Watercolors Suitable for Framing

Although I usually encourage you to use what you have around the house for craft project, once in a while it’s fun to capture your child’s artwork on good, acid-free paper that will still look great in 10 or 20 years.  I was in a friend’s house the other day and complimented her on a beautiful, framed painting hanging by the door.  It turns out her 8-year old son was the artist and did the painting at a class at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.  We decided to try the project at home, and I love the results so far.  We’re still working on our paintings and I’ll post what they look like when they’re complete!

For this project, you’ll need watercolor paper, watercolor paints, masking or drafting tape and brushes (the bigger the better.)  I’d recommend visiting a craft store, or an art store like Dick Blick to buy your watercolor paper.  I bought #140 pound cold press watercolor paper, which is medium-weight and textured, but you can choose whatever you want.  I wouldn’t spend more than three or four dollars for a 22×30 inch piece of paper.  (The ones we got were on sale for 99cents.)  You can order paper online at dickblick.com.  I’d also invest in some inexpensive watercolor brushes that are bigger than the ones that come with dry paints.  It will allow your kids to cover more area with paint with less effort.  It’s fun to different shape brushes too and let them experiment with making different brush strokes.  For not much money, you can buy wide brushes with bamboo or wooden handles.   The watercolor paints that come in tubes are more fun to work with than the pancake ones, since they make it easy to get lots of paint and water on your brush.  Once again, don’t buy expensive paints, unless you’re buying them for yourself. 

Tape your paper to a table or the floor with masking or drafting tape.  Then, using a ruler or eyeballing it, divide the paper into six even sections with your tape.  (In this picture, I have four pieces of paper taped next to one another.)


Have your child draw the same, or similar designs on each panel of their painting.  Then, ask them to paint each panel with different colors.  Tell them to experiment with mixing colors.  A large plate works well for mixing paint. Fill up a large container with water.  A big yogurt container or plastic bucket would work well and be sure to have paper towels on hand for blotting and cleaning up. 

Completing their masterpieces may take more than one sitting!  Your child can embellish the paintings with crayons or pastels or chalk to make them look even more interesting.  When they’re finished, peel the tape off and you’ll have a great, colorful work of art. 

As usual, my four-year old did her own thing, which I love.  (I’d definitely recommend doing your own painting alongside your kids.  Why should they have all the fun? I did the one at the top of this post.)

Tags: , ,

One Response to “Watercolors Suitable for Framing”

  1. Rani Says:

    This looks amazing. I can’t wait to try this with my preschool class. I wonder how it will work. . . .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: