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How to Paint Colorful Hearts Inspired by Jim Dine

How to Paint Colorful Hearts Inspired by Jim Dine

These colorful hearts for grades 1 and up are inspired by American artist, Jim Dine (1935 – ). They make a fun, framable project for Valentine’s Day or ANY day you want to share some love!

You can see my demo (above) and a few of my 1st grade artists’ paintings below. Yes, those paintings below are by 1st graders!

Keys to success

There are two keys to success with these colorful hearts that may surprise you. Both are things not to give your students for this project. The first key to success is this: don’t give them any water!

Instead of washing their brush to change colors, have students just wipe the paint from their brush on some newspaper. A small amount of residual color will remain in the brush when they pick up their next color. This results in an interesting variety of lovely, rich hues.

The second key to success is to not give them any black paint. This will keep the colors bright and cheery. Otherwise, it’s too easy to overdo it with the black. Trust me on this!

You will need:


  1. Fold paper in half once, both directions, to yield 4 square sections.
  2. Have students draw a large heart shape in each square.
  3. Paint one complete section at a time, painting the heart first and then the space around it. Have kids mix and pick up new colors each time they need more paint. Try not to use any colors straight from the bottle without mixing.
  4. Students can wipe the color from their brush onto their newspaper as needed before picking up a new color. They won’t need to do this every time, but it can be helpful when switching to a lighter color.
  5. After each section is painted, make sure the heart still shows up and hasn’t gotten “lost”. If necessary, redefine the heart by adding some colors that set it apart from the background.
  6. Just as each heart needs to show up against its background, each section’s edges should be set apart from the section next to it.

To give your students a better understanding of how to mix the colors they want, check out my Create Your Own Color Wheel resource in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

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