September 05, 2008

I checked my Site Meter & found that Google pulled up my blog for someone who had "googled".....steps to beginning watercolor in the classroom. I'm sorry person who thought my blog might provide an answer for such a thing(google brought them to me because of my blog on Prang Watercolor). I hope you return...because I'm doing a blog just for you!!!

Watercolor for the Elementary Classroom(and beyond)!


  • Watercolor sets(I love PRANG!!). The Biggie Cakes are for Kindergarten.
  • Paint Brushes(Pick your fav. I like the synthetic best..they seem to hold up is an investment money wise..about $80 for a large set with a variety of sizes...but worth it!
  • Multi-purpose paper 80 lb works well. If you go with 60 lb drawing paper, it bows & warps really bad. You could buy paper that is "watercolor" paper, but it is pricey & I'd save it for special projects only(unless you have an amazing budget!!)
  • Paper towels(I have the custodian at my school give me the left overs from the dispensers. At least here...they pull the roll off as it gets close to the end)
  • Tumbler cups! This is truly a personal choice. I have found in my room...if I give each child their own water cup that it cuts down on spills and arguments(and a need to change extremely dirty water). I have purchased my tumbler cups from Dollar General. I think it's a dollar for 4 or 5. They have a wide base that keeps them from spilling easily, and have taller sides so the brush doesn't "pop" out when kids aren't using it. As with any water container...make sure you tell your students to keep it above their picture. This cuts down on spills!!

I have my supplies...NOW WHAT??

  1. What is the topic/subject matter? Of coarse you can do anything, but there are a few subjects that lend themselves well to beginning watercolor! I'd recommend Still Lifes or Landscapes to start with. With Kindergarten...I'd recommend a large object(flowers, teddy bear, animal...etc). Their fine motor skills aren't up for little itty bitty details yet! They will find more success with larger shapes to fill in! Success will build confidence...and confidence will build better artists!!!
  2. Have students draw their picture first. Remind them to draw lightly!! Heavy dark lines make the painting appear too coloring bookish. Encourage details, but remind them that if they draw too will be difficult to paint.
  3. TEACHER DEMO! This is a must. Bring students around you...making sure they are all able to see what you are doing. Have the same supplies out that you are going to be using with them...set up in the same way you would like to have them set it up. This is not is modeling good painting behavior!
  • place paint & water cup above paper
  • place paper towel under the edge of picture
  • rinse paintbrush out by rubbing it on the bottom of water cup & then wiping it on the inside of the cup above water line(to remove excess water).
  • hold paint brush in the middle of the handle
  • gently rub the paint pats with the hairs of the brush(I always tell students to imagine they are touching a baby's cheek...which keeps them from digging into the pat if it is soft!)
  • gently run the brush across the surface of the paper(not painting to long in one place, not pressing too hard and scratching the surface with the metal part of the brush
  • rinse brush when switching colors
  • Paint large areas first


  • "WATERCOLOR IS WATERY!"(help students remember not to get dark with their paint)
  • "NO CHICKEN FOOT" (reminding students to not press their brush into the paper hard or the paint...the hairs of the brush look like a chicken foot when you press too hard)
  • "NO TAP -TAP" (alerts students to not tap their brush on the edge of the cup to get rid of excess water!!! When they tap sprays water everywhere and can mess up theirs or others work.)


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post--I read this a few months ago and used your tips in my watercolor lessons this year---love the advice to imagine you are touching a baby's cheek--I have them practice this on their own cheeks. The kids always laugh when I tell them no "chicken feet" too. I also call this giving the brush a "bad hair day".

    I always enjoy your blog.