Make: Spray Bottle Fireworks Process Art for Kids

Back when I lived in California, my house in Mission Beach was perfectly situated to see the nighttime fireworks displays Sea World would put on. From time to time my roommates and I would get out the ladder and climb up the one story to watch the fireworks from the roof (obligatory disclaimer: Attempt at your own risk – as a general rule, I rarely endorse following my own behavior – ha).

In Chicago I could watch fireworks out over the lake, and at my new home in Minnesota, I can walk out the door and catch not one, but TWO small neighborhood shows on the Fourth of July. The more fireworks I see, the more entranced I am by what’s left behind AFTER the bangs and pops (I HATE the loud noises, so it makes sense I’d enjoy what follows). The blankets of moon dust-looking clouds and dazzling light trails create the most mesmerizing effect against the night sky.

One of our finished spray bottle fireworks process art pieces laying on a white background

While experimenting with ideas for a fireworks art project for kids, I tried out dozens of techniques and wasn’t having much luck. If one looked good, it wasn’t a very fun process, or vice versa.

Remembering the satisfaction of spray paint (in process AND style!) I grabbed a small spray bottle and filled it with diluted paint, hoping I would get a similar effect, and OOOO-LA-LA!!! As soon as I saw the marks it left, I knew that was going to be the way forward.

Much like the colorful fogs and glittering trails REAL fireworks leave behind, this spray bottle process creates beautiful layers of brightly-colored explosions. More importantly, it’s INTENSELY fun!

One of our finished spray bottle fireworks process art pieces laying on a white background

We used some squares of paper as the backdrop for our fireworks paintings, but your kids might enjoy working on larger paper – you could even hang pieces of an old sheet or scrap fabric outside and go to town with bigger spray bottles. As a bonus activity, you can even recycle your art into spark-free paper sparkers!

Press play to watch the whole process (headed off for a quick summer holiday, but adding a voiceover with more detailed instructions shortly!)

As I’ve gotten older, fireworks have become more of a symbol of individuality than patriotism (thanks, Katy Perry! But seriously.). They all come in the same packaging, but when they’re catapulted from their factory-made existence into the ether, they explode into a GORGEOUS one-of-a-kind display that can never ever be replicated.

It’s beautiful, it’s the human experience, and it’s probably much more than your kids want to hear about while creating these…but there’s a good lesson in there!

Discover more fun summer art processes with a visit to our puffy paper bag ice cream cones, scrape paint surfboards, melted crayon butterflies, name-in-the-stars constellation art, and hammered flower art prints.

For your own spray bottle fireworks process art you’ll need:

Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains Woodpeckers Crafts and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*

BASIC SUPPLIES:

DIY STAMP SUPPLIES:

  • Scissors
  • A glue stick
  • Stamps, stickers, a q-tip, or pencil eraser (to add dots and other shapes)

Spray Bottle Fireworks Process Art Instructions:

  1. Mix paint and water in a small spray bottle

    Bright or light-colored paints (and metallics absolutely POP off the page!) work best on darker backgrounds, so pick your color palette with that in mind.

    Squeeze about a tablespoon of paint (acrylics and tempera work best) into the bottle, then pour tap water in, filling roughly a quarter to one-third of the bottle up. Screw the cap on, then give your paint bottle a good shake! The key here is to not dilute the paint TOO much – you still want strong colors! If I had to guess on a ratio, I’d say 1 part paint to 2.5 parts water (depending on what kind of paint you’re using).
    The spray bottles of paint for making our fireworks process art project for kids
    NOTE: Younger kids may find this style of spray bottle more difficult to work with – if you have little ones who’d like to try this, I’d recommend using trigger-style spray bottles (I’ve linked to a smaller version than typical household spray bottles up in the supply list).

  2. Pick out your background paper

    We wanted these to look like a night sky, so we went with black and a deep blue heavy construction paper.
    Supplies for making our fireworks process art project for kids
    We trimmed ours into squares, but you don’t need to!

  3. Find objects you can use to create fireworks shapes

    This spray bottle technique offers a wonderful opportunity for kids to experiment with positive and negative space. Grab some items that will create “fireworks shapes” – circles, linear objects you can fan out, or pieces of paper you’ve cut into other specific shapes.
    Supplies for making our fireworks process art project for kids

  4. Experiment with spraying your paint

    Grab your first piece of background paper and start spraying. What happens if you hold the spray bottle close to the paper? How does the paint look different if you hold the spray far away?
    How to make our fireworks process art project for kids

  5. Add shapes then spray

    Now that you’ve done a bit of spraying as a first layer, experiment with adding shapes. Lay down some items and spray over top of them.
    How to make our fireworks process art project for kids
    After you’ve sprayed, take the items off the paper. Do you see your shapes in the negative space?

  6. Continue building up the layers of spray paint

    Continue to add layers of spray until you feel finished!
    How to make our fireworks process art project for kids

  7. Add drips and details (optional)

    To emulate those dazzling trails of stardust fireworks leave behind, we used a small piece of sponge dipped in watery paint to squeeze dripped blots over our piece.
    How to make our fireworks process art project for kids
    After creating a series of blots, we pulled the paper up on its side, letting the paint roll down to the page to create drippy lines. You can experiment with turning the paper to make the drips go in different directions.

You can stop there, or keep the process art fun going by inviting kids to add more fireworks shapes in the form of stamps, stickers, arrangements of q-tips, etc. As our final step, we created some positive-space abstract fireworks shapes by stacking simple scrap paper strips.

One of our finished spray bottle fireworks process art pieces laying on a white background

Once finished, a few of these hanging together look fantastic as a collection or as part of a gallery wall.

One of our finished spray bottle fireworks process art pieces laying on a white background

Discover more 2D summer art projects for kids with this charming paper pool art, our torn paper landscape art project (just like vacation postcards!), or paper playground art invitation. SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

Four of our finished spray bottle fireworks process art pieces laying on a white background

*A note about affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Amazon, Etsy, or Woodpeckers Crafts. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click through to make a purchase we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!

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Amanda E.

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help kids and families discover their creative potential through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. Amanda has a background in graphic design, environmental design, and art curation. When not playing with ideas and designs for barley & birch, she enjoys working in freelance design, art, and illustration.

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