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Autumn painting! Fun things to paint and make during the Autumn half term!

Autumn painting! Fun things to paint and make during the Autumn half term!

For this article you need to get your wellies and warm coats on before the paint brushes come out! Long walks in your nearest park, local wood or even on the beach, should bring you lots of great source material to observe then paint and lots of things to collect and use to paint with! If you have a garden bursting with autumnal colour then even better!

Scavenger hunts with children are a great way of introducing your local environment, connecting with and discussing nature and educating your little ones on many levels. Not only about different kinds of birds, animals, insects, trees and plants but how we can live in harmony with these beautiful creatures and cultivate our open spaces, gardens or window boxes. 

As we lose the early morning sunshine and bright greens of summer, don’t despair, it is slowly being replaced by the ever changing kaleidoscope of hues mother nature provides through Autumn! And we can look forward to our annual spooky festivities at the end of October, Halloween!

What to look for on an Autumn scavenger hunt.

In our Gardens, Parks and Woods

  • Fallen leaves - Next time you go on a bear hunt take your scavenger/foraging bags and collect all the different coloured and different shaped fallen leaves to take home to paint, or use to print! Or, you could use them to create your own leaf tree collage. Check there are no baby Hogglets underneath first! Think about line drawings around the leaves and then try to sponge two or more colours to add texture.

    Autumn Fallen Leaves

    Autumn leaf Pressing
  • Collect fallen small twigs, they become great ink sticks or make your own paint brushes by using masking or duct tape to add some short string/twigs/leaves. Even old bits of sponge tapped onto the end of a stick is a great way of mark-making and creating texture. They are great to stick down for a creative collage too and they make great knobbly legs for your insect collage or sculpture!

    Small fallen twigs

    Home made marking making brushes for kids
  • Collect larger fallen twigs. You can tape crayons onto longer sticks or large chalk to use for big pieces of paper. They are also good for wands which you can paint and decorate with ribbon or paper, or create your own Kurt Schwitters inspired Snake Stick!

    Large fallen twigs
  • Feathers make a great mark-making brush, they are great to print with and are beautiful to draw or paint as a subject matter! Try to guess what bird it came from and make your own bird using the feathers in a collage!

    Autumn feathers
  • Wild berries for a little bit of colour! Wild berries are great for staining your fingers and the paper purple and red. There are lots of natural palettes you can make using nature's ingredients. Crushed dandelions make a great golden yellow, grasses and leaves crushed make a lovely green, mother earth brings browns, golds and black tones. Use directly on your paper or make little jars of inks by pounding the plants and petals and leaves in a pestle and mortar. Add a little water and put all your mushy mixture into an old towel, squeeze out your coloured inks into little jars and use! Or just squish your petals and leaves straight onto the paper! (Please note: not all berries are edible, please use caution when handling wild berries)

    Autumn Flower Petal Painting
  • Pebbles, stones and rocks, are great to paint onto, making your own invented insects or lady bugs and beetles. Or they are just nice to collect and create a still life with.
  • Fir cones, Pine cones, Conkers and Acorns; these are a great subject to draw and paint or they can be used to create little mini sculptures, insects and animals.

    Autumn fur cones
  • Dried stems, seeds and flower heads. Great to paint as a subject matter or dipped in paint they can make unusual mark making tools.

    Our Autuminal scavenger hunt creations using fir cones, twigs, leaves and seed pods.
    Scavenger hunt autumn creations using leaves and twigs

Scavenger Hunt On the Beach

Don't forget to wear gloves and wash your treasures when you get them home just to make sure they are safe to handle!

  • Driftwood  is great for making little sculptures to paint onto, or to draw as a still life. Collect lots of little pieces of driftwood that can be glued onto an old mirror frame to create an unusual and interesting effect. Alternatively they can be joined together to make a little indoor hanging/wind chime or mobile!
  • Seaweed is amazing to paint or draw. Dip it in paint to create some unusual organic marks and rhythmic lines on paper. Or you could glue dry seaweed onto your paper to create hair for your self portrait or a portrait of a family member?

    Seaweed hair
  • Shells are incredibly versatile. They are beautiful to paint and draw, easy to glue onto boxes or mirror frames and great for making made up little sculptures or your own invented creatures.

  • Old rope or nets  are similar to seaweed, they are great to make brushes out of or use for collages or mixed media drawings. They can be split and cut up to be used for tying your little sculptures together.

    Old rope
  • Seascape natural flowers and grasses. Take your sketchbooks and your watercolour pens, pencils and fine liners and draw in situ. Look at the clouds and horizon line, or look down onto the sand and draw the pebbles, shells and crabs! Or look at the local plant life, but try not to disturb growing plants and flowers. Fallen flower heads or grasses can be brought home to use in your artwork.
  • Feathers.  There are lots of feathers on the beach! They make a great mark making brush and are easy to print with. They are also easy to draw or paint as a subject matter! Try to guess what bird it came from and make your own bird using the feathers in a collage!

    Sea scavenger materials

Scavenger hunt Indoors!

For those of you who can’t go out into the woods, or to the beach, the fun doesn’t stop at your front door! Have a good look around your house and you will find lots of things that can be recycled and used for all sorts of creative artwork!

  • Seed and pulse mosaics.  There are lots of small lentils and seeds that can be used for collage work like dried sunflower seeds, flax seed, red lentils, black lentils, and dried beans. Stick the pulses down with PVA glue onto pre-cut cardboard shapes made out of cereal packets, you can create some really creative patterns. Then when they are dry hang them up to decorate your kitchen!
  • String, old rags  are great for making 3D twig people and sculptures and for making brushes.
  • Paper and card. Recycle old cereal boxes and cardboard boxes for all your 2D collages and creative paintings and drawings.
  • Plastic bottles for up-cycling into flowers, rockets or fill with rice for a musical instrument!
  • Pasta (obviously!) to be painted and turned into jewellery or for your creative collages.
  • Old socks and elastic bands, ribbons and scrunched up paper to make wiggly worms or fat caterpillars.
  • Old buttons and pipe cleanersfor collage, jewellery, and tiny sculptures.
Making paint with kids from spices and food!
  1. Cinnamon powder and water makes a great brown colour.
  2. Pound blueberries and water, boiled red cabbage juice, or boiled beetroot juice to make red.
  3. Green can be made out of crushed spinach leaves.
  4. Turmeric powder and water makes a vivid orange colour.
Use a pestle and mortar to pound the berries and leaves and just add water in small amounts. Wrap the crushed berries or petals and leaves in an old t-towel, then squeeze out your inks into little jars. Experimenting with different flower petals, leaves and berries will provide hours of fun. Don’t forget coffee and tea are a great way to stain paper too.
  • Kebab sticks and toothpicks are a great way to experiment in mark-making with inks and can be used to score into paint.
  • Sponges and cotton buds for painting and printmaking! Sponges make great textures and can be used with stencils, and for those tiny little dots and lines, cotton buds are also great!
  • Crisp packets washed and cut open. Some crisp packets have a great reflective surface inside, an environmentally friendly alternative to using expensive aluminium foil! Perfect for cutting and glueing for all those rockets, spaceships and superhero costumes!

A comprehensive and helpful list of craft and art materials to make half term an easy and enjoyable creative experience for everyone!

Now you have a few ideas of what to look for and how you can use them, here are a few very helpful products for the little painters, sculptures and artists in your life. 

Autumn-art products

Brush holders and cases

For your home made brushes we have these little wraps that will keep them all neat and tidy. A brush Holder is also a great idea, keeps brushes in one place whilst working and ensures the brushes don’t end up on the floor!
  • Bamboo Brush Wrap
  • Canvas Brush Roll
  • Plastic Brush Holder
  • Porcelain Brush Holder
  • Mapac Long Black Brush Case
  • Black Mapac Brush Roll
  • Plastic Telescopic Brush Tube
  • Jakar Multi-Purpose Brush Rack
  • Aprons 

    To protect your clothes we have a great natural canvas washable apron or a full length black 100% cotton apron. We even have special wipes for sticky hands!

    Paint pots

    An essential tool for the budding artist, water pots and brush holders. Let's keep those mugs free from paint!

  • Brush Holder Tub With Integrated Palette/Lid
  • Artists’ Brush Tub
  • Jakar Collapsible Pencil Lantern Pot
  • Jakar Non-Spill Paint Pot
  • Faber Castell : Clic & Go Foldable Water Pot & Brush Holder - GREEN
  • Workstations

    Great for the big and little artists in the house. Stick your work to the board, leave it on, then flatten and store when not in use! Or if you prefer the portable table easel for the outdoors or indoors and ease of storage.
  • ART essentials art/craft Workstation
  • Ebro A3 Workstation Table Easel
  • Loxley Antrim Table Easel
  • Daler Rowney Simply - Mini Wooden Table Easel
  • Daler Rowney Simply Box Easel
  • Daler Rowney - Edinburgh Box Table Easel
  • Clips and tape

    To keep your work from moving whilst you create!  All types ofGlue for sticking all types of things, we even have glitter glue!
  • Drawing Board Clips
  • Scotch Masking Tape
  • Anita's Tacky PVA Glue (240ml)
  • Hot Melt Glue Gun
  • Cool Melt Glue Gun
  • Pentel Roll 'n' Glue - Jumbo
  • UHU Glue Stick 21g
  • Glue Stick
  • UHU Glitter Glue Pack
  • UHU Creativ' Cardboard & Craft Paper Glue/Adhesive - 33ml/31g
  • UHU Creativ' Fabrics, Felt & Ribbons Glue/Adhesive - 38ml/40g
  • UHU Creativ' Foam Rubber & Flexible Materials Glue/Adhesive - 38ml/40g


    Old plates make great palettes, however if you don’t have any we have a great range of affordable palettes in all sizes!Palettes

  • ARTdiscount Artist Student Palette - 18 Columns
  • Plastic Rectangular Palette
  • Plastic Combination Palette
  • Plastic Slantwell Palette
  • Oblong Plastic Palette
  • Plastic Oblong Palette with Thumb Grip
  • Large Plastic Kidney Palette with Wells
  • Small Porcelain Daisy Dish
  • Frisk Tear Off Palettes - 9 x 12" - 40 Sheets
  • Best children's paints

    We have a huge selection of paints for children to begin their artistic journey. We also have some starter travel cases and lunch boxes with brushes included so they can paint wherever they go . 
  • Acrylic Paint Set for Artists - 10 x 22mls Tubes
  • Seawhite Tempera Paint Blocks Set of 6
  • Readymix Paint - 600ml
  • Red Watercolour Painting Tin - 12 Block - Including Brush
  • Daler Rowney Simply Acrylic 24 x 12ml set
  • Acrylic Painting Travel Case 11pcs
  • Watercolour Painting Travel Case 11pcs
  • ARTdiscount Acrylic Paint in 500ml - Single Bottles
  • Trial Pack of 6 x ARTdiscount Acrylic Paint in 500ml - Assorted Colours
  • System 3 Acrylic Paint - 500mls
  • ARTdiscount STUDIO Heavy Body Acrylic Paints - 200mls Tubes

  • Brushes and Sponges for small hands

    Art Sponges

  • Jakar Chubby Brush Set
  • Jakar Sponge Brush Pack
  • Royal & Langnickel Professional Artist Sponge Set
  • ARTdiscount SAMPLE Acrylic Brush Set of 5 Brushes
  • ARTdiscount SAMPLE Watercolour Brush Set of 5 Brushes
  • ARTdiscount Pro Watercolour/Gouache Filbert Brush Set of 6

  • Drawing sets/kits for our aspiring young artists

  • Stabilo Woody 3 in 1 Pencil Crayons (Set of 18)
  • Staedtler Coloured Pencil Sets
  • Staedtler Watercolour Pencils - Set of 24
  • Daler Rowney Simply Sketching Colour Wheel Set
  • ART essentials Drawing Art Set - 25 Pieces
  • ART essentials Mixed Media Art Set - 69 Pieces - Clearance Special.
  • ART essentials Sketching Art Set - 25 Pieces

  • Paper and sketchbooks

    There is nothing better than spreading out large pieces of paper and getting your sketchbooks out! We have a great range of paper and sketchbooks perfect for your young creatives!

  • ARTdiscount 100gsm All Media Cartridge Paper - Packs of 250 sheets
  • ARTdiscount 160gsm All-Media Cartridge Paper Packs - (25 Sheets Per Pack)
  • ARTdiscount 160gsm All-Media Cartridge Paper Packs - (25 Sheets Per Pack)
  • ARTdiscount Wire-o Bound Hardback Sketchbook - 50 Sheets
  • Classic A size Fat Pig
  • ARTdiscount Starter Sketchbooks
  • Seawhite All Black Paper Starter Sketchbook
  • NEW Friskids Acrylic Pad 190gsm 10sheets
  • NEW Friskids Drawing Pad - 110gsm - 20sheets
  • NEW Friskids Watercolour Pads - 190gsm - 10sheets
  • NEW Friskids Mixed Media Pad - 150gsm - 20sheets

  • Ink trays and Rollers

    Foam brushes/rollers for rolling paint onto foliage and rubber rollers, for rolling on the back of leaves for that essential leaf print pattern!
  • Loxley Foam Brush Pack - Set of 3
  • Essdee Fabric Lino Printing Kit
  • Essdee Block Printing Kits For Kids
  • Lino Rollers
  • Essdee Professional Ink Roller (Black Handle) - 15cm
  • Essdee Ink Roller 8"
  • Essdee Ink Tray
  • Brian Clegg 300ml Block/Lino Printing Inks

  • Ellie Jakeman
    Ellie Jakeman

    I have had a strong interest in the visual and creative arts since a very early age. After completing an Art and Design Degree and Post graduate studies I have taught Art and Design, Fashion and Textiles, Textile design , Fine Art print and Illustration for over 20 years. Before teaching I was a freelance artist and illustrator and decided 4 years ago I would return to freelance and commissioned work. I have created many domestic and commercial murals for hospitals and hospices. I work part time for ARTdiscount as a content creator and product tester.

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