Toothbrush Painting

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Introduction: Toothbrush Painting

Unusual Uses: Bathroom Challenge

First Prize in the
Unusual Uses: Bathroom Challenge




The first ever art project that I can remember was spatter painting leaves on the sidewalk. I was probably about four or five. A very nice handyman, who I must have been harassing mercilessly, set me up with a piece of screen, a toothbrush, and some paint- he showed me how to make leaf pictures. It made a big impression on me, as the paintings actually looked exactly like the leaves- not my usual semi-abstract dogs and horses- I was delighted.

This is a simple instructable- but you could make it any size/color/colors you like.

Step 1: Materials

This is what I used:

1 frame (this one cost $1.00 at a thrift shop)
some screen (this cost $0.89 at hardware store- 2'x1')
any fairly flexable wire- i used 'craft wire'- a staple gun would work great
utility scissors
pliers
gouache (opaque water color) Acrylic paint (thinned out with water) didn't work at all for me- clogged up the holes.  Probably colored inks would do well.
a toothbrush
something to paint
something to paint on (i used card stock)
some pins if you want/need to hold things down

Step 2: Step 1


The frame I bought had some staples and wires to get rid of before starting.  Set the frame over the screen- leave enough screen around the frame to pull it over the back (this screen is about 1 1/2"bigger around).  Cut out the corners of the screen.

Step 3: Step 2


Now wrap the wire onto the frame.  Using several shorter pieces instead of trying to use one long piece is much quicker and easier.  After you have one side secured, take a small scrap of wire, pull the screen tight, and in the center of the opposite side, secure it to the middle of the frame to keep the screen from sliding around.  One of the pictures shows how to join two pieces of wire.

Step 4: Step3


Time to paint!  Arrange whatever you've chosen on your paper or whatever you're using.  If you think it's necessary, pin down unruly leaves or other things.  Get your paint ready- my mix has LOTS of water and a little squeeze of gouache.  In case you missed it- acrylic paint didn't work at all for me- plugs up the holes (this was also watered way down like the watercolor).  Dip the toothbrush into the paint and brush it back and forth on the screen which you hold over your picture.  My example has about 4 or 5 brushloads of paint- you can go as light or dark as you like.  When the paint drys, pull up your leaf or whatever, and there's your picture!

Step 5: Step 4


Because I wanted my picture to look pretty for this instructable, I framed it in the same frame used for the screen.  After removing all the wire and the screen, I used the glass as a guide to cut out the painting.  The old picture and backing in back of the frame with a couple pieces of duck tape to hold it all in.

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20 Comments

An embroidery hoop is a great idea- I think you're on to something here!

I was thinking that an embroidery hoop might be a quick way to secure your screen. You can get them cheap at thrift stores and they come in a variety of sizes. great technique. Thanks for the instructable.

Thanks Whitewitch- it was fun to do!

Good job, interesting technique! I like it!

thanks, creativeman!

Still love it! I came back to vote for you, good luck!

This is Grrrreat! Could be done with any stencil. I'd love to make a portrait using this technique. Lovely. :)

Really great idea for re-using your toothbrush. I remember we did this when we were kids.