A paint and sip party is a party theme that’s fun for all ages, including adults! Seated around a big table with adult beverages, paint supplies, and a canvas- even introverts can enjoy this fun party idea that takes some of the stress out of post-pandemic social engagements via a shared activity.
Hosting a paint and sip party for adults is fun and easy with my guide. These paint-party tips ideas came through my experience hosting these parties twice a year as official events for adults when I worked for a local community center.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- What a paint and sip party is, (and what it is not!)
- A 6 step guide to hosting a paint and sip party for adults in your home.
- A shopping list for everything you’ll need for a smooth painting party with no snags.
- Finally, some paint and sip party ideas – including a few I guarantee you won’t find in other guides to hosting a paint and sip party.
Keep reading for a guide to hosting your own paint and sip party to create a fun party with memorable DIY party favors!
First, What’s a Sip and Paint Party?
Paint and sip parties are group events, hosted in someone’s home or sometimes an art studio, that involves a group of people painting together, usually painting variations of the same image. Unlike painting parties geared towards kids, paint and sips parties for adults often include sipping on some adult beverages while painting.
A Paint and Sip party is not a competition or an art class, emphasize this during the planning and inviting phase in order to welcome self-conscious painters.
Paint and sip parties are perfect for a post-pandemic get-together. While we’re all readjusting to social gatherings, painting parties give partygoers something to do with their hands and freedom from the conversational pressure that often accompanies parties.
Sometimes the finished paintings are treasured and other times they head straight to the trash bin- both are ok! At a paint and sip party, the emphasis is on enjoying a creative activity together, not on the result.
Virtual Paint and Sip Parties
Paint and sip parties can be hosted in-person or streamed via video. It is even possible to host a virtual paint party if your guests are spread out around the world. (If you go this route, remember everyone will have to purchase their own supplies or you’ll need to send a package of supplies a week or more in advance).
6 Easy Steps to Host a Great Paint and Sip party
Hosting any party can be a challenge, and paint and sip parties require more than the average amount of prep to go smoothly. Often, however, the effort will pay off, as people talk about your paint and sip party for months afterward (my first Bob Ross Paint Party theme was so successful the first time I did it, I was begged to do another later that same year!)
Follow these simple steps to host a paint and sip party for adults to ensure your event is unforgettable.
1. Plan the Party Essentials: When, Where, How
Like any party, a paint party involves a lot of details. It’s important to establish the basic party details like date, time, location, and guest list early on, so you can buy enough supplies for everyone.
You should also select a theme and/or inspiration painting early in the planning stages. This will help you figure out what paint colors to purchase and what supplies you’ll need to have on hand. (More on picking a paint-along theme later!)
2. Invite your guests
What good is a paint and sip party without guest-artists? Whether you choose an e-vite, Facebook event, paper invitation, or even group chat, make sure to give your guests plenty of notice.
HINT: Remind guests to wear clothes they are okay with getting messy; paint doesn’t always stay on the canvas even when only adults are on the guest list.
3. Gather Painting Supplies
Paint and sip parties need two key things: something to paint with and something to sip. We’ll talk about paint supplies a little later.
There are a few options when it comes to sips. Wine is a classic choice that’s always fashionable. Alternately, considering the party vibes rolling by serving hard seltzers. If you’re doing a bridal shower paint and sip party, champagne punch is a great choice. (jump to the painting essentials supply list)
HINT: Trust me on this, USE CUPS WITH LIDS. There’s a reason artists constantly joke about drinking paint-water. It happens all the time. With lids on your drinking cups, though, you can be sure that no one will accidentally gulp down a swig of diluted paint!
4. Set up your party space
You chose a theme. You gathered supplies. Guests are nearly on their way. It’s time to set up the party space!
- First, cover your table(s) with drop cloths or plastic tablecloths.
- Then, set up each artist’s space with a canvas, paintbrushes, a glass of water, a palette, a cup (with lid!) to drink out of, and a few paper towels for spills and drying paint brushes.
- Spread the paint tubes you have purchased out across the center of the table for your artists to fill their palettes with.
Some paint parties allow guests to follow along with an artist painting the same picture. If this is the case, ensure the setup allows every guest to get a good view of the example. If you have a live demonstrator, set up their canvas and space with the same supplies as each place setting. If you are following a video, set up a large screen everyone can see.
Pro tip: It’s a good idea to load up the video and pause it at the beginning, so you don’t have to scramble to find it while your guests wait.
Create a Paint Water Dump/Refill Station
One of the best tips I have for keeping your painting party flowing without too many pauses (and to keep paint out of your kitchen sink until you’re ready for clean-up) is to set up two large 5-gallon buckets in a convenient corner of the party. Fill one with clean water and leave the other empty.
As your guests’ individual water cups get too pigmented to be good for rinsing, they can dump the dirty water in the empty bucket and refill from the clean bucket- easy peasy, super-fast, and much easier to clean up afterward!
5. Prepare Drinks
Once your paint-along setup is ready, you can set up your “sips”. Make your drinks easily accessible to guests. Have cups with lids at the ready- it may not be trendy to drink rose out of a tumbler, but thee are unique circumstances!
If your guest list is large, a great way to ensure everyone can get a sip of what they’d like is to set up a drink bar. With a self-serve bar, guests can choose what they’re sipping and customize it to their own taste. If some drinks will require tools like a corkscrew or bottle opener, have one ready.
Always have a non-alcoholic option available for those who’d prefer not to drink but who may not be comfortable asking for an alternate beverage.
Finally, music is a good option to set the ambiance. If you’ve picked a theme, make it stronger with themed music. A coastal theme could benefit from beach tunes, while a sophisticated theme could involve red wine and Mozart.
Help partygoers relax and enjoy painting by emphasizing that it’s ok to make mistakes or not paint well- making art together- even bad art– is the only point of the party!
6. Paint and sip!
Now it’s time to have fun with your guests! With good planning and set up, you can pour yourself a drink and settle in front of your own canvas to enjoy the party.
Explain to your guests the theme of the paint and sip party, remind them that the goal is to enjoy each other not to create a masterpiece, and explain the water dump/refill station to your guests.
To keep a relaxed vibe, it is especially important to emphasize that the paint and sip party is for fun. It doesn’t matter how the art turns out!
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Adult Paint Party Supply List
Imagine your guests have gathered around, ready to sample wine and create gorgeous masterpieces, when you realize you forgot paintbrushes! Panic! To avoid a party blunder like this, print this paint and sip supply list and take it with you to an art store for help.
- Water cups or jars
- Drinks to sip
- Two large buckets*
- Table coverings*
- Aprons or smocks*
*Notates optional supplies.
The first four items on this list are the paint and sip party supply essentials: paint, brushes, canvases, and water cups or jars.
Best Paint for Paint and Sip Parties
On a budget, you’ll be tempted to buy the cheapest paint available- but I recommend against it. You want your guests to have fun! Cheap paint is watery, transparent, slow to dry, and hard to work with- that’s no fun!
Thankfully, there’s a huge variance in the price range for acrylic paint- from entry-level kids’ paint to expensive heavy-body professional paints. An affordable and perfectly midrange option is Liquitex Basics. Liquitex Basics can be purchased individually by color (great for Bob Ross parties where each episode includes a list of needed colors) or in sets. For small parties of 5 or fewer people, a 48 color set of small liquitex basics tubes is a great choice.
How much Paint to Buy for a Paint and Sip Party
The #1 most common question about paint party supplies is “how much paint should I buy?” While the answer may vary depending on the intricacy of your piece and the size of your canvases, there is a rule of thumb you can follow:
If you are using medium quality paints (Liquitex basics, Golden Open, etc) plan on about 1 oz per person for the most heavily featured colors (like backgrounds, blocking water scenes, sky, etc) and .25 oz of each paint color per person for other colors. So purchasing a standard 4 oz tube of Liquitex Basics paint for each color in a project’s paint color list should be enough for 4-6 people to complete the painting. For larger groups- like 7-12 people- buy a second tube of any prominently featured colors.
If using off-brand craft paint this calculation goes out the window. Cheaper paints have a high water content and less pigment, which means you need to layer coats and use way more paint (and time!) to get the same effect.
For less than 5 guests, simply purchase a set of small tubes of acrylic paint in many colors. This set will eliminate the need for you to identify which colors you need before shopping. (It may also work for 5-8 artists if you purchased very small canvases).
Canvases for Sip and Paint Parties
You may find the number of canvas options overwhelming. While stretched canvases are often what comes to mind for painting, it is actually easier to host a paint party with stiff boards covered with canvas. They’re called canvas boards and come in very reasonably priced group packs on Amazon.
Brushes for Paint Parties
Like paint, paint brushes are not an area where you can buy the cheapest-available item without noticing an effect on the amount of enjoyment the adults have at your paint party. Buying the cheapest brushes available will have a negative impact on the final product. With entry-level paintbrushes that are actually meant for kids, guests may feel discouraged or walk away with a poor impression of an otherwise great party.
Purchase enough brushes at the highest quality you can for each painter to have one of each brush type. You don’t have to buy professional-quality- any tier up from the cheapest will offer a noticeable improvement. On amazon, I recommend this affordable brush bundle for paint parties.
Supplying Palettes for guests
For palettes, where artists can mix paint, you have a choice: you can either purchase paint mixing palettes at a relatively inexpensive price, use paper plates, or cover reusable plates in Glad Press-and-Seal™ for easy cleanup. For a more environmentally friendly sip and paint event, I recommend making you own paint palletes with this DIY paint palette tutorial here!
Optional Paint Party Supplies
Supplies like two large buckets, table coverings, and aprons will help you and your guests stay clean and contain the mess. It is up to you whether or not you want to provide these things.
While it’s always nice to have something to eat at a party, snacks are not necessary for a paint and sip party. Your guests’ hands will be busy creating art! If you want to set out snacks, a cheese and meat spread with nuts, or a veggie platter are great options.
Paint and Sip Party Ideas
While “paint and sip” is a theme in itself, there are many paint and sip ideas that invite creativity and play in an adult-friendly format. Here are some ideas for theme options.
“Masterpieces” A Paint & Sip Party Copying a Famous Work
One popular idea for paint and sip parties is to have guests paint their version of a famous work of art. Countless tutorials on Youtube, like this one demonstrating how to paint Starry Night by Vincent Van gogh, are great place to start with a paint-along.
I will point out that it’s very, very important to watch the video you’ll be using, from start to finish, before hosting your party. The last thing you want is the leader pulling out a supply you don’t have, or completing the painting in a way that only advanced artists would be able to follow and enjoy.
Have a Happy Little Paint Night with Bob Ross
My own introduction to hosting paint and sip nights was with a Joy of Painting paint-along. Bob Ross is the ideal leader for a paint and sip party, as his positive attitude and chill vibe are perfect for a party.
Have your guests follow along a Bob Ross video you preselect. You can find many tutorials for this theme on YouTube. Set up your stream and follow along with your guests. (Be prepared to pause often- Bob moves pretty fast!)
Pass-the-Canvas paint and sip
One challenge when hosting a paint and sip party is that some partygoers will experience anxiety about how their painting will measure up to other guests’ art. One way to circumvent this is to make sure no single painter gets to spend too much time on a single canvas! By setting a timer and passing canvases every minute, 5 minutes, or 10 minutes, you can refocus guests on letting their creativity flow, enjoying time together, and not focusing so much on the end result. This idea can be combined with any of the other paint ideas here.
Paint the Guest of Honor
If your guest of honor has a good sense of humor and your artist-guests can enjoy the unique delight of making truly terrible art, painting the guest of honor can be a hilarious paint and sip party idea. Paint the birthday boy/girl, bride and groom, or another guest of honor. A paint-and-sip party is a great way to celebrate a birthday or bride-to-be and sometimes, the worse the paintings turn out, the more good-natured laughter the party enjoys!
For an adult take on an adult paint and sip party, a bachelorette spin on this party might have some raucous fun by repainting a masterpiece like the Statue of David, or by hiring a live figure study model and enjoying drinks while making (realistically? terrible.) paintings of a model.
(re)Painting Existing Art Canvases
If you’re more comfortable coloring inside the lines, or starting with a finished painting, consider thrifting some cheap paintings from a local resale store or yard sale (need tips on thrift stores? I got ya!).
When your guests arrive, allow guests to choose their artwork, then add new colors over the existing picture. If you feel especially creative, provide fun embellishments like rhinestones, glitter, or feathers for your guests to use. See my guide to repainting thrift store paintings in paint by number style.
Paint your City Skyline
City skyline paint parties are a popular idea because just about every level of artist can leave the party with a painting they can be proud of: simple shades of blue sky or sunsets meet black buildings in an iconic skyline- it’s an easy crowd-pleaser.
Are you a huge fan of New York? Does your town often get blanketed in beautiful snow? Do you dream of sand and beach waves? Pick your passion and create a theme around it. Strengthen your party theme by serving drinks and food that match your theme.
If you’re up for a challenge, have your guests paint a still life or figure-study. Set out a plate of pretty fruit, pose your dog, or use the party as an excuse to buy a truly massive flower arrangement. This method will be more difficult than the traditional paint-along, but it can make for lots of fun and a few laughs- especially if your guests can embrace translating the still life into silly, fun, or even abstract representations.
More Paint-along theme ideas:
- Painting with stencils
- Baby shower – painting baby trinkets, toys, or clothes
- Birthday themed – painting presents, cake, or the birthday adult
- Seasonal (spring, summer, fall, or winter)
- Beach getaway
- Monet and chardonnay
- Still life with flowers or food
- Figure-study of a person or pet
Ending and Clean Up after your Paint and Sip Party
Your party was a hit, your guests were pleased with their paintings, and everyone will talk about the event for weeks. Now it’s time to clean up. Remember, the paintings will still be wet when you’re done. Blast the canvases with hot air for a quicker dry, or have your guests return later to pick them up.
Here’s an easy step-by-step for cleaning up after the party. Typically, I ask my guests to take 1 minute to do #1 and #2 for their own station- it speeds up cleanup a lot!
- Remove all paintbrushes and place them in clean water, to be washed ASAP.
- Remove all liquids and dump them into the 5-gallon buckets.
- Make sure all art (that the artists want to keep) is removed to a separate drying area.
- Remove paint, pallets, and any other reusable items. Place them in a waterproof bag overnight (in case there is wet paint on anything)
- One-piece table coverings make cleanup very easy. Gether the corners of your table cloth and carefully roll/bundle the tablecloth and transfer it to a trash bag.
- Once everything is clean, start prepping for your next paint and sip party!
A paint and sip party is a crowd pleasing party idea for adults. With this guide to what a paint and sip party is, (and what it is not!), my 6 step guide to hosting and this simple one-stop shopping list, you can host a paint and sip party in your home that will keep your guests recalling it fondly for years.
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