How to Throw a Paint Party (with Checklist and Videos)

Canvas paint parties are a great way to get together with friends and family and create something beautiful. In this article you'll be provided with:

  • Tips for planning ahead
  • A 6 Painting Demonstration Videos you can use to paint along with me.
  • AND a link to a great date night painting session from the comfort of your own home.

Note: This article contains Amazon affiliate links, which means if you purchase products mentioned in this article I receive a small tip from Amazon as thanks for providing you good information.

Planning Ahead

how to throw a canvas paint party for paint and sips

Whether you want a girls' night, a sorority night, a birthday party, or a family night a paint party is a creative way to create an interactive session to bring out the inner artist and bond with your friends. When it comes to throwing a canvas paint party, planning ahead is key. You'll need to:

  • Select a date and time.
  • It's a good idea, especially if this is your first time, to pick a date at least a month out to give you time to order the supplies you may need and so you can practice the painting.
  • Create a guest list.
  • Decide on how the instruction is going to be provided.
  • You've got options! You can DIY it and provide step-by-step instructions yourself or you can bring in a local talented artist, or use a video to demonstrate.
  • Select a venue.
  • You'll want to select a location that has enough room for your guest list.
  • If you DIY the paint party, I've found that if I have a 6-foot table, I can comfortably fit 3 people on one side and 2 people on the other side. With them sitting across from each other and next to each other it encourages conversation and sharing of supplies.
  • If you hire a local artist, they may have a studio space that will work well.
  • Decide what you want to paint.
  • I will guarantee the first thing people will ask is "what are we going to paint?". So, once the painting subject is decided it is fun to build a theme around that subject which makes it so much easier to also design the invitations. 

theme ideas for a paint and sip night

  • For example: at one paint party I threw we painted Chocolate Macarons, so the theme was around different types of chocolates. Everyone brought different types of chocolates and the corresponding recipes and we made amazing smores (that's when I discovered the ultimate combo for me - Reese's Peanut Buttercups on Ritz Crackers - OMG soooo yummy)! It was so much fun and the kids absolutely LOVED the leftovers. :)
  • Decide on a theme (optional).
  • Sometimes the painting's subject selection or the time of year will just naturally lead to a theme. And the painting/theme can help guide all of the food and setup.

Featured Painting Selection

As I mentioned above you'll want to select what you'll plan to paint at the painting party before the party. When you pick the subject you'll want to pick something that is doable for all skill levels. At the end of this article, I'll provide you with some links to several video tutorials that I've done in the past that are cute and work for all skill levels. But first, here are a few more logistics to work out so that paint night will go super smooth:

Practice the painting:

If you choose to host and give the instruction yourself, you'll want to practice the painting. BTW- fun fact, when Bob Ross first started providing the video demonstrations on TV, he practiced the piece first and had the practice piece off camera so he could refer to that piece as he went along providing his instruction! You'll be playing Bob Ross at the party!

So, when you practice painting the piece this will do several things for you. The practice piece will:

  1. Then become the demo piece.
  2. Help you review different ways to approach the painting.
  3. Help you determine the acrylic paints you need to have more or less of.
  4. Help you determine the best setup for the materials.
  5. Help you determine the amount of time needed for the party (figure 30 minutes of socializing before the event and for people coming a little late to the party).

Food and Drinks

food and drinks at a paint and sip

A majority of the time when I host an event, I'll have a few food items to share, like a plate of cheese, salami, olives and crackers, and a snack or two that are related to the theme. In addition, I'll ask the guests to bring food and drinks of their choice to share for several reasons:

  1. They may have special dietary needs.
  2. They may have allergies.
  3. It provides a variety of options.
  4. It reduces the cost of hosting the party.
  5. It reduces the stress of preparing everything.
  6. They may want an alcoholic beverage.

I prefer to serve non-alcoholic beverages but these painting parties are synonymous with wine for the "paint and sip classes" so while I don't encourage it if the party-goers want to drink I'll suggest they bring their own wine or a bottle to share.

Ready to Send Invitations!

Once you have the date, time, guest list, venue, and the idea of what you want to paint you can start inviting people! To help with the invitations, its a great idea to use an online service to send the invitations and keep track of who is doing what (like bringing food, extra friends, etc., ) Here are two online services that I've used that are fantastic to help you get the word out about special events like your paint party.

The two online services I mention above, Signup Genius and Perfect Potluck, can be used to also assist with food options (so you don't end up with 3 bowls of watermelon to 10 bags of tortilla chips :) ).

Also, be sure to include an RSVP due date so that you can ensure you'll have enough canvases.


Painting Supplies To Have On Hand

Here is a list of items you'll want to have on hand (again, be sure to practice the painting to ensure that you have everything you may need in addition to the below):

  • Plastic covering to cover any of your tables (protect from spills and paint).
  • Paper plates for food and for paint.
  • Each paint station has 2 water cups, one for clean water and one for dirty water (although not required to have 2 cups, I find it helpful for folks to initially wash their brush in the dirty water cup, then double rinse in the clean water to keep the colors crisp).
  • A pitcher of clean water to replace old water.
  • A couple of rolls of paper towels for the assistant to give out.
  • Before the painting session, place several sheets of paper towels at each painting station.
  • I've found over the years, that people are pretty wasteful if they see an unlimited supply of paper towels, so if you pre-place and keep the roll to the side, they use what they have.
  • Mini Easels - optional.
    • I've found over the years that many people are not comfortable with easels, so if you don't have them don't sweat it. Here is a link to the mini easels I purchased and have used for painting parties, group instruction, and at art shows.
  • Acrylic paint - Choose your colors. Decide what colors you want to use and set them up in little cups or bowls or paper plates.
  • As an FYI, like the paper towels, you'll want to have the assistant provide the paint as it is needed for a couple of reasons: 1. Acrylic paint can dry pretty fast and 2. people tend to put too much paint on their plates and waste the paint.
  • Paint brushes - you'll want to provide a variety of paint brush sizes, but FYI - by the cheap brushes in the big packs. Here is a link to the paintbrushes I bought. The reason you'll want the cheap ones is people generally do not know how to care for brushes. 
  • Blank Canvas - the canvas selection is up to you and your budget. I've found that purchasing in bulk is the way to go, and I usually get the least expensive standard cotton canvas, like these. As soon as you've put together your invitation list and have a general idea of the number of guests, pre-order the canvases in the size you need (note these are not high-quality canvases, but they are inexpensive and you can order them on Amazon).
  • Hair dryer - sometimes people may paint a little thicker than needed and in order to move to the next step you may need them to take the hair dryer to dry the painting faster.

Day of The Event

The day of the event is the time to get the painting station ready! If you are giving the instruction, you may want to enlist the help of an assistant to keep an eye on the art supplies and the water or acrylic paint refills so that you and the group have a great time (my daughter is usually the one that loves to help with this - especially because of cupcakes :) )

what to do the day of your paint and sip party - paint and sip prep

Remember the main goal of this event is for everyone, including you to have a great time!  Also, don't forget to take pictures, or have your assistant take pictures.  So often we get lost in the moment we forget to appreciate it, your pictures and the paintings the party-goers create will bring smiles for a very long time!

6 DIY Paint Party Video Tutorial Examples

Here are several video tutorials that I've done in the past that you are welcome to showcase at your own paint party.

How to Paint a Black Panther

How to Paint a French Macaroon

How to Paint a Stack of Pancakes

How to Paint an Ice cream Sundae

How to Paint a Mason Jar with Gerber Daisies

How to Paint a Cupcake



If you're looking for a fun and creative way to spend some time with your loved ones, consider throwing a paint party! Painting can be a great way to relax and de-stress, not to mention the final product is always beautiful.

I've provided you with all the tips you need to plan ahead, as well as 6 videos that will help get you started. And if you're feeling extra adventurous, I've even included a link to an amazing date night painting session from the comfort of your own home.

So what are you waiting for? Download this article and checklist or pin it for later and get planning!


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 How to throw a paint party for your do it yourself paint and sip

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Stephanie Weaver Fine Art Artist

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