Painting on the light table

With my new light table all ready to go, I just had to play with it here at home and the first thing I wanted to try was a little painting…

Now keep in mind that this is my DIY light table so there is no plug or electricity and because the lid is totally washable, I wasn’t worried about getting paint on it. However, the first thing I did was cover the lid with plastic wrap…

I simply stretched two long pieces of plastic wrap across the top of the DIY light table and pressed all around to make it flat against the table. Then I set out a few small cups of tempera paint and some cotton swabs…

I recruited my hubby to come and paint with me so I could take a few photos. I don’t think we have ever painted together before…

My husband complained at first that the paint didn’t look good on the plastic. I reminded him that it wasn’t about how it looks so much but how it feels.  He got the hang of it pretty quickly and was having fun. We laughed about it as he painted in all kinds of ways. In many ways, he was like a little kid…

Before long he started dripping paint across the table…

And then he decided it would be more fun to use his fingers…

The plastic wrap makes the table smooth and slick so it feels slippery and it is definitely fun to fingerpaint. Once he finished his painting I had him place a piece of paper on top of the painting and rub his hands down all over the top of the paper…

Then lift the paper and his design is now transferred to the paper. I think I might just have to frame it:)

The nice thing about this process is that when you want to start over, just wipe the paint off the plastic with a paper towel and you are ready to go again…

Here are my two painted designs…

And I also rubbed a piece of paper over each one…

And here are my finished masterpieces on paper…

My husband insists that his is the best:)  He can be just like a little kid…

After we finished, I simply lifted the plastic wrap off the table and threw it in the trash. The table needed no cleaning! Yay!


By |2011-06-20T23:12:27+00:00June 20th, 2011|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Leeanne A June 20, 2011 at 11:27 pm - Reply

    Your brain never sleeps does it?! LOL – Wonderful I like this!
    I like the fact that you got some hubby time in there as well!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 20, 2011 at 11:34 pm - Reply

      My brain is definitely running a mile a minute:) LOL!

  2. Kristah June 20, 2011 at 11:32 pm - Reply

    That looks like fun. I wonder if you used tracing paper if that would work the same instead of transfer. But i like the transfer too.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 20, 2011 at 11:35 pm - Reply

      The nice thing about this is that you can paint on the plastic wrap anywhere – no light table is really needed but it makes a fun twist to the idea. I like the idea of tracing paper too – I will have to give that a try.

  3. Scott June 21, 2011 at 8:00 am - Reply

    Deborah, if you keep up these posts, I’ll definitely need to make a light table. This looks like so much fun.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 21, 2011 at 9:00 am - Reply

      LOL Scott!

  4. Barbara June 21, 2011 at 9:42 am - Reply

    You are sooooo funny. I can’t believe how much experimenting with “everyday stuff” you do!! The teachers at your center are so fortunate to have your creative assistance…And us blog readers are pretty lucky, too….Thanks again, Deborah!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 21, 2011 at 10:02 am - Reply

      Thank you Barbara – I just love it when I can find a way to make something we use everyday into something we can truly use in the classroom.

  5. debbie hendrickson June 21, 2011 at 9:49 pm - Reply

    Love the painting on the DIY Light Table. I am absolutely going to make a light table this summer. Thanks for sharing your process with everyone!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 21, 2011 at 10:07 pm - Reply

      You are welcome Debbie – thanks for your comment:)

  6. Carol June 25, 2011 at 1:55 am - Reply

    This is great I am gonna be doing this soon. I like the outcome!

  7. Cathy July 9, 2011 at 5:45 am - Reply

    Thanks for the idea! I have a light box made out of an old drawer and piece of white perspex. Had been trying to work out how we could paint safely (mine plugs in) Did not think of plastic wrap!…roll on Monday : )

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. July 9, 2011 at 9:14 am - Reply

      The plastic wrap really is fun to paint on too and super simple clean up! Have fun!

  8. Muriah July 25, 2011 at 11:41 pm - Reply

    Awesome! I’ve been drooling over your larger light box but this smaller one is something I could pull off. A good starter one! Thanks for the ideas!

  9. Mama Pea Pod July 30, 2011 at 10:13 pm - Reply

    Wow, I just read through your entire ‘Light Box Series’ and am in awe! I think I could maybe do this!! (If I can ever find the time to go shopping for the all the supplies) So many projects, so little time….

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. July 30, 2011 at 11:16 pm - Reply

      I know exactly what you mean. I have about a million projects I want to do too:)

  10. Finger Painting Ideas December 23, 2016 at 5:53 am - Reply

    […] Painting on the Light Table from Teach Preschool – Add the effects of a light table to the finger painting experience. Using wax paper makes for easier clean up, too. […]

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