Tape Resist Canvas Painting: Process Art Invitation

Tape resist painting is all about the process, which is why it appeals to all different ages. I have used this art invitation with my two year old son and also as an art therapist with older adults, some well into their 80s and 90s. Everyone just seems to love tape resist painting. The simplicity and ease of this technique allows for lots of creative freedom! There is no right or wrong way to create this painting which is why I love this type of process art most of all. 

There are many different variations of this tape resist technique that can be used with different materials including crayons, oil pastels, contact paper, washi tape, reusable stickers, essentially anything that you can place down on the canvas or paper and then peel off later.

 My son and I decided to paint a medium-sized canvas for this resist, you can easily use a thick cardstock or paper for this painting. Don’t let not having a canvas stop you from having a go.

I decided that as it was a canvas I would place it on a small desktop easel, when you place the desktop easel onto a child’s height table you instantly create a standing height experience.

Quick Tip

When toddlers and children stand up to paint, it becomes a more dynamic experience for them, this just means that they get to move around while painting, this is important for developing gross motor skills.

In my experience toddlers and children also tend to engage for longer as they are not forced to sit on a chair. The brush strokes also tend to be bigger and bolder which creates a really great overall effect when the painting is done. Having said all that you can easily paint this tape resist on a tabletop.

Paint pots with paint brushes inside

What you will need 

Painter’s tape also known as masking tape.

Acrylic (older children) or washable paint (younger children) in various colours.

Standing easel if you have one.


Level of Engagement

High, the standing height easel gives your little art maker the ability to move around, and more freedom to paint bigger brushstrokes. Standing rather than sitting help to keep them focused for longer.

Mess Level

There is potential for mess in this art invitation, but don’t let that put you off. Check out my blog post on how to minimise the mess of painting with toddlers and younger children for some great tips and encouragement.

Adult Enjoyment

High, I loved watching my little art maker get suck into this painting. Grab a paintbrush and help out.

 How to

Step 1

Tear strips of painters tape at various lengths and stick them onto your canvas in any design you like. Make sure to press the tape down as firmly as possible to prevent the paint from seeping under the tape. If the paint does seep through don’t worry, just think of it as adding to the overall abstract effect.

Quick Tip

You can help younger children by tearing the tape for them and then placing them lightly on the edge of a table for them to peel off and place onto the canvas independently. 

Step 2.

Get painting

Get painting, encourage your child to paint the whole canvas, they can paint over the masking tape. There is no right or wrong way to do this, have some fun and enjoy the process. Don’t forget to paint the side of the canvas.

Step 3.

Once the paint has dried you can peel off the tape, my toddler loved this part! 

Playing around: Some other ideas.

  • If you want to create an even more layered look allow the paint to dry fully. Then apply a second round of masking tape and paint the entire canvas again. The additional layer of paint will create more texture.
  • Use a sharpie or textas to add some details.

This is such a great technique, you can create some really interesting textures and patterns. It can be painted with children of different ages, which is great if you have more than one child with you.

My little art maker was really focused for the duration of the painting experience and was also really excited to come back the next day and paint an additional layer onto the canvas.

Check out our finished piece, I love it, so colourful and vibrant.

The final painting with tape removed

I hope you had as much fun as we did? Let me know what you think?

If you want to try more resist art take a look at this post: How to Create Easy Crayon Resist Art in 4 Simple Steps



About Emma - Founder of Art Play Heart and passionate advocate of getting as many children as possible to enjoy art making in their lives! There is nothing more magnificent than watching a child or anyone for that matter flourish and discover themselves and the world around them through being creative and making art in all its glorious forms.

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