Are you planning a paint night and looking for a few paint party ideas? Or curious as to what a paint night actually is? We’ve got all the answers you need here to get started.
Paint parties, also known as social painting events, have been around since 2007 but have recently taken off. These events give your friends the chance to express their creativity while also enjoying drink and food, and are perfect for a girl’s night out or any budding artist friends.
While you can book a private paint night with a professional paint party studio, the ideas in this post are for those of you wanting a more intimate affair done at home.
But before we get into our list of paint party ideas, here are 7 important tips you need to consider to pull off a successful night.
#1. The paint gear you need
Although it sounds obvious, you will need to provide paint equipment for your party. This includes paint, brushes, canvases, artist paper, and maybe easels. Each friend you invite ideally needs to have in front of them their own small pots of paint, sheets of paper and brushes.
#2. Types of paint
In terms of paint, you should decide for yourself the best paint for your night.
Craft paint is the easiest to get and also the most budget friendly. You should think about numbers of bottles (or tubes) of colours you need to buy. You can then squeeze out the bottles into little pots for each painter to have individually or share with the painter sat next to them.
Watercolour is another option you can use, although some say it’s quite hard to paint with, since the amount of water affects the colour. This is something you will need to decide yourself.
#3. Financial considerations
Unless you already have your paint and equipment, buying everything new can be expensive. This is made even more of a concern when you factor in numbers of people you want to invite.
To be on the safe side, I’d suggest $15-20 per person, then limit your guests numbers to 6-8 friends, and asking everyone to contribute financially. This cost doesn’t include food and drink.
To give you a benchmark: private nights booked at professional studios can charge $35 per person, with the cost going down the more people attend (so, 20 or more painters is $30 per person). Of course, professional studios are also charging for professional art tutors, rental space and their labour time.
If you’re worried about cost, try not to be. The whole point of a paint party is to have a fun time with your friends doing something unusual. If, for example, if you can’t afford for everyone to have their own individual pots of colours, you can present all your paint in bowls within easy reach of all your painters. If you can’t afford a lot of paint, then stick with the primary colours and let your guests make their own colours from that.
I find limitations for paint parties (or any party in fact) to be more a blessing in disguise than a negative. Limitations allow you to think more creatively about what you can do with the resources you have.
#4. Where will you paint?
If you’re running your paint party ideas at home, then you need to designate a space that will be easy to clean up after the event is over.
You should cover any furniture, floors and other important items in dusty sheets. If you’ve got backyard space, you can also set up outside, but make sure your space is well lit so the painters can see what they’re doing.
Ideally your table space needs to be long enough and wide enough to accommodate all the easels and your guests. If you can’t have everyone sat around the same table, get yourself a second table and add it to the first, so people can be sat together.
#5. Guest clothing
When inviting your guests, let them know in advance there is the real chance they will get paint on their clothes. So the dress code for the night should be to wear comfortable clothes that are suitable for mess. Think jeans, t-shirts and anything easy to wash, and in light colours too. Paint nights are perfect excuse for the worst dressed person!
You can provide guests with aprons and spare clothes as well.
#6. Paint party food
This being a party, you should provide everyone with drinks and ideally finger food your painters can snack on between brushstrokes. If your budget is very tight, because you had to buy equipment, you can ask your friends to BYOB – to bring their own beer, wine or soda to enjoy while they paint.
Crisps, peanuts, spring rolls, wings, samosas, cheese and olives, potato wedges, mini sandwiches and mini pizzas are examples of finger foods you can supply.
#7. Party duration
When you’re planning a paint night, you should plan for a full evening, ideally about 2 to 3 hours long maximum. The painting should be fun but it should also be completed within a certain time. You want to give everyone enough time at the end to share their paintings with each other and talk about the ideas that went into their design.
Okay, But What Do You Paint?
Now we’ve covered all the essentials you need for any paint party ideas you’re planning, you need now to decide what you want your guests to paint.
Of course, the sky is the limit on this one. To say “paint anything” is too easy – but it’s also too difficult for your guests, many of whom may never have painted anything before.
The best way is to decide a theme for everyone, which helps give your night some parameters. Alternatively, you can ask everyone to paint their own interpretation of something. You ideally want people to paint something they can talk about with everyone afterwards. Here are some suggestions to try out.
- Paint their current life
- Paint what their job feels like
- Paint what summer feels like
- Paint a garden scene
- Paint their childhood house
- Paint their favourite hobby
- Paint the view from their bedroom window
- Paint a portrait of their parent/relative/loved one
- Paint a scene from their favourite holiday
- Paint an interesting facial expression
- Paint a moonlit night scene
You can also do a more guided session, where you instruct your painters to produce a scene you describe to them. After telling them what to paint, hang these instructions on the wall nearby so everyone can remember what to include.
You can also ask everyone to create a painting together, where each person is responsible for one aspect of it, for example, a restaurant scene that includes diners, servers, food and music; or the evolution of a day (from sunrise to sunset). Then the paintings can be linked up afterwards to form a single tapestry.
Finally, let your painters know that what they paint doesn’t have to be perfect. The whole point of any paint party is for people to have fun painting. Give everyone permission to be imaginative, messy and just be themselves.
When you’re hosting a paint night, you’re giving your friends an unusual way to socialise and relax together. Any paint party ideas you decide don’t have to be costly, not after you’ve considered the 7 tips above. I wish you a great time at your next event. Happy painting!