles and spray them into the sink until the consistency of the paint looks correct. Then try it on some paper to make a sample.  If it works well, you’re good to go!


Now comes the fun part: doing it with the kids! My favorite way to do this is to call the kids back two at a time, with one watching and the other painting. That way, I only have to explain things once for every two kids. (You could probably do three at a time just as easily.) Then they switch! The spraying takes almost no time at all, and it’s fun for them! They just needed to be coached to spray quickly, pulling the handle back fast, which made the tiny droplets. I had my kids practice spraying into the sink, which really helped a lot, and also got them “over it” a little bit, if you know what I mean!  Once they had it, they were able to spray their snowflake. One child sprayed sooooo much that he saturated his paper and had to redo his snowflake later.  So, I recommend that you give them a certain number of sprays and then tell them that they MUST stop after that.


Next, just let the papers dry for a couple of hours. Once they are completely dry and there is no chance of any paint dripping or spreading, then you can pull off the stencils. The kids LOVED to see the paintings as the stencils were removed! If you have the time, it’s really a nice thing to call each child back and let them watch as an adult pulls their stencil off.

A video posted by Heidi Butkus (@heidisongs) on

Of course, they don’t NEED to be “framed” with paper on the back as I did, but the white snowflake papers weren’t showing up very well on my white wall, so the framing seemed necessary to me.



I hope that you enjoyed this post and may even try it yourself! Let me know how it goes, and I would LOVE to see a picture if you make some! Happy New Year! 🙂



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Heidi Butkus

About Heidi Butkus

Heidi Butkus has been teaching in California public schools since 1985. She has somehow managed to stay in Kindergarten all of those years, with the exception of five years in first grade, and also taught a parent participation preschool for a short while! Combining a strong knowledge of brain research with practical experience, Heidi has created a wealth of fun and engaging teaching techniques that work well with diverse populations. She has presented at conferences nationwide, and is the owner and founder of HeidiSongs.com. Heidi has also created fourteen original CD's and DVD's for teaching beginning reading and math skills, three musical plays designed especially for young performers, and has written some picture books and many other teaching resources. Heidi's multimedia workshops are filled with fun and motivational educational activities that have been classroom tested and revised for effectiveness with all types of learners.
  1. I am going to try this with my Kindergarteners and already ordered the stencils. Does it work on construction paper or did you a special type of paper? Each child gets a rectangle shaped paper so that one side we tape down the stencil and spray with blue paint. However, did I miss a step about how we do the other side/half (white snowflake) blue background.

    • Hello!
      We did this on plain old construction paper! And if you look closely at the pictures, you may notice that on one side we have the stencil with the hole for the snowflake in the middle. On the other side, we have the part of the snowflake that we PUNCHED OUT of the stencil! So we are using both pieces of the stencil, both the positive and the negative side. Once they are finished spraying the paint down and it dries, you lift up both pieces of the stencil to reveal the positive/negative snowflake! Does that make sense? Let me know and I’ll see if I can explain it another way.

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