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How To Use Ink Daubers With Kids

Bingo daubers filled with India ink are one of our favorite ways to get fun line drawings with elementary-aged children. Ink daubers are an art supply you must try with children.

hand holding small dauber bottle filled with ink and drawing behind.

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What are ink daubers?

Ink daubers are classic bingo daubers filled with diluted India ink. They are awesome because they give you a nice and bold dark line.

hand hold bingo dauber filled with diluted India ink with art projects in the background.

Can young children use them?

Yes as long as you are okay with them using a semi-permanent supply. Even diluted India ink will stain clothes.

We have had success with Kindergarteners using them without a problem. You have to reinforce that you do not squeeze the bottle.

Issues You May Face

Some students will have a hard time with the fact that they can’t erase. We think this is a great way to encourage mistakes and spontaneity. Just give your children a heads-up beforehand so they can mentally prepare.

How To “Start” The Ink Daubers

An adult can squeeze the bottle and draw practice lines on a separate paper. This wets the tip with enough ink for a child to do their project or drawing without really having to squeeze the bottle. 

hand drawing lines on white paper with ink dauber.

Where can I purchase daubers to fill?

Most art stores will have empty bingo dauber bottles. When searching you may want to look for some other ways they may be listed such as:

  • Empty Bingo Dauber Bottle
  • Marker Bottle, Dauber Tip and Cap

Here are a few listings we have found:

How to refill ink daubers?

It can be messy, but you pop the top off and fill it. We like to have a large diluted India ink bottle so we can just pour it right in.

As always, make sure you label whatever you are using so that people know exactly what is in bottles in your home or classroom.

Tips For Using Ink Daubers With Kids

  • Don’t let them squeeze the bottle. 
  • “Start” the ink for them on a separate piece of paper. As we pass them out, we lightly squeeze and make a mark on scrap paper.
  • Show students what will happen if they scrape their hand across the ink. By seeing you ruin or smear the wet ink, they are more likely to be more careful.
  • Keep line drawings simple. If children add too many details, it can become a mess.
  • If students need to add small details, use a Sharpie once the drawings dry.
  • Make sure to dry ink drawings on a flat surface. Some drying racks have a slight tilt, and ink may drip if kids press too hard with the dauber.

Projects That Use Ink Daubers

Large Artworks

Don’t be scared of that bulletin board paper or 18” x 24” paper in your closet. Ink daubers are the perfect way to get kids to drawly largely. 

kids designing a bulletin board paper with markers and ink writing happy birthday.

Simple drawings or large drawings are great for using ink daubers. You can get a nice clean line to start an art project. 


We love creating large self-portraits with kids using bold lines.

3 kid self-portraits on 18 x24" white paper being drawn with ink.

Group Projects

Did someone ask you to make a sign or something for a bulletin board? Draw it quickly with ink and let it dry. Then, let any students add patterns and designs. The thick lines help keep it looking neat without diminishing children’s creativity.

group heart art project drawn in ink first and colored.

In Glow-In-The-Dark Projects

These folk art landscapes were the perfect drawing to try with ink before using neon oil pastels.

folk art art project landscape drawn in ink.

Explore other elementary art lessons for inspiration for your next art project.

Other Ways To Use Ink Daubers

  • To Create Textures or Dots
  • For Abstract Drawings
  • Drawing To Music

Follow us on Pinterest, YouTube, or Flipboard for more free art and craft ideas!

More Unique Art Techniques

Have fun exploring this new material with your children! You will be amazed at the cool ink drawings that they can do within minutes.