Have you tried watercolor resist art with oil pastels and liquid watercolors? It’s a simple and lovely art technique for any age and one that we revisit over and over.
I did this art activity with my toddler art class and wanted to share the beautiful results here.
The 2- and 3-year-olds started out with oil pastel drawings on watercolor paper. Then they painted over their drawings.
The oily oil pastels resist the watery liquid watercolor paint (oil and water don’t mix, remember?) so while the paint soaks into the paper, it just beads off the oil pastel lines, swirls, and scribbles.
It’s beautiful! I never get tired of seeing this kind of watercolor resist!
Here are the instructions, tips, a few notes about materials, and some variations to try.
Watercolor Resist Art with Oil Pastels & Liquid Watercolors
Some Notes About Materials
*You can also use crayons for this project, too, but we especially like oil pastels because of how vibrant and smooth they go on without too much pressure. Twistables Slick Sticks are a version of oil pastels great for young kids.
**Any sturdy paper or card stock works fine. We often cut down a big sheet of poster board into smaller pieces to use for watercolor art when we run out of watercolor paper.
***If you don’t have liquid watercolors, you can use watered-down food coloring. Or just use a regular watercolor paint palette.
Draw with the oil pastels on the watercolor paper.
Paint over the oil pastel drawing with liquid watercolor paint. We gave the toddlers each a paintbrush and an individual cup of watered-down liquid watercolor paint to start with. And then invited them to swap or share colors after they explored the first color.
As you can see, I taped sheets of watercolor paper to pieces of cardboard first for our toddler art class. I like to do this (when I have the extra time) for a few reasons:
- The tape creates a nice, white border around the artwork (you remove it after letting the watercolor paint dry). I used artists’ tape (from the art supply store) here but have used masking tape, washi tape, and blue painter’s tape in the past.
- The sturdy backing keeps the paper flat until the wet watercolor paint dries.
- It holds the paper in place while the kids work. I often tape paper directly to the table or a plastic placemat with young kids, to hold the paper in place. The cardboard is simply a more portable way to do that, so better for group situations like this art class.
Finally, let your artwork dry and hang it.
For the toddler art class, we set the artworks (still attached to their cardboard backing) on the floor to one side of the room. The kids each took their own artworks home and, presumably, removed the tape once they were dry.
How about you? Have you tried watercolor resist art with your kids?
Want more ideas for watercolor resist? Here are 6 Watercolor Resist Techniques to Try.
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