Combining watercolors and oil is a fun way to explore science and art at the same time!
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 watercolors. Like right now. The third thing you need to do is explore the possibilities of what watercolors can do!
“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, I teamed up with some wonderful creative bloggers to bring you a whole host of easy art projects for kids. We are exploring different mediums and techniques with the common theme of keeping art simple and fun. More easy art ideas are listed at the end of this post.
Watercolors and 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 project 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.
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- 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.
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:
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):
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.
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.
Now it’s time for you to see seven other watercolor projects that will delight you and your children!
- Texture on watercolor projects from Blog Me Mom
- Erupting Watercolor Absorption Art from Learn Play Imagine
- Drippy, Splashy Watercolor Process Art from Artchoo
- Spring Watercolor Flower Art for Toddlers from Meri Cherry Blog
- Exploring Absorption with Watercolors on a Texture Board from Fun At Home with Kids
- Pour Painting with Watercolors from Housing a Forest
- Watercolor Stickers from Willowday
More EASY ART IDEAS to try:
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