How To Host An Epic Paint Fight

I have wanted to have a paint fight for the longest time, and this summer I finally made it happen! It was as amazing as I had hoped it would be. We had so much fun that everyone involved wants to do it again!

I feel that I planned it all out fairly well, but I have also learned from the experience. Here's a guide on how to orchestrate your own paint fight, comprised of what I did and what I will improve on next time.

(Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links at no extra cost to you. All opinions expressed in this article are my own.)


  • Use washable tempera paint
You know, the stuff for kids to use in school. I bought several gallons of it in a set to save money. We had way more than enough paint (about 6 gallons for 8 people)! If you plan to have a big crowd or if you want to make this an annual tradition, go with this big paint set or this one for an even larger group. Or you could buy this smaller paint set for a one time fight with a small group.

Here's a tip: Try mixing a little white paint into each bucket. The colors won't be as bright, but you can stretch the paint out a bit. Plus, you won't have to just throw away that bottle of white.

  • Mix water and paint into buckets
We only used about half a gallon of each color and mixed in equal parts water in large buckets. BUT! You can make the paint go a lot farther if you do 1 part paint to 3 or even 4 parts water. This will make it easier for clean up too.

  • Add dish soap
We didn't think to do this until after our fight, but we will definitely do it next time. When the paint dried on our skin it was very uncomfortable and it took a long time to wash it off. The soap will help with that! 

 August 21, 2020    

This year, we watered down the paint a lot and we added dish soap. The paint washed off so easily! Plus, it went much farther which meant more time for fun. You can easily make a 6 to 8 gallon tempura paint set last for at least 4 paint fights this way.


1. Buckets for mixing paint and water                                                     
2. Plastic or foam pump guns (the watered down paint won't ruin them)
3. Reusable water balloons. They are easy to refill and perfect for repeat paint fights in case you want to make it a tradition. 

4. Paint Twister! Dump paint straight from the bottle onto the mat so it doesn't run everywhere.                                                                            
August 21, 2020  

This time around, I asked guests to bring their own buckets. That way, I only had one to wash after the fun was over. And we didn't use a Twister mat this year, because spraying each other with the pump guns was the most fun. Plus, cleaning the Twister mat was a huge pain.
We also laid out a tarp to catch the paint. The idea was to create a sort of paint slip'n'slide, but by the time we were done with Paint Twister, we weren't in the mood to slide around.

Note: I didn't use water balloons because . . .

A. Filling balloons with paint sounds like too much messy work.

B. Water balloons often just bounce off people and explode on the ground anyway.

C. We would have to pick up the balloon pieces afterwards.

I went with these water fight sponges instead of balloons and they worked great. Plus, they are reusable!


1. As much white as possible. (But I'll bet you already knew that.) Don't expect to keep your clothes afterward. The paint is washable but we found it definitely does not wash out of white clothes.

We wore white T-shirts like these ones and kept our paint stained shirts after.

My husband even wore white shorts and long white socks to make the colors show brightly. 

And next time we host a paint fight, I will get myself these inexpensive white shorts. 

All our white clothes were dyed in a lovely mess of pastel colors after we washed them.

These colorfully stained white T-shirts would make an especially fun keepsake for kids. And these white shorts are perfect for little kids to wear in a summer paint fight. 

2. An old swimsuit or tank top to wear underneath so you can just take your messy clothes off when it's time to clean up.

3. A white bandana, a white hat, or a shower cap to protect your hair. The paint does wash out but it can stain your hair temporarily. Of course, you can use any old hat, but it's more fun to wear white so the colors stand out all over. 

4. Goggles (such as these ones) or safety glasses (like these). You'll want kids' size safety glasses for little ones. Most of us were fine with safety glasses, but some green paint got under my husband's glasses and into his eye. So, we will get goggles for round two. 

August 21, 2020  

If you want a keepsake from your paint fight, get yourself a nice white shirt and wash it after. The colors will be pastel and it looks pretty cool. Also, I think I want to wear a white dress like this one or this one at our next paint fight so I can spin while people spray me with all the colors. Then I will wash it and keep it!

If you want to go all out, trash your wedding dress in a big paint fight!

Related Post:

How To Take Your Little Kids To The Utah Color Festival 

Get yourself some goggles like the ones my sister and cool nephew are sporting. 


  1. Trash bags for paint clothes 
  2. Old towels 
  3. Shampoo 
  4. Dish soap 
  5. Old washcloths 
  6. And lots of moisturizer.

After the fight, everyone walked back to our house from the park and washed off with the hose.

If you have to drive to and from your paint fight location, line your carseats with old towels or trash bags. Be sure to do this BEFORE the paint fight. 

Wearing a swimsuit under your clothes is especially important as it will allow you to remove your messy clothes and avoid getting excessive paint all over your car. 

Store your paint clothes in a trash bag until you get home to wash them. 

You could also bring a second 5 gallon bucket of water to get the worst of the paint off your skin with dish soap before getting into the car. 

Dish soap works the best for getting the paint off. It would have helped a lot if we'd had some old washcloths to scrub with too. 

If the paint doesn't dry out your skin, the dish soap will, so be sure to have some lotion on hand.

Once home, it took me about 30 minutes in the shower to get completely clean. And that was after getting some of it off with the hose. 

You may want to keep your clothes to resuse for another paint fight, a color powder war, or for yardwork.  

So, you want to keep your paint clothes:

First, spray off as much paint as you can with a hose. Then soak them in a bucket or bath tub. Rinse and repeat until most of the paint is removed before putting your clothes in your washing machine. 

Washing the buckets for reuse was one of my least favorite parts of clean up. It doesn't take much scrubbing if you use a decent amount of dishsoap with a high pressure hose. It's just inconvenient. 

Cleaning the Twister mat was the absolute worst. We won't be using one again. And a tarp would make a fun slip'n'slide, but you might hate cleaning it off. 


Whether it's in your yard or at a park, it's easiest to mix the paint, water, and soap on sight. 

I filled a large bucket with water to take with us along with each bottle of paint and empty buckets. 

Then we spread them out in a circle along with the pump guns and sponges. 

A paint fight requires a lot of clean up but not much preparation. Hooray!


We simply counted down from three and then went crazy. A couple people said it was over too soon. But, man, was it wild!

The pump guns made it go by really fast. You could do without, or maybe just ask people to fill them a little at a time.

We didn't have any rules or a winner; we just went crazy. 

But you could assign a color to each person and whichever color you see on other people the most in a certain amount time, say five minutes, would be the winner.

You could have a lot of fun blending colors to get a unique shade for each person.

Unfortunately, I didn't have enough buckets to play with this idea, but maybe next time. White paint will enable you to really get some variety while mixing colors.

Last, but not least, be sure to take a before and after picture for the memories!

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions! 

And if you do host your own paint fight, come back let us know how it goes!

Hi! My name is Kait. Follow this link to learn more about me and my blog


  1. We live in a very warm climate, what do you think if I start to mix and set buckets out a half hour before we start will paint dry out ???

    1. The paint should be fine after 30 minutes, especially if you mix it with water. You can stir in a lot and still have bright colors. Have fun!

  2. How much dawn soap did you use to the bucket?

    1. We didn't measure, but it doesn't take much. We filled 5 gallon buckets about halfway with 1 part paint and between 3 and 4 parts water, then squeezed a bottle of dish soap into it for about three quick seconds and then stirred. Let me know what you do and how it works out!

  3. If I were to use a some canvas’s as blockers do you think the paint would stay on them to where that could be hung in the house later as keepsake/ decor?

    1. That's a great idea! And that could work depending on how much water you use in the paint, if any. The more water mixed in, the more the paint will run down the canvas. I would suggest leaving out dishsoap as well, if you want a keepsake painting.
      And you might consider using only a few colors since a whole rainbow of paints runs the risk of mixing into browns on the canvas. For example, you could use greens, blues, and purples for the paint fight. Or reds, oranges, and yellows so the colors can mix in a pretty way.
      Comment again if you try this and let us all know how it goes!

  4. If I were to do this at a park, how would you clean up the paint? Also is it ok to have a paint fight at a park, far out in the field?

    1. Those are great questions. Thanks for asking.

      We didn't get much paint on the grass so we didn't clean it up, and we didn't have any way of doing so.

      While tempera paint will stain clothes it is water-based should be safe for grass.

      A larger area for the fight will mean less concentration of paint on the grass as well. And adding a lot of water to the paint before the fight will help with this.

      We mainly used pump guns which meant the majority of the paint got on our clothes and not the lawn.

      If you're concerned, I recommened you ask the parks department in your town/city if it is okay to have a paint fight at a park.

      We didn't do so, but we also didn't kill any grass or throw paint near any other patrons.

      I hope this sufficiently answers your questions. I hope it works out and have fun!

  5. Do you think this would be a great idea for the park with no water, invite the community 🧐 how long did the paint fight last?

    1. We didn't have access to water at the park where we went, , but I recommend you carry water to the park to mix into the paint. This will make it go farther and make it easier for people to wash off.

      Since we had no water pumps at our park, we had to walk back to my house, strip down to our swimsuits, and wash off with the hose.

      Some people just laid old towels on the seats in their cars and drove home before cleaning up.

      As far as length of time goes, that depends on how much paint and how many people you will have.

      We had a group of 15 people, 7 five gallon buckets filled to about halfway, and the fight lasted about 15 minutes.

      I hope this helps!


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