Saturday, November 19, 2011

Watercolor Leaves


When I look outside, we still have a little bit of fall color. I know it will come to an end soon, however, and the cold, bare branches will become nearly transparent next to the evergreen triangles that surround us. For now, we'll try to squeeze in the last of our fall projects before the season ends.


I introduced my kids to watercolor masking fluid with this idea. Rubber cement would have worked similarly, but it tends to be a bit strong-smelling.



This art project also utilized the leaves we gathered during a hike a couple of weeks ago. We pressed the leaves between the pages of a notebook and used them to make a leaf rubbing garland and the leaves were still in great shape! I had both of my kids both select three leaves that could fit together onto one piece of paper.


Then I traced the outline of the leaves using a pencil.


I cut the leaves out and then I had the kids place the paper leaves on top of a piece of watercolor paper.


Using an old paintbrush, my children took turns applying the masking fluid over the edges of the paper leaves. 


We learned that the paper leaves needed to be removed right after applying the masking fluid. The fluid begins to dry pretty quickly after application, and the leaves are difficult to remove as the fluid dries. We only needed to leave the masking fluid alone for about 15 minutes to dry.


Next, the kids went to work filling the leaf shapes with watercolor paint.


There is no right or wrong way to do this. My daughter worked hard on making sure she cleaned her paintbrush thoroughly between colors so that she wouldn't annoy her big brother by muddying his perfectly clean watercolor set.


When the kids were finished, we set them aside to dry.



Then it was time to remove the masking fluid. I used a white art eraser -- I've never used any other type of eraser, but I've been told that pink erasers can leave a pink residue. The masking fluid rubs off pretty easily with the eraser. My son enjoyed peeling off the loosened masking fluid in long strips.


And that was it!


Some of the details of the leaf shapes showed up very nicely.


I backed the artwork with black paper to give the artwork more prominence against the wall.


The project was pretty easy and I already have some ideas for using the masking fluid for future projects with the kids. I'll keep you posted!

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