Pendulum Painting

Teaching Art

In the art room, I have a classroom management reward system to help motivate students to work together and demonstrate what is expected of them. If the children do something unexpected like not being safe or not cleaning up properly, they get a strike. If they accumulate three strikes, they get an X on the Art Smart Chart. If they are reminded less than three times, they get a check on the chart. Once they accumulate ten checks they get a special art activity with me as a way of me saying thank you for demonstrating expected behaviours.

This round, I did pendulum paintings with the classes. After some research  on the all mighty Pinterest, a few trial and error tests, I came up with a good system to create fabulous paintings that incorporate science, experimentation and abstract art.

Materials needed:

  • A large tripod
  • String
  • Paper cups
  • Small binder clips
  • Tape
  • Large paper
  • Rocks or something to act as paper weights for the corners
  • Watered down washable paint

Cut three pieces of string all the same length and attach one end to the cup and the other to the top of the tripod. Make sure the cup is hanging about a foot or two from the ground. Punch a hole in the bottom of the cup with a pen and then cover the hole with tape. Position the paper under the tripod, then putting the paper weights down to secure the paper. Have different coloured paints in cups ready to pour. No need to change cups in between colours, just pour the next colour into the suspended cup. This actually gives a marbled look in the way that the paint mixes together. Some blogs suggest using powdered chalk so you can make the painting directly on the pavement. I tried crushing chalk but could not get it smooth enough to not have small chunks clogging the hole in the cup, so stuck to paint.


Students took turns moving the pendulum around to create different pathways, designs and splatters. I then gave each class their painting to use as a background for space travel, alien invasions or simply a Jackson Pollock-esque painting.

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