Try this heart art watercolor painting idea for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or any time of year–and watch someone you love light up with surprise!
This post shares two different watercolor painting techniques that kids (toddlers and preschoolers to grade school students and teens) or adults can use to create surprise watercolor heart art for themselves, or someone else to paint, at home or in the classroom. The first watercolor surprise heart art painting idea uses crayons or pastels as a watercolor resist medium to create a magical surprise design or message that appears on the paper as the artist paints a heart with watercolors.
And the second watercolor painting method uses only two primary colors to create a surprise secondary color inside the artist’s heart artwork. You might also enjoy painting Surprise Easter Egg Art (which uses the same art techniques to make surprise art for Easter) and this list of heart art projects and painting ideas.
In other words, both watercolor heart painting ideas have an element of surprise, but the surprise differs depending on the chosen heart art project and the watercolor painting method used. The first heart art painting idea uses crayon wax or oil pastel to create surprise watercolor art that magically appears as designs or a written message when painted with watercolors.
In contrast, the second suggestion uses the primary colors–red, yellow, and blue–and the wet-on-wet watercolor painting method to surprise the artist when the third secondary color appears. Scroll down to see the list of recommended art supplies, read the written instructions, and watch our quick step-by-step video, to learn all the fun DIY details for both easy “surprise heart art” watercolor painting ideas described in this post.
Related: Best Heart Art Projects
Watercolor Surprise Heart Art Supplies
Invite children (toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners to teens) or adults to choose between different art supplies to create heart art using either of the watercolor painting techniques described in this post. Try something new, or use the art supplies you have on hand.
Before getting started, choose the type of watercolor surprise heart art you want to make; watercolor resist surprise art or color mixing surprise art. (Read through the step-by-step instructions for each project to help you decide or try both types of watercolor heart art.)
Next, gather the art supplies you need from the list of watercolor art supplies below. And finally, invite children to paint the heart with watercolors and watch their faces light up when they see the art, written message, or secondary color that magically appears on the paper as they paint.
- Stockmar watercolors, liquid watercolors, watercolor tube paint set, or a watercolor paint pallet
- Heavy cardstock or watercolor paper
- Crayons or oil pastels (Choose one or the other if you want to write or draw secret art, designs, and messages inside the heart art.)
- Heart Art Printable Templates (Or draw a heart outline to paint.)
- Scissors (optional)
- Construction paper or multi-colored cardstock (optional)
Related: The Best Art Supplies for Kids and Why Young Artists Should Use Them
Related: Thumbprint Heart Magnet Craft
1. How to Make a Surprise Heart Art Painting with a Watercolor Resist Medium
Painting heart art with watercolor as a resist medium is a fun and easy watercolor heart painting idea for kids. The basic idea is simple:
- First, use a pencil, crayon, or pastel to draw a heart on watercolor paper or cardstock, or download and print your favorite printable heart outline art template onto cardstock.
- Next, use white oil pastels or crayons to create designs or write words inside the heart for your children to find when they paint with watercolors.
- Last, invite children to paint the heart shape with watercolors to see the surprise heart art magically appear!
For even more heart watercolor painting resist surprise fun, invite your kids to draw designs for each other to make double surprise Heart Art. Surprise siblings, friends, classmates, and even mom, dad, or grandma with hidden heart art that they can paint with watercolors!
Give surprise heart art with a portable watercolor pallet to a loved one for a unique Valentine’s Day gift or a fun way to say I LOVE YOU any time of year! Scroll down to see the step-by-step watercolor painting tutorial for fun heart art projects for kids.
Related: Winter Tree Watercolor Resist Art
Watercolor Resist Suprise Heart Art Step-by-Step Directions
To make surprise heart art, create surprise heart art for kids with our printable heart templates, or draw your own heart. Next, invite children to paint the heart with watercolors and watch their faces light up when they see the art–or written message–that magically appears on the paper as they paint. Follow the easy step-by-step surprise watercolor painting instructions below:
- Invite children to draw a heart on watercolor paper or print your favorite heart art template onto heavy cardstock.
- Cut the heart template out to trace onto watercolor paper, or draw and paint directly onto the cardstock. (Please note: the black ink of the heart outline can run into the painting a little if it gets too wet.)
- Use crayons or oil pastels to draw designs in the heart. All colors work, but only white will create hidden surprise heart art.
- Paint hearts with your favorite type of watercolor paint to reveal the hidden surprise designs!
- Allow heart art to dry overnight.
- Cut heart art out and glue it onto construction paper or multi-colored cardstock. (optional)
Related: Valentine’s Day Art Projects
Surprise Watercolor Resist Heart Art Step-by-Step Video Tutorial
Related: Rainbow Rainy Day Art
Heart-Shaped Watercolor Resist Art Tips
- When children use watercolors to paint an area colored with white crayons or oil pastels, they are surprised to see the drawings appear, even when they know the art is there. It’s magic–Invite the kids to experiment and have fun!
- We like to use white oil pastels best because we appreciate how they work as a watercolor resist medium. Experiment with watercolor-resist mediums to learn which you like best.
- Working with colored crayons and pastels creates colorful designs that the child will see before painting with watercolors. Using white makes the art, words, or designs hard to see before the child paints–and this makes white better for surprise art.
- Please pop over to look at Easter Egg Surprise Art to see how colored crayons and pastels look after they have been painted with watercolors.
- Ask children to choose two to three watercolors to paint heart art if you want to encourage color-mixing and experimenting. You are welcome to use more colors if desired.
- Offer only the primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) if you want color-mixing to be a part of your watercolor surprise heart art lesson. Learn more about working with watercolor paints in wet-on-wet watercolor painting.
Related: Best Flower Art Projects
2. How to Make a Watercolor Surprise Heart Art with the Wet-on-Wet Watercolor Technique
The second way to create watercolor surprise heart art is to use the wet-on-wet watercolor technique. Use only two primary watercolors to paint each heart for the best results, and watch the surprise color appear!
The surprise is revealed when the child discovers the magical third secondary color made when two primary colors are mixed. Using this watercolor method allows children to learn about color mixing through experience. In other words, they understand firsthand that blue and yellow make green, red and yellow make orange, and red and blue make purple.
Related: Rose Watercolor Art
Primary Color-Mixing Heart Painting Idea
You could also call this heart watercolor painting idea primary color mixing heart art, but I think “surprise” is more fun for the little ones. Besides, who would want to spoil the surprise by telling children they will be doing color mixing?!
Shhh–it’ll be our little secret. 😉 Just look at how beautifully the primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) blended in the photograph of my daughter’s heart work below.
Because her surprise heart art is painted with all three primary colors, it created each of the secondary colors (orange, green, and purple) inside of her heart-shaped watercolor painting.
But please be aware that my daughter has been painting using the wet-on-wet watercolor painting technique with all three primary colors for a few years, so she has experienced the secret surprise of the secondary colors appearing and knows how to keep the colors separate enough that it does not turn her watercolor painting grey or brown.
So, to make her heart art color-mixing project more of a surprise, I used a chunk of white pastel to draw hearts inside the heart-shaped template. She loved it! In other words, we used both watercolor painting techniques described in this post to create the heart art below–watercolor resist and color mixing.
Related: Easy Rainbow Art Projects Kids LOVE!
Surprise Wet-on-wet Watercolor Heart Painting Step-by-Step Directions
- Invite the kids to draw a heart or print any of our printable heart templates onto heavy cardstock.
- Cut the heart template out to trace onto watercolor paper, OR draw and paint directly onto the cardstock.
- Click on the link to learn more about wet-on-wet watercolor painting to create surprise heart art. The article explains soaking the paper first. Another option is to use a misting spray bottle filled with water to spray the watercolor paper or cardstock and then wait a few minutes before painting.
NOTE: The clipart heart template ink can run a tiny bit when you spray it, but it is possible to cut the heart out when it’s dry for a cleaner look, like the hearts pictured throughout this article. Another option is to cut the heart out before spraying it with water.
Related: Best Winter Art Ideas for Kids
Surprise Heart Art Painting Idea for Kids (and Adults Too!)
Try either of these fun ways to create watercolor surprise heart art for Valentine’s day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparents Day, a wedding anniversary, or just to say I love you any time of year.
It’s fun to create surprise heart art for kids by writing surprise messages or sketching fun designs inside the heart with crayon wax or oil pastels and inviting them to paint it to see the surprise that magically appears as they paint the heart with watercolors.
Or, invite the artist to use the wet-on-wet watercolor painting method with only two primary colors–red, yellow, or blue–to surprise the artist. We have also compiled a fantastic collection of Heart Art and Valentine’s Day Art Projects you may want to try at home or in the classroom.
And you might also enjoy using watercolors to paint raised salt heart art. There is a video of the process that is mesmerizing to watch.
Or look at this list of thumbprint heart crafts and keepsake gift ideas kids can make. And for even more fun, look at this collection of love bug crafts and beginning heart sewing project ideas.
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE!
If you Like heart watercolor painting, You Might Also Like:
- Watercolor Surprise Easter Egg Art Project
- Snowy Alpine Tree Watercolor Resist Art
- Heart Art Salt Painting
- Thumbprint Heart Necklaces
- Lovebirds Felt Softie Beginning Sewing Tutorial
- Glass paint Heart Tree Suncatcher
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