Watercolor Plastic Wrap Technique

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Plastic Wrap and Watercolor Technique

We had to try this watercolor plastic wrap technique out last night after seeing it on Art Projects for Kids!

It looked like such a fun and rewarding project that even a toddler could do…

…and one that I really wanted to try myself!

Basically the idea is to add watercolor paint to paper (generously!) then press scrunched-up plastic wrap over top and leave it to dry. What happens is that the watercolors pool under the plastic wrap and especially at the edges, and dry there, creating an interesting textured look.

Watercolor Plastic Wrap Technique

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Watercolors and Saran Wrap


Maia splashed, splattered, and dabbed the watercolor paint liberally onto the paper. I encouraged her to make big blocks of color the way the activity was presented, which she did to some extent but also enjoyed (as always) mixing the colors.

Watercolors and Saran Wrap

Next, she added the plastic wrap over the watercolors…

She LOVED wrinkling and adding the saran wrap to the paintings!

Watercolors and Saran Wrap

We left them to dry overnight then peeled off the saran wrap.

Cool, huh?

Watercolors and Saran Wrap

I just think these are great. They look kind of like salt crystals in 2-D form.

I would never have thought to combine saran wrap and watercolor paint, but it’s very effective.

Watercolors and Saran Wrap

I imagine we’ll be doing this watercolor plastic wrap technique again soon. I wonder what else we could use besides saran wrap? I think next time we’ll try a different variation—maybe bubble wrap…

Update: We’ve also done watercolors and saran wrap with the art group and we’ve done leaf prints with this saran wrap technique.

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Plastic Wrap Printing with Watercolors - Fun Art Project for Kids

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  1. says

    Oooooh, so cool. Can’t wait to try this one! I think bubble wrap is a great idea. It would be fun to have both the small bubbles and the larger ones. Maybe tin foil would work…you might get really small crinkly effects. Hmmm.

  2. says

    my wheels are really turning now…but speaking of salt crystals, why not throw them on there too? Imagine the effect the next day when you pull of the saran, AND brush off the salt? I’m definitely going to try this myself, and with my own kids, AND with my students! (love watercolors, can you tell?)

  3. shan says

    love ti i’ve done the bubble wrap and sprinkling salk on the paintings too!
    the salt when it dries is super cool
    you can also just paint the bubble wrap and press paper on it or pain thte paper and press the bubble wrap too!
    looks like fun we made styrofoam flowers this weekend it was fun!

  4. says

    Yeah. The salt sounds fun. We’ve done salty watercolors with glue also–the glue kind of holds on the salt–but not without. One of the kiddos in our group developed his own painting technique–squeezing glue on paper, adding fingerpaints, then salt. They look great, too. We’re going to try in in art group soon. -Jean

  5. Jessica says

    I am a loyal reader of your posts and love the information. I have gained so much insight and so many great ideas. Thanks for all your time and effort that goes into this. I love the brushes your daughter is using in the pictures from this post. What kind of brushes are those and where did you acquire them? Thanks so much.

  6. says

    Jessica, I’m so glad you like my posts and ideas!
    The brushes are Melissa Doug chunky brushes that I bought at a local toy store. I bet they are fairly widely available and could even be purchased over the internet.
    Hope this helps,

  7. katie pedersen says

    I like this idea. If you get enough water color on, you can also have them throw salt at it and it creates crystals. Then with older kids you can draw in the cool things you see.