Swell Art Ideas for Color Swell Classroom Watercolor Sets

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

Kids Watercolor painting ideas fun techniques

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.

Watercolor Ideas For Kids - wire screen blowing paint

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

Color Swell Educational Art Supplies Watercolor Set And Canson XL Media

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.

Color Swell Educational Art Supplies Watercolor Set Journal Example

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!

A special thank you to Color Swell for supporting The Dreaming Zebra Foundation and for their generous donation to the Springfield Art Gym!

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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!

12 Comments
  1. Sandra Strait 5 months ago

    Thank you, Bekki! I hadn’t heard of this brand and it looks like a great little set.

    • Author
      Bekki Page 5 months ago

      Thanks, Sandra. It isn’t at all chalky or hard to rewet. The brush was SO MUCH BETTER than most children’s sets, too.

  2. Sandra Strait 5 months ago

    I meant to add – this would be a great set for people into Zentangle, that want to add a little color without a lot of muss or fuss.

    • Author
      Bekki Page 5 months ago

      Hmm…we’ll find out! One of the Springfield Art Gym artists is trained in Zendoodles. 😊

  3. Sharon Nolfi 5 months ago

    Great ideas! Thanks.

    • Author
      Bekki Page 5 months ago

      Thanks, Sharon. These setssare a nice match for either kids or casual watercolorists.

  4. Color Swell 5 months ago

    Wow, thank you Bekki this was such an amazing post! Thanks for supporting art education and taking the time to create such a fun watercolor tutorial. Your campground painting makes us want to get outside and get creative!

  5. Author
    Bekki Page 5 months ago

    Thanks, ColorSwell team! ☺️ Some of the sets you donated to the Art Gym helped us meet a requirement for a large grant (providing art supplies children could take home to continue creating). Hopefully they’ll be inspired to get outdoors with their new kits, too.

  6. Jennifer McLean 5 months ago

    what a sweet little set! For children’s watercolors, they’re amazingly bright and as you said, rewet well which makes all the difference!

    • Author
      Bekki Page 5 months ago

      Thanks, Jennifer! I was especially pleased that the purchase of these sets supports children’s art programs.

  7. June Hadaway 5 months ago

    Very nice. Your sponsorship will make for a lot of happy children. Great article.

  8. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 5 months ago

    Bekki, thank you for the review of this brand. I’m unfamiliar with Color Swell but will look into purchasing the brand for art classes I’ll be teaching next school year.

    One more idea to try is lifting color by crushing a small piece of stiff paper and pressing into wet paint. It gives great texture for tree trunks or suggests landscape variation and can be applied in sky areas as well. Like every skill, it takes a bit of practice which I encourage during workshop lessons before beginning an actual project.

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