Friday, February 4, 2011

Perfect Polka Dots

Ok, so my polka dots really are not perfect, but it just wouldn't be a clever alliteration if I titled it, "Fairly Decent Polka Dots," now would it?

In the world of children's art, I encounter the polka dot often. I love polka dots, but armed with just a paint brush and a canvas, these little circles can be a challenge! I thought I would share some of my favorite polka dotting tools. I am sure there is some fabulously expensive polka dot stencil/ tool thing out there that I am missing out on, but the things I use are very low-tech and you probably have them around the house.

The first item I can't live without is painters tape. I use this when polka dotting to tape off even rows and columns for the dots. Then I break out the "fancy" tools...

For tiny dots like these I just use the tip of a paint brush... not too exciting.

For dots that are a little larger like these... the best tool I have found is this:

Just a plain old #2 pencil. A new eraser is a perfect circle, and is super easy to clean. After I tape off some even rows, the pencil eraser is a quick polka dotter.

For a BIG job like this one that was several square feet of polka dots:

My favorite thing to use are those round circle stickers that you can buy for your garage sale.  You know the stickers... pink = $0.10, Green = $0.50 or whatever (you can actually buy them with the dollar value on them).

I paint the whole area that will be polka dotted in one color (the color that I want the dots to be).  Then I measure even rows and columns with tape and stick these garage sale stickers where I want the dots to end up.   I then paint over the top with a second color that will be the background for the dots.  Once this has dried pretty well, I peel off the stickers and have my polka dots!

"Polka Dot"  is a funny word.  Being the nerdy nerd that I am I looked it up to see what "polka" has to do with "dots"?  The answer... just about nothing.  In the 1840's the Polka dance was so popular that manufacturers started naming all sorts of random things after it.  No joke. There was Polka gauze, polka hats, polka curtain bands, etc.  I guess only the "polka dot" survived the ages.  I wonder what the equivalent of that would be today? 

Well, should you feel the need to polka dot, hopefully now you are fully prepared for the fun. Happy polka dotting!


  1. You mean you don't have tons of polka curtain bands laying around your house? Funny...I do. :)

  2. Thanks for the tip! One thing I have also used is a syringe. I fill it up with paint and lightly squeeze to make the dots. This works when the dots don't have to be the same size.

  3. oooh... I like that idea Erica. I have a number of syringes around here too -- get a new one every time I buy infant Motrin! I use them for some soap details too.