Category Archives: Art for All ages

Up-Cycled Earth Day Art Project

I created these easy painted earth pieces after a very nice person gave me a stack of pie-plate lids to use in my art studio. I think she had thought I could use them as paint palettes for students, but I ended up getting an idea perfect for Earth day! Since the lids are clear, they are a great surface to combine two of my favorite materials: paint pens and paint! Earth Day is a day to celebrate our beautiful earth and remember to be good stewards of it. I also love FREE or up-cycled art materials!

Pie Plate lids rescued from the recycle bin

These are so easy to make, and once you make one you’ll probably get ideas for more. It’s a very simple and straitght foward process: you draw you design on the inside of the lid, then flip it over and fill the shapes in with paint! If you don’t have a pie-plate lid, any clear plastic from your recycle bin will work. Just remember- if you cut a shape out the plastic may be sharp enough to cut your hands.

Supply list:

  1. Sharpie Paint Pens (or regular sharpies will work too!)
  2. Acrylic Paints- I used Liquitex Basics and Blick Studio Acrylics
  3. Scissors
  4. Paper Towels
  5. Paint Brush
  6. Pie-Plate Lid or other clear plastic you rescue from the recycle bin

Here are the steps I followed making these with a few of my students:

1. Flip the lid and make your drawing with your paint pen (or regular black sharpie will work too) on the inside. This makes the painting steps much easier.
Make your drawing on the inside of the lid
2. Go over all your lines again to thicken them- that makes it easier to stay within the lines when you paint on the back.
3. Flip and paint the shapes in on the back!

This will take a few coats, depending on how transparent or opaque you like it. I painted 2 coats of each of my colors because I like it opaque. If you want to display your piece in a window, you’ll want it very transparent.

I used two colors for each the blues and the greens to give each space more depths. I used: Aqua Green, Pthalo Green, Cerulean and Ultramarine. I recommend a heavier body acrylic for this as the craft style paints will require multiple coats.

4. Cut out, Flip and refine/add any more lines or designs with your paint pens!

When the paints are dry, you can cut the rim off the pie plate lid. Careful because the plastic might try to crack as you cut. You can leave the rim on if you like the look, of course!

Have fun and make your own designs!

This student added a meteor shower to her earth.
I added a heart to this one when I drew the lines in step 1.

If you have a pie-plate lid (or other surface) with ridges or other patterns, just go with it! See what you can come up with!

This pie-plate lid had ridges in it- I had a lot of fun making this mandala-esc design.
Since you’re painting on the reverse side, you don’t have to be super careful staying in the lines.

Watercolor Conversation Hearts Step by Step

The iconic Valentine’s Day Candies- in art form! Enjoy these step by step instructions to create a sweet treat for yourself or your valentine.

Materials needed for this project:

(Post contains partnership links which help me remain a full-time artist and do not effect your cost at all)

Tip: Get started by gathering all your supplies and setting up a little workspace. This will help you have a more relaxing time while creating!

Step 1: Fold one sheet in half and draw half a heart on the fold. Conversation hearts are wide with rounded edges. Look at a picture for inspiration!

Step 2: Cut out the heart and unfold it. This is your stencil or template piece.

Step 3: Trace the heart on your other sheet of paper. Go towards the corner so you have plenty of room to draw more hearts on your sheet.

Step 4: After you trace the first heart, slide your template slightly to the right, keeping it lined up on the top and bottom. About 1/4″ is enough to move it to the side.

Step 5: Trace only the right-hand sides of the heart to create the 3-D effect. Don’t forget the top of the heart that peeks out.

Step 6: Connect your lines and refine/erase extra marks so you have a drawing of a 3-D heart.

Step 7: Repeat to fill up your page with as many 3-D hearts as you can!

Step 8: Outline your pencil lines with a Micron Pen. I used size 08. Then erase all your pencil marks carefully.

Step 9: Paint your hearts using a light wash of pastel shades of watercolor. Fill in all parts of the heart.

Step 10: Paint in the dimensional sides of the heart with an Arteza Brush Pen of the same color as your wash. This will act as shading and make your heart look dimensional. Paint the dimensional shape on the right-hand side and the park peeking out at the top.

If you do not have the brush pens, you can use a water based marker (like Crayola markers) or paint another darker layer of your watercolors paints.

Step 11: I used my Prismacolor Dual Tip Markers to add the wording. Look up ideas on the web, or make up your own. Conversation hearts have all caps, blocky text. Use wording you see, or make up your own message. You can use your Crayola markers if you do not have these same ones. ( I recommend using a marker for this step, as fine lettering with a brush takes a lot of practice for even a seasoned artist!) Use the same color as the heart!

Step 12: Outline the hearts with black and cut them out!

Repeat and make as many as you need to spread a sweet valentine treat around your world as needed. These would make a cute banner for a classroom party or home decoration. Have fun making personalized messages for your friends and family.

10 Watercolor Projects for all Ages and Stages

The top 10 watercolor projects from my studio- student favorites for all ages that adults and seasoned watercolor artist can also enjoy. These are really fun to do with a young artist too.

Watercolors are a student favorite in my studio, and a favorite of mine to be honest. I love their fluid freedom, vibrant colors, ease of experimentation, and–let’s be honest– the easy set up an clean up. Using basic household items like table salt and paper towels, you have nearly endless exploration possibilities.

(This post contains product links that are partnership links. This helps me continue to be a full time artist and does not effect your price at all.)

In no particular order, here are the top ten watercolor projects that keep me and my students endlessly busy in the studio:

1. Watercolor Rain Drops

I’ve done this art with kids as young as 5 because it’s easy, fun, and really draws you into the joy of creating. If you only had time or energy to do ONE of these projects, pick this one! This project is taken from Paint Lab for Kids by Stephanie Corfee.

To create the drops, you need to set your paper up vertically- I tape the sheet to a piece of cardboard and put it on an easel, but you could prop it up however it works. TIP: put a paper towel under the bottom edge to catch drips that run off the page. Create the drops by using a round brush with watery paint- tap at the top and watch them drip down! Have fun mixing two or more colors in one drip and watch them change as they drip down. The dripping action is “Super satisfying!” as one of my students says. After the watercolors are dry, we have painted clouds using acrylic paints over the top.

Variation idea: instead of creating rain drops, rotate your art piece a quarter turn on your easel at a time. This leads to a drip piece that starts to resemble a map or pipes. Limiting your colors to choices that blend well together to avoid making ‘mud’ colors.

3. Dream Room Illustrations

One of my favorites to do with a student. We created illustrations with pencil, outlined our drawings using Micron Pens, then painted them. In addition to watercolors, we used Arteza Real Brush Pens, Blick Studio Dual Tip Markers, and Prismacolor Dual Tip Markers to enhance shadows, add patterns and fine details. The result is a bright and cheery illustration- can be based on a real place or an imaginary one.

4. Inside/ Outside House

Using a simlar process to the dream rooms above, these are really fun way to learn a little perspective and use imagination. We drew the outline of the house first, then drew the rooms of the interior next. Then we cut out the house and drew the front- matching windows and doors from the interior to the exterior illustration. Again we then outlined with Micron Pens, painted, and added details with Arteza Real Brush Pens, and Blick Studio Dual Tip Markers.

2. Watercolor Resist Art

Easy for all ages- this art uses watercolors and either crayons or oil pastels. The oil pastels seem to work the best, so if you have those, use them! Draw your image using the pastels or crayons, then paint the entire image with watercolors. I like to use this especially to depict rain, and it’s fun to draw clouds and raindrops in white and watch them appear when you paint it.

There are plenty of variations- a spider web, butterfly wings, and even a full sunset! The only limit is your imagination. Add table salt to wet paint for a great feathering effect.

5. Paper Towel Watercolor Shapes

Another fun project from Paint Lab for Kids by Stephanie Corfee– this project uses paper towel pieces to create the butterfly wings. Tear desired shapes and lay on paper. Then use your brush to saturate the paper towel with paint. You then carefully remove the paper towel pieces to reveal the spongy color underneath. I did finishing with Micron Pens, Arteza Real Brush Pens, and Blick Studio Dual Tip Markers.

6. Color Wheel

A color wheel is fun and easy for all ages and has a great WOW factor. Why? Because you ONLY use the primary colors (Red, Blue and Yellow) to make the all the colors. Most kids and adults have the primary colors and what they make when combined memorized- and to put that knowledge into action is really fun. Draw a 6 piece “art pie” and do the primary colors in every other space. Then use the primary colors to make the combos:
Red+ Yellow= Orange
Red+ Blue= Purple
Blue + Yellow= Green

Making the secondary colors is super satisfying! Sprinkle salt on your wet paint to watch more science action unfold.

7. Primary/ Secondary Color Circles

Take the color wheel a step further: create a composition of overlapping circles. Fill in the circles with primary colors (Red, Blue, Yellow) only. Then, in the spots where they overlap create the color combinations. This is a great way to use the brain while painting- and if you have multiple circles overlaying in a spot- to discover what colors they create!

8. Stained Glass Art

Another student favorite is Stained Glass Watercolor art. Created you drawing in pencil, then go over the lines in black fabric paint. When the paint is dry, fill in the shapes with watercolors. This is fun because the dimensional paint creates walls. If you are doing this with a tiny person, they will need help applying the black lines. TIP: the bigger the shapes, the easier all around. Tiny lines and shapes are harder to outline and fill in.

This is yet another great project from Paint Lab for Kids by Stephanie Corfee.

9. Squares of Watercolor

Use tape to create smaller boxes on your paper. Challenge yourself to put a different pattern or drawing in each box with oil pastels. Then paint each box a different color. When the paint is dry, remove the tape and you have a wonderful composition of mini art!

10. Watercolor Leaves

Walk around your yard and find leaves (or other objects) to observe their colors. Trace the objects lightly and draw simple details like the veins of the leaves. Outline shapes and lines using Micron pens. Have fun mimicking the colors and patterns you observe on the objects.

Variation: overlay the leaves and draw the negative spaces only. Fill in the negative spaces with an ombre wash of color. Add spatters with a toothbrush dipped in watercolors!

Supply List:

Below are (partner) links to supplies that will make your projects run easier!

Canson Watercolor Paper

Pro Tape Art Tape

Paint Lab for Kids by Stephanie Corfee

Salt

Paper Towels

Water cup

Brushes- I recommend a good round brush or a set.

Tulip Dimensional Paint

Prang Watercolors

Micron Pens

Arteza Real Brush Pens

Blick Dual Tip Markers

Prismacolor Dual Tip Markers

Cray Pas Oil Pastels

Rock Painting by Annie Swarm Guldberg

Rock Out with Rock Painting

I recently tried rock painting with one of my older art students, followed by trying it with my 2 younger sons. Take it from me, if you haven’t tried rock painting yet, be prepared to become addicted! It is so fun for all ages, and once you sit down and start painting, more and more ideas will flood your brain!

Rock painting is a very approachable, easy and fun art activity for all ages and abilities. Great for kids, parties, family gatherings, school groups, artist groups and more– I could go on forever! Below are my tips to help you along.

Painted Rocks
Rocks by my 13yr old art student.

Tips and Tricks for Rock Painting

  1. Find several rocks of different sizes and shapes and wash them all up at once. Smooth, flat and round rocks provide a “blank canvas” to add your ideas, and rocks with more personality/cracks/chips/holes etc. allow you to create a unique design according to the features of the particular rock. WARNING: You’re fooling yourself if you think you “only want to paint one rock”, because once you start, you’re going to want to do more! My 7 year old didn’t want to paint any, but ended up doing about 8! Washing any dirt and loose parts off with water is enough- let them dry completely on a towel or out in the sun– even better!
  2. Paint large fields with acrylic paints, and apply 2-3 coats to make the colors very bright. This will also help them last longer. You’ll find that some rocks really soak the paint in as it dries. There are a few ways around this if it bugs you: you can coat you rocks in Gesso paint first (if you plan on painting the whole rock) or you can paint your shape with a coat of white paint or Gesso first, then once that dries paint your chosen color.
    1. If you are impatient like me, or just have a time constraint, have a blow dryer on hand to help dry paint between layers!
  3. Use Sharpie Oil Based Paint pens for small shapes and details. These are one of my favorite products! I use them in my work, and my students of all ages love them too. They are very easy to control, and the quality of color is great. If you want to do any lettering, fine details, dots– or just plain don’t have a small brush on hand, these are a great tool. These are easy to find online or at your local craft store.
  4. Finally- once everything is thoroughly dried, coat your rocks in a Spar Urethene Outdoor Varnish Spray. This will make them safe for outside or just help protect them from scratches and chipping if you decide to keep them inside. Stop by your local hardware store and ask for an outdoor spray varnish!
Rocks by my 5 and 7 year olds. They loved using the paint markers to draw faces. I laid the rocks on cardboard to spray them with a few coats of Spar Urethene Varnish Spray.

More Ideas and Community Connections

I’ve taught classes on creating “Rock Monsters”, make whole words- one letter per rock, pick a theme like flowers, birds, super heros, pac-man ghosts, or just dots and stripes!

Make sure to search on Facebook for a rock painting group in your community if you really want to get involved. There are groups that paint rocks and hide them- posting pictures for people to find. What a great way to get artistically involved in your local community! Try searching for “Kindness Rocks” or look by your county or city name. Here is the group in my community.

Pinterest is full of about a billion ideas— get inspired and have fun!