Art & Science for Kids: Watercolors & Oil

by on February 25, 2014

“I’m looking for easy art projects for kids” is a sentiment I hear often from readers. How many times have you wanted to do an art project with the kids but are too frazzled to figure one out on the fly? Well, today I am participating in a new art series with some wonderful creative bloggers to bring you a whole host of easy art projects for kids. We will be exploring different mediums and techniques over the coming months and the common theme is keeping it simple and fun. We want people to be inspired to set up art projects for their kids, not intimidated!

Easy art projects for kids This week’s Art Series  topic is watercolors. If you just think of watercolors as those little pre-made trays with a teensy weensy brush your mind is about to be blown.  The first thing you need to do is erase that association. The second thing to do is order yourself some liquid watercolorsLike right now. The third thing you need to do is explore the possibilities of what watercolors can do! You can start with this project or one of the others in this series. Scroll to the end of this project for a list of inspiring watercolor art projects by the likes of Blog Me Mom (our fabulous curator) Learn Play Imagine, Fun At Home with Kids, Artchoo, Willowday, Housing A Forest, and Meri Cherry Blog. Oh my goodness what great company to be in!

This post contains affiliate links to products I love and recommend to my readers, plus it keeps this little blog o’mine afloat! Thank you!

Easy Art Projects for Kids: Watercolors & Oil


Since we do a lot of science here on Babble Dabble Do our art project for this series has a scientific twist. Use this projects as an introduction to the concept that oil and water don’t mix. Show your child that no matter how hard you try these two liquids will avoid each other at all costs! Oil will either float on top or through the watercolors or, if applied to the paper first, prevent the watercolors from absorbing into the paper.

Easy art projects for kids


  • Liquid Watercolors- These are a small investment up front but are well worth it my opinion. If you want to start with just a few colors, I suggest ordering Red, Blue, and Yellow. Each color will run you a few dollars and are easiest to find online, not all art supply stores carry liquid watercolors.
  • Watercolor Paper
  • Eye Droppers- we use these all the time- you’d be surprised at how fun they are for art making!
  • Cooking Oil
  • Trays or plates
  • Paint containers


  • Step One Mix your liquid watercolors and water in individual containers. Pour cooking oil into one separate container.
  • Step Two Place your watercolor paper in a tray. This project is messy!
  • Step Three Using an eyedropper, drop watercolors on the paper.
  • Step Four Using a different eyedropper drop oil onto the paper and watercolors.
  • Step Five Repeat these steps as desired. Before the art turns into a mess of brown I suggest limiting the number of time you repeat the process. If your kids are excited to do this, have multiple pieces of paper/trays on hand for them to make more art!
  • Step Six Without disturbing the mix too much move to a safe location to dry.
  • Step Seven Let dry for several hours or overnight.

The fun thing about this project is watching how the artwork changes as it dries. The oil punches out the color over time. And in case you are worried about oily art, over the course of a day or two the paper should dry out completely. To hasten the process hang the artwork up to drip dry or move the artwork to newsprint once the watercolors have absorbed into the paper. Now be sure to try the variation on this project below.

Easy art projects for kids Easy art projects for kids


For a wild variation, dip your watercolor paper in water first, and then proceed with the directions above. The extra water will cause the watercolors to flow more easily over the surface of the paper.  The downside is that the colors will be more diluted. Here is Clara’s version:

Easy art projects for kids And Mama’s version….you know I always do these projects myself! C’mon I love making stuff!

Easy art projects for kids
And if you think the oil does’t make much of difference here is a side by side comparison of a version incorporating oil and one with only watercolors (oil to the left, watercolors only to the right):

Easy art projects for kids Easy art projects for kids

Looks Like

Georgia O’Keeffe. Georgia O’Keeffe was one of the first female superstar artists I was ever introduced to. My grandmother adored her work and constantly referred to it. Ms. O’Keeffe was well known for her paintings of flowers and the southwest where she lived and worked. But have you spent time looking at her watercolors? The colors are so vibrant, you won’t think of watercolor as a washed out medium ever again. She will always be a hero of mine and I hope you spend a few moments goggling her watercolor paintings, you won’t be disappointed.

Conclusion & More Projects!

Did you have fun? Adding a little oil to a watercolor painting is an easy art project for kids and way to sneak in a little science. Watching the oil drops move around on the surface of the paintings is a captivating activity in and of itself and the oil really intensifies the color of dried watercolors.

Easy art projects for kids

Now it’s time for you to see seven other watercolor projects that will delight you and your children!

 And don’t miss out on more easy art projects for kids here on Babble Dabble Do! Your child’s inner Georgia O’Keeffe thanks you! Subscribe below or like us on FB.



{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

meri cherry March 1, 2014 at 7:20 pm

back to say this is just so freaking amazing. THE PICS!!!
meri cherry recently posted…Creating with Nature – Beads, Wire and Cactus WoodMy Profile


Ana Dziengel March 2, 2014 at 6:10 am

Thanks Miss Meri!


Debbie March 2, 2014 at 7:28 am

Would this work on regular white construction paper?


Ana Dziengel March 5, 2014 at 3:44 am

Hi Debbie,
I honestly don’t know…..if you try it on other paper let me know! It should work to some degree but watercolor paper is special because it is thick and absorbent.


Patricia March 7, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Very interesting — will have to try this with my grandchildren. Thanks


Melissa @The Chocolate Muffin Tree March 11, 2014 at 8:05 am

This is just Gorgeous! Need to share and try soon. Take care.
Melissa @The Chocolate Muffin Tree recently posted…How to Make an Abstract Kandinsky PaintingMy Profile


Angaleta March 11, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Art meets science! This is gorgeous! We love watercolors in every one of its possibilities, so I think this one will be one of our favourites!
Angaleta recently posted…Veig, veig… amb els meus ullets…My Profile


Ana Dziengel March 25, 2014 at 6:29 am

Yay Angaleta!!!!!


Raelynn March 14, 2014 at 6:29 pm

I love this, so so much! We have a serious obsession with liquid watercolors and eye droppers right now, I can’t wait until Monday to introduce this to the kiddos! Thank you!
Raelynn recently posted…Table Top PrintingMy Profile


Ana Dziengel March 25, 2014 at 6:33 am

So happy this is right up your alley Raelynn!


susana June 6, 2014 at 5:30 am

me gusta mucho este sitio. el problema es que no se ingles. ¿hay posibilidades la traducción al español?


Ana Dziengel June 9, 2014 at 7:13 am

Google has a great translation tool :)


susana June 6, 2014 at 5:31 am

me gusta mucho este sitio. quisiera en español. no se ingles.- por favor español!!!


Lindsay June 27, 2014 at 6:31 am

This is SUCH a cool idea! I’ve added this to our kids’ art summer bucket list!
And the fact that it’s science too is a total bonus.Can’t wait to try it out!
Lindsay – Homespun Sprout


Hilke July 6, 2014 at 8:23 am
Ana Dziengel July 8, 2014 at 7:27 am

Yay Hilke! Loved how it turned out! Thanks so much for sharing the pics!


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: