tissue transformations preschool activity

Tissue Transformations

Give the ordinary new life with texture and color mixing. Refurbishing objects with tissue strengthens hand-eye coordination and small muscles in little hands and fingers too.


Tearing tissue and painting with glue can be messy, so cover yourself, your child and workspace. For easy cover-up tips, check out our FAQ here.

MATERIALS - click to buy
  1. White glue, 2 to 3 teaspoons. We use Elmer's Multi-Purpose Glue for this activity, which you can find here on Amazon.
  2. Water
  3. Two small containers for your glue mixture. Unbreakable, plastic bowls like these work best.  
  4. Paintbrush, the right size for your little one's hands to use. See our Materials page for paintbrush size information for your preschooler's specific age.
  5. Brightly colored tissue paper, found here. Your kids will enjoy tearing it up during the activity. If you find it’s too hard to tear because it’s flimsy, adults can pre-cut beforehand.
  6. A container or any small object with a relatively smooth surface. We prefer to use recycled objects such as a clean, glass baby food jar, yogurt containers, shoe boxes, plastic soda bottle ...
  1. Skilly Spark: Chat with your child about the objects you have collected for this activity. Take a good at each one. Now work with your child to choose an object. What cries out to them, "I need decoration!" Ask, how do you think you can make it more interesting and beautiful? Let's see how this tissue and colors can change things.
  2. Put your glue in a bowl. Now add a few drops of water, a bit at a time, until the mixture is thin enough to apply with a brush.
  3. Tear the colored tissue into small pieces-- and have fun doing it!
  4. Show your little one how to hold a piece of tissue onto their object and brush it on with the glue. The glue makes the tissue stick to the object, see?
  5. Ask your child to dip the brush in the glue mixture and then add a piece of tissue to their object. If they have difficulty doing so with a brush, they can do this by hand. Note that this method will definitely be messier.  
  6. Your child can cover the object completely, layer the tissue to create new colors, create a picture or even leave space open to see the object’s texture underneath-- it’s up to their creative vision!
  7. Your child's tissue transformation is ready for use when dry to the touch. This will typically take about 3 to 4 hours, depending on your temperature. Note that this time will increase if several layers of tissue have been used.
Keep the fun going
  • Tissue transformed objects make great holiday or any-time gifts. Think vases, penholders, memento boxes.
  • Bring your colorful objects along for pretend play. Which of your child's favorite characters use these special things and how?


+ Inspiration/photo credit goes to Frances Firth's image of Pyramids Of El-Geezeh (From The Southwest) circa 1857. Mr. Firth was among the first travel photographers, allowing folks the wonders of the world right into their living rooms. You can learn more about his photography at the Tate Gallery here and more about Pyramids Of Giza here on Wikipedia.