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This project was sort of the low-rent version of something I saw on the Martha Stewart Show. Ok, not sort of. It is low rent. I don’t have a staff of 15 and a craft coordinator and a controlled, childless environment to work in. I’ve just got myself and if you know me, you know that’s a hot mess.

Despite the hiccups we went through in set up, once I got my stuff together and got going, this was lots of fun. If you want to watch Martha’s craft guy set this up and do it and then have it turn out pristine, please click here. Otherwise, follow along below.

NOZZLE NOTE: The Elmer’s glue lid is the perfect ‘nozzle’ for this project. If you are going to use it as your nozzle, you HAVE to get Elmer’s. I got the knock off and the lid didn’t fit any plastic water/soda bottle in this house. Luckily I had a random squeeze bottle it did fit on. And look, you have lots of squeeze bottles in your house. Use whatever you can, just make sure a flow of paint can get through it not to fast, not too slow.

Pendulum Painting Supplies

  • 3 bamboo poles, or any three poles at least 4 feet in length (I ended up using curtain rods. Super classy)
  • String or twine
  • Empty plastic water or soda bottles
  • Lid(s) from Elmer’s glue bottles, or some other top that will allow a steady stream of paint
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun and duct tape (optional)
  • Tempera paint
  • Water
  • Mixing cup
  • Paper clips

1.Make your tri-pod: Lash the three poles you have chosen together at the top to form a tripod. Try weaving the twine through the poles and then around. I made a chain of four large rubber bands, looped one pole, twisted the rubber band, looped another and so on with the third. Then I wrapped the rubber band chain around all three poles and looped it securely on one pole. Set it up where ever you intend to paint to make sure it stands up and won’t slide around.
2. Make your pendulum: cut off the bottom of your plastic bottle. Then use your scissors or a hole punch to make three or four holes around the open end. You can reinforce the holes with tape if you want. Tie a piece of twine through each hole, make sure you leave enough that you can hang it from the top of your tri-pod to one inch above the paper.
3. Make sure your nozzle fits on your bottle. If you are worried about it leaking, hot glue the sucker in place!
4. Hang your pendulum: Measure how long you will need your pendulum to be in order for the nozzle to be about 1 inch from the paper, then tie all three or four pieces of twine or string together in one knot. Attach to the top of your tri-pod with one or more paper clips (loop your paper clips over one of the strings or rubber bands lashing together poles and then loop your tied pendulum strings on the other end). Make sure your paper clip chain is long enough to let the pendulum swing free of the tri-pod.
5. Make your paint: mix equal parts water and Tempera paint together, stirring well from the bottom. Make sure your nozzle is closed, and fill the upside down bottle 3/4 of the way with paint.

6. Make you picture: Lay out your poster board or whatever paper you want under the tri-pod. Pull bottle to the side of the paper, open the nozzle and let the bottle go! 

Grace twisted open the nozzle and then started shouting "Paint is coming out! It's leaking paint! " While I'm shouting back "Let it go, let it GO!" which she promptly did, with such force it slammed into one of the poles, sloshing paint out. After that though, she was more gentle when changing the direction of the pendulum.