Smeary Paintings

Veronika loves the look of watercolors, but they can be hard for her to use because she often forgets to alternate her paintbrush between the cup of water and the tin of dried paints. This alternative method creates a similar smeary, watery look, but was easier for her to do.

To start, I used a wide paintbrush to spread water all over a sheet of thick paper. Veronika then used a smaller paintbrush and picked out pink and purple tempera paints to dip into. The colors bleed and run across the sheet in such a pretty way!

I wondered aloud if we could achieve a similar look with markers, and then “painted” water over a second sheet of paper. Veronika tested it out, and while the effect was neat, I only recommend this with markers that are near the end of their life, as it quickly wears them out.

Veronika now became inventive with the project. First, she poured the cup of water I’d used into the cup of paint, and tested how this mixture looked on the paper.

Then she poured the whole watery mix over the paper; it was a good thing the paper was thick! She made swirls through the goopy mess with her paintbrush, making deep lines.

As a side note, this watery method is great for kids who love to paint rainbows, since the ethereal quality captures the fuzziness of a rainbow on a true rainy day. So for our final sheet of wet paper, I drew a rainbow with markers, and then she “painted” still more water on top.

Rainbow Crayons

In the past, I’ve recycled bits of old crayons into interesting shapes, but never before have we made one giant recycled crayon! This project involves a lot of adult prep, but the resulting rainbow crayon is a delight.

To start, I removed the wrappers from the few crayons remaining from our once-giant box. It helps to soak the crayons briefly in water, after which the wrappers slip right off.

Next, you’ll need an empty tin can (I used an olive can), cleaned and dried. Working with one color family at a time, break the crayons into smaller pieces and place in the tin can. Place the tin can in a saucepan, and add boiling water around it. The wax will begin to melt almost immediately! Pour into a plastic container (empty play dough canisters were perfect!) and let set.

As the red layer set, it was time to melt the orange crayons and so on until I’d worked my way through the rainbow. I didn’t always let the old layer set long enough, which meant the yellow, green and purple layers weren’t as easy to see. Next time, I would be a bit more patient!

Still, the end result was a beautifully-layered crayon. Snip off the plastic container and hand over to your waiting toddler.

Veronika loved that she could change color depending just on how she held it. “This way is red…” she said.

“And this way is blue!” I also showed her how she could rub the crayon along on its side, showing multiple colors at once, or make big circles with it.

“The crayon is so big!” she marveled. This is the perfect crayon for toddler hands and sure to be a delight.