Color Swell isn’t only a World Watercolor Month sponsor in July, like Doodlewash, they’re committed to providing art supplies to children in need through the Dreaming Zebra Foundation all year long, by donating a portion of proceeds on every product they sell. Back in May, Color Swell donated a case of kids’ watercolor sets to a non-profit in my area (Springfield Art Gym), and I‘ve been busy coming up with fun art ideas for classroom watercolor sets.
Color Swell’s vibrant, non-toxic colors lend themselves well to both nature sketching and craft use with kids. The colors reactivate as soon as they’re touched with water, so they don’t need to be pre-sprayed. The included brush is a nicely pointed #2 (my best guess) that I used for all of the pictures in this post. You can purchase a case on Amazon. The paper is Canson XL Multi-media available at Walmart and craft stores as well as online.
Ideas for Kids Using Color Swell Watercolor Sets
Shake: Shake or tap paint by holding the brush by the end and gently rapping the ferrule on the end of a pencil or chopstick over the place where you want drips. Let it dry.
Salt: Shake a little salt into damp paint. Let it dry flat for a fun snowflake pattern.
Spatter: Paint watercolor onto a piece of window screen and blow the paint onto the paper.
Stroke: Use brushes or a piece of sponge in a binder clip to paint directly on the paper. From stripes to stars, painting shapes is fun!
Stamp: Brush the color onto stamps, or load stamps in a puddle of paint. Use markers or pens to add detail when the stamp is dry. Make cool textures by stamping scrunched up cling wrap, bubble wrap, or bits of cellulose sponge.
Secret Message! Draw or write in crayon and then paint over it. Let dry.
Additional Ideas for Nature Sketching With Teens and Adults
Teens and adults can enjoy inexpensive watercolors in their journals, too. We created reference cards for adding some color to a journal. In addition to the page decorations shown above for kids, we added some journal-specific ideas.
Banding: Mark off a one inch strip on the side margin. Paint a design, or just let the color flow!
Frames: Use the brush to make lines, dots, or other graphic shapes around the page, a metadata tag, or an important idea.
Boxing: Paint a box around a pen or pencil sketch to make it pop.
Lettering: Use paint to create a title. Try putting your colorful title in the center of the page and writing around it. Use the “Secret Message” technique to create a title with a banner or box.
Modern watercolor: Use simple brush strokes to create leaves and flowers or even geometric designs.
Tinting: Use color to add interest to doodles, stamped images, and sketches.
The Springfield Art Gym loves exercising their creativity with bright color, and is looking forward to adding watercolor workshops. What are some other fun ideas you’ve used for watercolor that would work well with classroom sets? Is there a non-profit in your community that could use your help teaching watercolor techniques? Add your ideas in the comments below!
I’m a science and math educator who has been creating since childhood. I picked up watercolor four years ago and have been on a grand exploration discovering its playful and enigmatic personality. Follow my adventure on Instagram!