Liquid watercolors and coffee filters

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This is what we've been doing for the past few weeks–ever since my art supplies arrived from Discount School Supply. Liquid watercolors are the best! We've been painting with them by using droppers to transfer the paint onto coffee filters which soak up the paint beautifully, allow the colors to blend into each other, and can hold lots of liquid without disintigrating. And when I say we, I mean Maia and me as well as any child who has come into our house lately. We also did this in our art class on Tuesday and our Toddler Art Group yesterday.

Unfortunately I didn't get around to taking photos until we ran out of coffee filters half way through art group yesterday. But, Justin here had the bright idea of using paper towels which also work really well.

Here's Thalia's, above.

I sent families home with pipe cleaners so they could make butterflies with the painted coffee filters (just fold over a pipe cleaner, insert the coffee filter and scrunch it up, then twist the pipe cleaners at the top to hold it in place, leaving a "V" for the antenae).

And we also tore up the painted coffee filters and used them in collages. They turn out really well.

And who do I have to thank for these ideas? Julie Liddle of Art in Hand. I interviewed her a while back for the blog (and will be posting it soon) and she mentioned this was one of her students' favorite art activities.

And, it turns out that she just published an article on different ways to use liquid watercolors titled Cool Art for Hot Summer Days. Check it out. If I haven't convinced you you need to buy some liquid watercolors, she will.

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  1. says

    Oh yes! I’d recently read about this craft but skipped doing it because I don’t have coffee filters! But I think I can scrounge up some paper towels . . .

  2. says

    This is a great art project! We did this a month ago at a local animal rehab program they have for children. IT was super easy and fun! Great for a rainy day! Love your blog, stopped over from Simple Thnigs and I plan on taking a peek daily! Stop by sometime!

  3. Tabitha says

    This has been one of my favorite activities to do with my children. I accidentally bought the wrong size filters and didn’t know what to do with them so we painted them. The kids loved it!
    I saved them and we glued them to cardstock and used them as birthday cards.

  4. Ann says

    If you don’t have liquid watercolors yu can use diluted food coloring and eye droppers too. You just need the primary colors since they mix together to make all the colors. Have the kids wear smocks as food coloring doesn’t wash out.
    You can fold a paper towl a few times and tip the corners into the color for a tie dye effect too. It works with a coffeee filter too but it is harder to get corners to dip.

  5. says

    Always fun, and always appealing results! For added fun and flare, try sprinkling some kosher salt next time while the paint is still nice and wet.
    And aren’t those droppers great? They keep the kids engaged forever, AND they really have to THINK to get them to work, but they do get it, and love to see the results when they do!
    ANother great DSS product is the large watercolor mat (it’s like a giant table cloth, absorbent on one side and waterproof on the other). I use them over and over with the liquid watercolors…they end up as beautiful as the paintings themselves…I even use them as table runners at my student art show reception each year!

  6. Polina says

    Oh, I love your idea with coffee filters! My daughter loves drawing… and when she is drawing paint gets stained just everywhere, even on floors and walls and clothes… we definitely need to try out these filters if they are absorbing the paint so good:)