Wet on Wet Watercolor

A classic Waldorf art activity to do with kids is wet-on-wet watercolor. G has done lots of watercolor before, but mainly on dry paper. This week we decided to get out the good paper and work wet. With wet on wet, the colors spread and flow and are more intense than on dry paper. It is a whole different experience.

Good quality watercolor paper is essential for this type of painting, “even” with kids because otherwise the paper will disintegrate when you try to work. That only leads to frustration and unhappiness, and this should be a super fun, relaxing, and easy activity. (Personally, I think kids should always be given access to good quality materials, for this very reason.) Start by wetting your paper. You can either soak it in a tray or spritz it with a water bottle. You want it wet but not dripping (if it is too wet, just lightly blot up some of the water). If the paper wants to curl up at the edges, just tape the edges down with painter’s tape. Then wet each color watercolor you are working with, hand him or her a brush, and let your kid’s imagination run free!


G tends to work pretty minimal, never wanting to cover the whole paper. I would have loved for him to do a full page wash, but it’s not about me so I have to just push those what he “should” do thoughts aside and let him enjoy the process, especially since he is only 3. We also used some salt while everything was still wet, which gives it a great textured look. The salt makes the color spread in a snowy or rainy looking way. Just brush the salt off once the painting is dry.


We left his paintings on the table to dry while we did other things. When we came back, we discovered the kitty had apparently walked on the wet painting and then stepped on the other one, contributing his take on wet on wet painting. G thought this was hysterical.

The paintings now have a happy home on our refrigerator door.