Watercolor painting over tissue paper collage


I hope everyone had a happy 4th of July weekend. We enjoyed fun cookouts with friends, good food, and sparklers. I also did some sewing for the baby. No pics yet, but I might post later in the week. Today I wanted to post about a fun art project.


When Julie Liddle of Art in Hand mentioned a tissue paper and watercolor painting project she did recently with her classes, I asked if she could send photos and tell me a little more about it.


Here's what she said, "I gave each of the kids a few sheets of tissue paper to tear up into pieces. They put them all in several bowls for sharing. Then I gave them the glue mixture and chubby paintbrushes and explained that what they would be doing would be kind of like gluing and kind of like painting, and I "warned" the moms that many of them might just want to "paint" with the glue mixture for a while because, as we know, just the act of painting with gooey stuff is satisfying in its own right. Eventually, they all start placing tissue pieces on their papers. Some sparingly, some generously, some smoothly, and others all bunched up and in thick layers.


I've done this millions of times before, but for some reason, this was the first year it occurred to me to have them add watercolor painting to the process. Like I mentioned before, it worked best with cotton swabs, but in the photos you have, they used small paintbrushes for adding the paint. In another group, they used foam tipped bottles (bingo bottles) and those worked really well too. Wish I had pictures from all the groups, because so many were GORGEOUS!
Oh, and I guess it's worth mentioning that this works best on good quality paper…we used white sulfite (40 lb) and of course watercolor paper would be ideal, but it's expensive. The sulfite paper holds up quite well though, really."


Aren't these great?! I can't wait to try this with Maia and with the art group…

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  • Reply
    July 6, 2009 at 9:09 am

    First of all, I am so inspired by your blog – I love it!
    My q: How dry does the glue/tissue layer have to be to do the watercolor on top?

  • Reply
    July 6, 2009 at 10:29 am

    LOVE the project! what did you use for your glue mixture?

  • Reply
    Julie Liddle (ART IN HAND)
    July 6, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Yep, it’s what I would call a “wet on VERY wet” technique!

  • Reply
    Julie Liddle (ART IN HAND)
    July 6, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Sorry for not specifying that…just washable white school glue (I used Colorations from Discount School Supply, but Elmer’s would do as well) mixed with water, about 50/50, so it looks sort of like milk.

  • Reply
    Mama King
    July 6, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Gorgeous! When I taught elementary art we did something similar. I had them use cool colors and after they dried we cut them out to make puffy fish.
    I love the addition of watercolor! So bright and vibrant. You always have such wonderful projects!

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    July 6, 2009 at 10:28 am

    Glad you like it! I’m pretty sure they added the watercolor when everything was still pretty wet since I think it was all done in one class. Julie?

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    July 6, 2009 at 11:39 am

    I just realized the finished pieces look like fireworks — beautiful explosions of color! Of course, I have the 4th on my mind…

  • Reply
    July 6, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    These are beautiful. My little 3 year old daughter loves art and experimenting. I need to get some color tissue paper so we can do this soon. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Reply
    July 12, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    thanks for explaining, i was trying to work out whether it was a glue watercolour mix, which i was trying hard to make sense of but the 50:50 glue mix and THEN the watercolours makes perfect sense!

  • Reply
    August 11, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    The colours together on the finished products are amazing! What an interesting activity for kids to experiment with. I’m really enjoying reading your blog Jean. It’s an inspiration to this Brisbane stay-at-home mummy who also enjoys bringing creativity into the home.

  • Reply
    Ellie Sorin
    January 14, 2011 at 1:12 am

    what is the glue mixture????

  • Reply
    October 30, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    Can both the tissue paper gluing and the watercolor be done in the came sitting, or does the tissue paper have to be dry prior to doing watercolor?

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      November 2, 2018 at 8:35 am

      We often do both in the same sitting, Julia, and don’t worry too much about a little glue on our paint brush. That said, you could easily make this a two-step, two-day art activity.

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