5 places in the Western suburbs to paint the town red

Kids love being creative, but parents may not always have the right materials or space to turn their mini Picassos loose at home. Fortunately, there are several great places in the Western suburbs of Chicago where kids can unleash their inner artists and paint the town, or at least canvas or pottery, red.

Pinot’s Palette “Little Brushes” classes


Credit: Pinot’s Palette

The best way to beat the winter blahs may be heading out for a day of color, creativity and fun as a family. “We are going to give you the tools to accomplish what you want to do. All you have to do is bring in the inspiration,” says Cody Brickner, Manager at Color Me Mine.

Painting pottery

Are your kids free spirits who would rather follow their own muse instead of a teacher? Pottery painting may a good option, where there’s more leeway with choice of item, color, pattern, etc. Pieces need to be fired in a kiln, which typically takes around four days for your piece to be complete. Practical kids who want to make something they can use, like a mug or plate, may appreciate this option.

Color Me Mine

Locations in Naperville, Burr Ridge and Geneva (as well as Glenview, Crystal Lake, Orland Park and Vernon Hills)

Kids will have a blast painting ceramics at Color Me Mine, and chances are Brickner and his staff will probably teach them a fair amount along the way, too.

Brickner says that there is no minimum age for a child to paint, explaining that art is all a matter of perspective and noting that they’ve had babies in doing footprints. “When you come in, you are treated like family, whether you’re two years old or 100,” he says. The younger crowd is well represented at Color Me Mine, accounting for 80 percent of their business.

He recommends giving kids as much autonomy as possible to encourage creativity. “With the ability to pick out their item and colors and such, parents are amazed at what they can accomplish,” he says. Guests pay a paint fee as well as the price of the item they select.

“When parents see a child’s accomplishments, they also see the pride the child has in it and that’s the biggest thing,” says Brickner.

Pottery Bayou

210 S. Washington St., Naperville

This paint your own pottery business recently relocated to a sunny new location in the heart of downtown Naperville and offers more than 100 pottery pieces for painting. Painters can do everything freehand or take advantage of the creativity center, which includes stencils, stamps, sponges and ideas books for inspiration.

Painting on canvas

Painting on canvas is great for kids who appreciate some specific instruction or who like the instant gratification of walking out with their finished piece. I love that these places offer lots of different subjects that appeal to both genders and all interests. This is also a good option for your ice cream lover, as you’ll see below.

Kim Roth Art Studio

1839 Wehrli Rd., Naperville

For those kids ages nine and older who are learning about art and history, the Monthly Artist series at Kim Roth Art Studio is a great option. Each class focuses on one famous artist, his/her style and place in history. Students are also guided in creating a painting inspired by the featured artist. Adults are welcome, too.

“My students love art!” says Kim Roth. “I want them to be inspired by class and excited about learning. I love watching them grow in confidence as their skills progress.”

Over Spring Break, she will offer a few Painting Parties, and she also offers after school classes as well as classes for homeschoolers and camps in the summer. Speaking of summer, the only thing better than a fun painting class is one that includes ice cream. Her Brushes and Blizzards sessions, which combine a painting session with a tasty Blizzard from the nearby Dairy Queen, are very popular in the warmer months.

Pinot’s Palette

175 W. Jackson, Suite 123, Naperville

With after school painting parties, family fun classes and kids sessions on days off of school, Pinot’s Palette has lots of opportunities for your kid to create a masterpiece and those classes are aimed at younger painters. The kid-specific classes are different from their regular public classes, which are open to those 13 and up with adult.

Parents have the option of dropping off their children for a session, but adults are also welcome to stay and join in on the fun. The paintings are easy enough for kids but still interesting for adults, too.

Sessions typically last two hours. There are also open studios times when children are welcome and guests can choose from self-guided 8×8 paintings for $10.

Check the website for the schedule and specific painting options.

Bottle and Bottega

498 Crescent Blvd. Glen Ellyn

With a name like Bottle and Bottega, you’d presume that this is an adult painting location, and you’d be right that most of the time attendance is restricted to adults 18 and over. There are some events, however, when kids are welcome.

Check out the Crayon Melting parties, which are all-ages events. They can also host parties for kids, which they call “Juice” Bottle & Bottega parties. Find party info and monthly schedule here.

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