Watercolor Monoprints

clear plastic, liquid watercolor paint, muffin pan or paint tray, watercolor paint brushes, watercolor paper, paper towels

  1. paint on plastic
  2. press paper onto paint
  3. wipe plastic clean and set print somewhere to dry
  4. repeat to make a second print!

This is super easy but also exciting for young children everyone to do- somehow it is always shocking when you peel your paper away and see the beautiful print made when the colors squished and mixed together!

Inspired by Helen Frankenthaler

These turned out SO well- it was hard to send them home with the kids because I wanted to keep them all for myself!  First, we looked at pictures of Frankenthaler’s paintings and talked about how she made them and what they reminded us of.  The pouring step was inspired by Frankenthaler’s process, and the hammering was an added touch that was an idea from Purple Twig.

muslin, liquid watercolors in condiment cups, sponge brushes, plastic placemats or wax paper taped to table, hammers, flowers and leaves, dowels, sewing machine with white thread, white yarn

  1. cut muslin into about 10×20 inch pieces
  2. cover table with paper to soak up extra paint once pouring starts
  3. pour *a little* paint at a time on the fabric, and spread it around with a sponge brush
  4. let that dry, or leave empty spots that are dry for the hammering step
  5. place plastic or wax paper (anything that does not allow the pigment from leaves/flowers to soak into it) on the table (or floor- wherever kids can hammer without ruining the surface)
  6. place painted and dried muslin on plastic
  7. place a leaf or flower under muslin wherever you want the color to be smashed (with leaves- lay them flat if you want the leaf shape, or bunch them up to make it easier to squish color out)
  8. hammer! I did this with 4 and 5 year olds and they did great- I had them hold the hammer right at the top so they would have more control and be safer
  9. throw away the smashed leaf/flower
  10. repeat steps 7-9
  11. sew the top of the banner so that the dowel can slide in
  12. tie a small piece of yarn to the dowel for a hanger…we didn’t have time but kids could also decorate the hanger with beads


Name Garland

These turned out really well because anything with a child’s name on it will be special, and also because they provide evidence of so much hard work:  watercolor painting, tissue paper painting, tracing, cutting, beading/stringing, and spelling!

watercolor paper, bleeding tissue paper, water and brushes, pencil, cardboard shapes, scissors, hole puncher, letter stickers, string, buttons, beads, pom poms, beading needles

  1.  Decorate watercolor paper with tissue paper that bleeds.  I actually don’t know which brand bleeds because these pieces were donated to me- make sure you test what you buy before your lesson!  Just place one square on the paper at a time, and use a brush to add water.  When it dries, remove the tissue and the color will remain.  Some children filled a page in about 30 minutes, and some could have still worked on it after an hour and a half.  For the sake of time and for the children with long names, I also had them decorate an extra page with crayon and watercolor.
  2. When the paper is dry, trace shapes on the back- we did stars, flags, hearts, and circles.
  3. Cut out the shapes.
  4. Add letter stickers to spell names, then punch holes (that way you don’t have to move the stickers when the children put them on upside down if you have already punched the holes).
  5. String!  We used beading needles to add buttons, sparkly pom poms, and wooden beads.