Watercolor leaves: an art project for elementary schoolers

November 2 2012 | Guest post by Patty

This is a simple, yet lovely art lesson that builds upon the principles of watercolor applications. My fifth grade students used liquid watercolor paints, "black" glue (white school glue mixed with black paint) and 9″ x 12″ 90 lb watercolor paper to achieve this lovely project.

Step one: the students drew leaves onto their watercolor paper with a pencil. They used light strokes and tried to capture details. We don't have fall leaves in Santa Barbara right now, so we used a photographs and photocopies of pictures.

Step two: After the drawing, glue was carefully applied to the pencil lines. If a student misses this portion, they can outline their drawings with a black oil pastel, which will give them almost the same look and function (providing a wall for the watercolor paints).

Step three: After the glue dries, paint leaves with two to three colors of paints. I stressed mixing colors that were beside each other on the color wheel. For the background, the children painted colors opposite to their leaves.

  1. I love the idea f mixing glue and paint – perhaps it would help younger artists stay within the lines when coloring or painting because I guess it leaves a bit of a 3d line barrier

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