5 easy mirror painting ideas

Images and words: Sara Conway

Remember that trick where you paint one butterfly wing, fold the paper and open it up to reveal a perfectly symmetrical picture? Well, we’ve just experimented to give your kids 5 magical mirror paintings. Just look at the pictures to show them what to paint – and then fold and reveal!

You’ll need: paper, paint, paintbrushes


+ Fold the paper first to give your kids a line to paint up to.

+ They need to use lots of paint. It works best to add blobs, dots and/or dashes.

+ They can add paint, fold and open as many times as they like to keep adding more details.

+ Toddlers will love this too. Just get them to do patterns and then fold to see them multiply!

1) Apple tree: green leaves and all of the fruits that grow in between

1) Fold the paper and open it again

2) Your child splats green leaves, red apples and a brown trunk.

3) Fold…

4) Then reveal! How many apples can they count?


2) Beautiful butterfly: you can’t beat this classic way to create matching wings

1. Fold the paper and open it again.
2. Your child splodges colours on one side of the fold in the shape of a wing.
3. Then they fold, press…
4. and open! Now, they can draw on the body.

3) Perfect penguin: this happy chappy is easy to create

1. Fold the paper and open it again.
2. Your child draws dashes of black paint in the shape of half a penguin. Leave the middle white to create the face and tummy.
3. Paint an orange foot and half a triangle beak.
4. Then they fold, press…
5. and open! Now all he needs is googly eyes.

4) Lovely ladybird: perfect for thinking about circles

1. Fold the paper and open it again.
2. Your child splodges red dots to create half a circle.
3. Now the add black spots, legs and antennae.
4. Fold…
5. then reveal their ladybird!

5) Fantastic fish: try a mix of their favourite colours to create this underwater friend

1. Fold the paper and open it again – from the top down this time.
2. Your child adds spots and dots of lots of colours in the shape of half of a fish.
3. Fold…
4. Then reveal! Now they can paint on bubbles and add an eye.