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12 Watercolor Art Ideas for Kids (+ A Free Printable Guide!)

by Jean Van't Hul
March 22, 2024
watercolor art ideas

Watercolor art ideas for kids using simple art supplies you already have at home. Plus, download the free 5-page printable guide!

Updated April 2024

There is so much you can do with a simple watercolor palette! From watercolor resist art and paper plate flowers to butterfly symmetry prints and starry night sky art, just about any watercolor technique or activity can be done with the simplest of watercolor paint sets.

First, we’ll share the materials you’ll need to get started (not many!) and a video overview of the ideas.  And don’t forget to download the free printable that you can print out!


*In the video, we show a couple of our favorite Faber-Castell watercolor paint sets, the Connector Paint Box Watercolor Set and Watercolor Paint Set with Brush. For more of our paint recommendations, check out: The Best Paints for Kids

Watch the video above to see these 12 watercolor art projects in action or head straight to the photos and instructions below.

12 Watercolor Art Ideas

watercolor dot art
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

1. Watercolor Dot Art

Create pointillism-inspired dot art with cotton swabs and watercolor paint. You can create images (such as flowers, butterflies, cars, or faces), abstract art, or make a dot-to-dot picture for a friend or sibling to complete.

scribble art
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

2. The Relaxing Scribble Art Activity

Use a crayon or oil pastel to draw big looping scribbles all over your paper. Fill in some sections with color from crayons or oil pastels and then paint the rest with watercolors.

We love to do this while listening to audio books!

doodle flowers
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

3. Watercolor Doodle Flowers

Use watercolor dots as the starting point for playful doodled flowers. Paint dots then add designs to cut out or create your own stickers!

watercolor skies
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

4. Create the Starry Night Sky Effect with salt

Sprinkle a little salt over a still-wet watercolor painting for a beautiful starry night sky or mottled effect. The salt absorbs the water in the watercolor paint, leaving white spots in some areas and concentrated pigment in others.

wax resist
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

5. The Watercolor Resist Technique

Use crayons or oil pastels to draw a picture (abstract or realistic – anything goes!), then paint over the drawing with watercolor paints. The waxy crayons or oil pastels will resist the water-based watercolors, creating a simple but almost magical effect.

symmetry butterflies
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

6. Watercolor Butterfly Symmetry Prints

Create beautiful, symmetrical butterfly wings with translucent watercolor paint. Fold a piece of paper in half, open back up, and draw the body and wings of a butterfly with a crayon or oil pastel. Now use a lot of wet watercolor paint to paint one side of the butterfly. Press the other side of the paper to the wet paint, and open to reveal your symmetrical butterfly print!

watercolor flowers
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

7. Make Flowers with Paper Plates

To make these paper plate flowers, inspired by Pink Stripey Socks, cut a few flower shapes from paper plates in decreasing sizes and staple or glue them together in the center. Paint your flowers with watercolor paint. You can also embellish them with additional doodles and drawings with markers or chalk markers after they dry.

watercolor shapes
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

8. Wet-on-Wet Watercolor Shapes

Experiment with the wet-on-wet watercolor technique by using cookie cutters!

Start by setting a cookie cutter on top of your paper. Paint the area inside the cookie cutter with just water. Then dip the paintbrush into watercolor paint and add color to the wet paper inside the cookie cutter. Watch as the color spreads around the water. Dip your paint brush into a different color and repeat. Leave the cookie cutter in place and let your painted shape dry.

watercolor and cling wrap
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

9. The Watercolor + Cling Wrap Technique

Cover a wet watercolor painting with gently scrunched up cling wrap and let dry overnight for an amazing geometric effect. The cling wrap forces the watercolor paint to concentrate where the plastic touches the paper creating intricate geometric designs.

raised salt painting
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

10. Raised Salt Painting

For raised salt painting, a favorite kids’ art activity, draw a picture or make a squiggle design with a bottle of glue. Then cover the glue lines completely with salt and tap off the extra salt. Saturate your paint brush with watercolor paint and lightly touch to the salt-covered glue lines. Watch as the color magically travels along the salt + glue!

black glue picture
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

11. Make Faux Stained-Glass Paintings

Create a stained-glass art effect with a black glue “lead” design filled in with colorful translucent watercolors. Mix a tablespoon or so of black tempera or acrylic paint into a half-empty bottle of glue, replace the cap, and shake well. Squeeze out the black glue to draw a picture on your paper. Once it’s completely dry, paint in the sections with watercolor paint.

watercolors with a compass
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

12. Compass Painting with Watercolors

Use a compass to paint watercolor circles of different sizes! Replace the pencil in a traditional compass with a small paintbrush (we broke our paint brush in half to make it easier to use). Then dip the brush end in paint to make lots of circles all over your paper.

So, there you have it! A dozen awesome watercolor art activities for kids of all ages! Try one or do them all!

We even created a printable guide so you can keep these ideas handy on your fridge or keep in your art space. Enter your email to have one sent directly to you for free! If you missed it, clear your cookies & refresh this page!

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12 Watercolor Art Ideas for Kids (+ A Free Printable Guide!) 12 Watercolor Art Ideas for Kids (+ A Free Printable Guide!)

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