Creating windy day art is an easy STEAM project for kids to learn about watercolor resist techniques. Working with glue, crayons, pastels and other resist mediums will create different effects when used in combination with watercolor paints.
Recently my daughter and I painted some snowy alpine tree landscape art using white glue as the resist medium. It turned out beautifully… but not as we expected. When we painted over the glue with liquid watercolors it did not resist the paint as well as we expected it to. Instead, it created a gorgeous textured effect.
The textured effect is lovely for some projects, but if you want the resist to stay white when painted over like we did–it’s not ideal. We decided to do an experiment with a few common watercolor resist mediums to find out why.
Related: Shadow Art Outdoor Science for Kids
Windy Day Art: STEAM Project for Kids
Creating windy day art as a fun and easy way to experiment with watercolors using different resist mediums and an easy STEAM project for kids. Learn how below!
Windy Day Art Materials
- White Glue and/or White Crayons, and/or White Oil Pastel or a Colored Oil Pastel set that includes white.
- Watercolor Paper
- 3/4″ Flat Wash Watercolor Brush and/or a 1″ Flat Wash Watercolor Brush
- Stockmar watercolors or Liquid Watercolors
- Glass Baby Food Jars (We made our own baby food so we turned these into our watercolor dishes. They work really well because you can put the lids on to use the paint again later. You can also use a muffin tin or ice cube tray.)
- Glass or Canning Jar
- Salt (optional)
How to Experiment with Watercolor Resist Mediums
Choose at least 2 resist mediums to do this experiment with watercolor paints. We used white glue, white crayon, and white oil pastel. There are many others such as black glue, painter’s tape or rubber cement that you could also experiment with.
Below are directions to produce the same experiment we did. Feel free to substitute any resist medium you would like to test.
- Draw swirls to create windy day art on one sheet of watercolor paper using white glue. (Allow to dry completely before painting.)
- Create another windy day art picture on another sheet of watercolor paper using a white crayon.
- Make another windy day picture on another sheet of watercolor paper using white oil pastel.
- Place watercolor paints in baby food jars and dilute them with water, place water in a glass, and a paintbrush on a rag. The water is for dipping into between colors, and the rag is for wiping the brush on before dipping into the next color after dipping it into the water.
- Invite your child(ren) to paint each drawing one by one.
- Sprinkle salt on each painting while it is still wet before it dries for another beautiful effect. (optional)
- Investigate and observe differences in the resist mediums as they paint and after it dries, and what happens to the paint when salt is applied. (See photos below.)
Windy Day Art Experiment with Watercolor Resist: Process
My daughter painted three similar windy day art paintings using white glue, white crayon, and white oil pastel as the resist mediums.
To add a little more science into the mix and make our paintings look more like a windy day, each painting was sprinkled with salt while they were still wet.
Crayon Resist with Salt Windy Day Art
Pastel Resist with Salt Windy Day Art
Glue Resist with Salt Windy Day Art
Science Experiment with Watercolor Reist Mediums: Questions to consider
Ask the kids a few of the following questions when you are finished with your paintings.
- Which resist medium do you think resisted the watercolor best and why?
- Which resist medium do you like best for this art project?
- Can you come up with a hypothesis of what happened and why?
- Would your choice of resist medium change based on the type of art project you are working on? Why or why not?
- Can you think of other materials that you can use as a resist medium for art projects?
STEAM Experiment Conclusions
Watercolor resist mediums
In an earlier project, we used white glue to make snowy alpine trees we wanted them to stay white, but they did not. We learned that you have to paint around white glue (not over it) if you want to make sure it says white. This is not easy for young children like mine.
In this experiment, we set out to discover what would work better to produce the effect we wanted. We again discovered that white glue does not resist the liquid watercolors to leave the area white. We found that both white crayon and white oil pastel were able to resist the watercolors to leave the area white.
Why did the white crayon and white oil pastel resist the watercolor paint while the white glue did not?
The answer is simple science. Oil and water do not mix. When you paint over the oily wax crayon or oil pastel the paint is repelled and the area stays white. White glue absorbs the paint because it contains water and can absorb color. Mystery solved!
My daughter wondered why the pastel and crayon did not show up like clear lines, so we talked about the texture of the watercolor paper that we used and how a smoother paper would probably make a smoother line.
Next, we wondered about other resist art techniques. Would the glue from a glue gun resist watercolor paint better? Why or why not? What about painter’s tape and rubber cement? Will they resist watercolor paint? Why or why not?
Salt and Watercolor Paint
What about the salt? How and why did it produce the fun spotted snowflake effect that it did? The answer is also simple science. The salt absorbed the water and repelled the pigment. Science is fun!
Black Glue Watercolor Resist Art Projects
If you like working with resist mediums you may like black glue resist art. Click on any of the projects below to learn all about it!
- Winter Tree Black Glue Watercolor Resist Art
- Rose Black Glue Resist Art Project
- Under the Sea Black Glue Watercolor Resist Art Projects
- Starfish Black Glue Resist Art Project
- Fall Leaves Black Glue Watercolor Resist Art Project
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE!
You may also like:
- Alpine Tree Watercolor Resist Art
- Top 10 Winter Art Projects
- Painting with Foam Blocks
- Wet-on-Wet Watercolor Painting
- Painted Votives for Kids to Make
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Nell has over 20 years of experience working with children and is the founder of Rhythms of Play. She believes in the power of the imagination, learning through play, making this world a greener place to live, and getting outside in all seasons! Learn more…