Pointillist planet

Pointillism is a technique using dots of color to create images. Challenge your child to paint a planet in dots!

You'll Need

  • Black construction paper
  • Tempera paint (or sponge markers for a faster project with less mess)
  • Cotton swabs


30 minutes

Learning Stages

Pointillism is a technique using dots of color to create images. Vincent Van Gogh’s Self Portrait and The Starry Night are examples of pointillist techniques—Van Gogh’s small brush strokes optically blend colors and create the illusion of a broader color palette.

This art project challenges your child to paint a planet in dots!


Show little artists a picture of Saturn (or any other image) as a reference. Have them draw the image using pencil on black construction paper.

Pointillist painting

Squeeze paint onto a palette or paper plate and set out a clean cotton swab for each color. Explain that while sometimes you blend colors when painting, this time you want the colors to stay as pure as possible—the blending happens when you stand back to observe your work.

Have kids use cotton swabs to make rows of small dots to fill in their planet. They will need to gradually shift colors so that the rows of color start to blend into one another. Make sure they leave a space for the rings that go around the planet. Once they are done filling in their planet, have them do the same with rings around the planet, but use small strokes instead of dots. Remind them to keep their colors pure, using a new cotton swab for each new color. Finally, they can add a few stars around their planet by placing a few white dots around the edges of the page. Voila! Pointillist Planet!