Pointillism art with Q-tips is one of our standby, super-easy-yet-interesting activities that we turn to again and again. I set it up for after school or after nap (back in the day when my kids took naps) or in other in-between times.
We’ve done it with a variety of paints and papers (white on black was especially striking) but not watercolors, so this time around I decided to set up the pointillism activity with liquid watercolors and watercolor paper.
I’m so glad I did!
I love how well it worked and how great the artworks look! Watercolors are perfect for this activity!
Here are some photos, notes, how-to information, and ideas for variations…
Pointillism Art with Q-tips and Watercolors
*If you don’t have liquid watercolors, try making your own with watered down food coloring. Alternately, you could probably do this with watercolor cakes in tins if you added a little extra water to each cake.
And obviously, you can do Q-tip pointillism with other paints, such as tempera, acrylic, Biocolors, etc…
Set up the activity on a tray or mat with a sheet of watercolor paper and your watercolor paints in individual dishes or cups with a Q-tip or cotton swab for each color.
We like these paint cups in a base for liquid watercolor paints, but you can use individual cups, too.
The paper can be used whole or you can cut it into smaller pieces if you like. We found that half and quarter sheets work well with Q-tip pointillism.
Dip a Q-tip in one of the liquid watercolors, then press the tip to the paper.
And again. You can get a number of dots out of one paint dip. When the color is starting to fade, dip the Q-tip in the paint again before pressing it to the paper.
Or use a new Q-tip and a different color of paint.
(The Q-tips make great dots, of course, but they also work well as paint brushes for lines and such.)
Let the artwork dry.
Pointillism Art Ideas to Try
Fish, faces, mandalas, flowers, hearts, trees, scenes…
Make dot-to-dot activity pages for each other. Daphne and I made a number of these for each other and it made me remember when Maia used to LOVE making and receiving these when she was younger.
Try the illusion of color mixing by placing dots of different colors next to each other. For example, place many dots of yellow and blue close to each other, then stand across the room to look at the artwork and see if it looks like green.
Add a second round of dot art on top of the first after it’s dried.
Add pen embellishments to the dot art after it’s dried.
Use a cotton ball (held with tweezers or a clothespin) for larger dots.
Combine dots with painted lines and filled-in areas. The Q-tips can be used as paintbrushes (as younger children are likely to do anyway) to rub the watercolor against the paper.
How about you? Have you tried Q-tip pointillism? What kind of paint did you use?
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