Art & Creativity

How to Throw a Paint Party

July 31, 2015

How to Throw a Paint Party

Making art with a bunch of people around a table is an experience that I took for granted in school, and something I’ve really missed since graduating college. A community table allows you to appreciate and be inspired by other artists’ techniques, and encourages the cross-fertilization of ideas. While creative isolation is more convenient, and rewarding in itself, coming together to share food, conversations and art is certainly a treat for anyone.

With the gaining popularity of wine & painting businesses/events, community art-making has become more easily accessible, but it’s hard to justify spending the participation fee for such classes as an already established Creative. White canvases and cheap paint offer a very crisp opportunity to learn a new skill, yet there’s something extremely inspiring about raw scraps of wood and sharing all your friends’ favorite supplies — plus, it’s practically free.

So last night Drie (Adrienne) and I celebrated 30 days of creating for #SCcreatejuly (see my post about it here) by hosting a painting party. This is how we did it.

The Invite

Paperless Post is fabulous. You can send pretty, classic invites for free (or choose a paid option), and your guests don’t need to sign up for their service in order to RSVP. You can track who’s opening the invites, what invites got bounced back, and even share photos of the event. Click here to view our invite. Five of the ten artsy women we invited showed up, which we felt turned out to be a perfect sized group.


  • Surfaces to paint
    My dad brought over a bunch of scrap wood and Chris sanded them all with his electric sander in about 5 minutes. I’d recommend having twice as many various surfaces for your guests to choose from, so no one feels like their’s is the worst. We had 10 boards ranging in thickness and size from 6″x10″ to 14″x16″, including an old skateboard deck.
  • Paint
    Acrylic is most friendly for a range of artistic capabilities
  • Rags for each guest
    I tore up an old drop-cloth
  • Brushes
    Make sure each guest has at least two brushes, and perhaps suggest that your guests bring their favorites with them
  • Water jars for each guest
  • Food & drinks
    You could announce a potluck. We provided the appetizers and a couple guests brought bottles of wine to share.
  • Plates, glasses, napkins & utensils
  • Music playlist

The Assignment

Concepts are intimidating for many artists, and not so much for others, so an assignment for the evening helps “level the playing field” and allows your guests to immediately jump into creating. I gave our guests the task of painting the lovely lady to their left. The assignment was broad enough to allow for extreme variation in execution, and the results were simply awesome.

At the end of your evening decide whether the subjects or the artists get to keep the portraits. The artistas brought home their original paintings after our gathering. Next party, monoprinting?

Friends from the night: Century, Christa, Betsy, Megan & Emilie.

How to Throw a Paint Party



  • Reply Crissy August 6, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    Omg! I’ve been wanting to throw a watercolor party so basically a paint party but with watercolor for a while now! You gave me so many ideas so now I feel like I have no excuse than to pick a date, invite my friends and get the supplies! It looks like you guys had a good time! Thanks for sharing 🙂


    • Ursala
      Reply Ursala August 9, 2015 at 7:37 pm

      Nope, you have no excuses 😉 But really, it hardly took any preparation— much easier than a birthday party! So much less of a deal to clean up too.

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