Watercolor Paint Techniques and Ideas

Watercolor paint techniques and ideas, including watercolor resist, salty watercolors, and other watercolor art projects for kids

Painting Activities for Preschoolers :: 11 Favorites

Great list of the best painting activities for preschoolers!Looking for painting activities for your preschoolers?

Here are 11 of our all-time favorites that are process-oriented and developmentally appropriate yet super fun. Everything from spin painting and puffy paint to watercolor resist and shaving cream marbling.

And, bonus! The results are usually pretty cool, too.

First, a quick note about paints.

We use and love a variety of paints, but our favorites for the preschool age are:

Painting Activities for Preschoolers :: 11 Favorites

… 

Read More »

10 Ways to Have a More Creative Beach Trip :: Ocean Crafts for Kids

10 Ocean Crafts for KidsWe went to Folly Beach for the water and sand and sun, of course, but while there, we found ways to make it a creative week for the family as well with some ocean-inspired arts and crafts here and there.

Some I had planned to do—I brought plaster of Paris for sandcasting, crayons for melted crayon sea shells, and watercolors for painting.

And some were unplanned but wonderful—a shell mandala on the beach, a 2-D sandcastle complete with ramparts and moat, love notes in the sand, the shapes some of our sand cast mementos took.

Here are 10 ways to have a more creative beach trip…

If you have a beach trip coming up, maybe you could make this one a little more creative than usual with some of these fun ideas.

If you’ve done your beach trip for the year,  pin this post to save for next time.

Some of these ideas can even be done at home—no beach necessary!

10 Ocean Crafts for Kids

… 

Read More »

Circle Art :: An Open Ended Art Activity for Kids

Circle Art - Open Ended Art for KidsThis post should probably be subtitled, Going with the Flow.

Because that’s what can, and often does, happen with open ended art activities for kids.

Here’s an example from the other day when we did a group circle art activity, inspired by Peter H. Reynolds’ book, The Dot.

We started with some circle art that we continued to work on and evolve throughout the day in ways that I couldn’t have predicted. We just went with the flow and it was wonderful.

Do you ever have experiences like that? Where you start an art activity even though you have little idea what you’re doing? Or what it will become?

Art can evolve in interesting ways if you let go of preconceived outcomes, let the kids decide how it will proceed, or to let an art material or tool inspire and influence the course of the activity and the finished product.

Here’s how we did this circle art activity

… 

Read More »

Shaving Cream Marbling with Liquid Watercolors

Shaving Cream Marbling with Liquid WatercolorsWe LOVE shaving cream marbling. Love it. Love any marbling, really, but shaving cream marbling is especially fun (it involves shaving cream, after all) as well as beautiful (the colors are just so vibrant).

We’ve done shaving cream marbling so many times over the years, both on our own and with friends, for no special reason and in order to make handmade gifts. We’ve even done it with a variety of paints.

A couple weeks ago, when Maia was sick and sleeping away most of the day, she even requested a shaving cream marbling session during a brief awake and not-too-feverish period.

When I looked back at my old posts on shaving cream marbling, though, I realized that they were way overdue for an update.

So here you go.

Shaving Cream Marbling with Liquid Watercolors

With better photos, added tips for success, and years of experience under our belt…… 

Read More »

7 Watercolor Techniques for Kids :: Experimenting

Watercolor Techniques for Kids - Experimenting with Different TechniquesWe’ve been experimenting lately with different watercolor techniques for kids, adding new twists to our favorite tools and techniques as well as trying out new ideas.

Our experiments include dropping, spreading, adding rubbing alcohol and salt, using the watercolors with water and without, and painting on the light table. I have lots of photos and (super simple) instructions to share with you.

But first, a few notes about art materials:

WATERCOLORS

Liquid watercolor paints are one of our all-time favorite art materials and most of what you will see in this post was done with liquid watercolors.

However, we used watered down food coloring for some watercolor painting and experimenting yesterday and the results were surprisingly hard to distinguish from the liquid watercolors. So if you haven’t made the plunge to order liquid watercolors yet, give the food coloring a try.

I’ve also heard that you can make your own liquid watercolors from old dried-up markers…… 

Read More »

Two Great Easter Art Activities for Kids

2 Easter Art Activities for Kids - Easy and Beautiful!We’ve been doing lots of Easter arts and crafts these past couple of weeks!

Here are two more Easter art activities that we’ve been working on this week:

styrofoam printed Easter eggs

& painted wooden eggs

They are both easy and quick, so you still have time to do them with your kiddos!

Two Easter Art Activities for Kids

1. Painted Wooden Eggs

These painted wooden eggs will long outlast the hard-boiled kind and are so much nicer than plastic eggs. They can be brought out Easter after Easter, given as gifts, and join the play kitchen for some pretend play.

Thanks to Asia from Fun at Home with Kids for inspiring us with her tutorial on DIY watercolor wooden eggs over at Modern Parents Messy Kids! She also has a fun post on games to play with painted eggs…. 

Read More »

Melting Crayons Art on Canvas + Watercolor Resist

Melting Crayons Art on Canvas with WatercolorsWe tried doing melted crayon art on canvas yesterday.

If you saw my Instagram pictures yesterday, you know that I initially planned to try out crayons in the hot glue gun, an idea I saw on Pinterest a while back.

This did not go so well, so we resorted to our standby of putting the objects in question (the canvas panels) into the oven to heat up and then drawing on them with crayons (which melted as they touched the hot surface).

This worked beautifully!

Melting Crayons Art on Canvas

MATERIALS

Kids Shadow Art :: Tracing the Light

Kids Shadow Art - Tracing the Light Daphne and I made shadow art a couple of days ago. Both kids repeated the activity again this morning.

This is such a simple art activity.

Yet so absorbing. And so beautiful.

We simply traced the pattern of shadow and light made by the morning sun streaming through the sheer floral curtains in our dining room window. And then painted our shadow tracings.

You could trace any shadow, by the way—no need for special curtains.*

We’ve done shadow art before by setting up a bouquet of flowers between the sunlight and the paper. You could also set up a lamp as a light source and place your object between the light and the paper. Or go outside and trace your body onto the sidewalk with chalk…. 

Read More »

Welcome Spring with a Stained Glass Spring Art Project for Kids

Welcome Spring with a DiY Stained Glass Spring Art Project for KidsHappy first day of spring!!

Daphne and I made a spring stained glass window to welcome spring in style (and to offer all kinds of good, warm spring ju-ju so that it starts to feel a bit more like spring!). It’s light green, pink, and yellow and especially gorgeous with the morning light streaming through the front of the house!

A Stained Glass Spring Art Project for Kids

MATERIALS

  • Easel paper
  • Oil pastels, light colors if possible (crayons would work okay as well)
  • Liquid watercolor paint in spring colors
  • A multi-paned window to put the stained glass on (or any window)
  • A piece of scrap paper
  • Pencil
  • Vegetable oil

INSTRUCTIONS… 

Read More »

Painting a Map of My Heart :: A Family Valentines Day Art Activity

Map of My Heart Art Activity combined with DIY paint with water hearts

Our family participated in a lovely Valentines Day art activity this morning with each of us painting a map of our hearts. We included images and words for the things and people we love and value.

This is not the first time we’ve done this Map of My Heart painting activity. Maia and I painted our first heart maps three years ago when I came across the activity in Mariah Bruehl’s great book, Playful Learning. But Valentine’s Day seemed like the perfect time to revisit the activity.

Watercolor Heart Activity 2

This time around I added in an idea from another blog friend, Alissa of Creative with Kids. I’ve been wanting to try Alissa’s make-your-own paint with water pages since she first posted about them. I don’t know what took me so long, but I finally did (3 years later!), in combination with the Map of My Heart activity.

Map of My Heart Art Activity combined with DIY paint with water hearts

The two ideas worked wonderfully together!

I cut out large hearts from watercolor paper, squeezed little dots of watercolor paint (from tubes) along one side, let the paint dry, and wrote “Map of My Heart” in small letters across the top.

Map of My Heart Art Activity combined with DIY paint with water hearts

The family woke up to DIY paint-with-water heart maps at their spot at the table, a black pen, a paint brush, and a cup of water. And everyone drew and painted the things that they held near and dear to them on their maps — all before breakfast.

Map of My Heart Art Activity combined with DIY paint with water hearts

Nothing like a little family bonding and reflection time disguised as a Valentines day art activity to make this mama happy.  :)

Map of My Heart Art Activity combined with DIY paint with water hearts

The little dots of dried watercolor paint worked surprisingly well–better than I expected. And the kids loved the idea!

Note: The watercolor tubes I bought were the cheapest possible ones from Michael’s and the paint cracked a bit as it dried. Not a big deal, and the project still worked well, but if you want a paint that doesn’t crack, then maybe buy a mid-priced watercolor tube rather than the bargain basement stuff.

Map of My Heart Art Activity combined with DIY paint with water hearts

We grouped our family heart maps on the side of the fridge above our motley collection of cookbooks for now. I’ll probably migrate them over to the kids art display wall soon, though.

How about you? Did you do any family Valentines day art activities today? Another good spur-of-the-moment one is the interactive heart mandala. And, of course, either the Map of My Heart or the interactive heart mandala can be made any time of the year, not just at Valentine’s Day.