Quiet Time Lantern – wet-on-wet watercolour tutorial

Quiet Time Lantern – wet-on-wet watercolour tutorial

I am over at Playful Learning today writing about how to make a Quiet Time Lantern for the dark and wintery nights.

The first part of the making the lantern is to do a wet-on-wet watercolour painting, this is a lovely and easy art form and great for sharing with a mixed age range.  I’ve been doing this kind of art with the boys since they were really little, it allows them to play with colour and yet produce something pretty (rather than tempura mix brown) which can be used in other crafts.  Cards, labels, seasonal decorations…all can be made from the colourful creations of even the youngest children, helping them to see that their art is of value and has a life beyond it’s creation.

To make a wet-on-wet painting you will need:

  • Watercolour paper
  • Watercolour paints (I have a relatively cheap set of the tube ones but plan to invest in some premixed ones in the  new year)
  • A clean flat surface
  • Paint brushes
  • Small sponges (optional) for younger children

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If you are using the tube paints you will need to mix the paints with water first, I have some little glass dishes I do this in, I restrict the palette to 2-3 colours and aim to choose colours that will blend well and will create other colours when they mix.

While you are mixing the paints pop your water colour paper into a sink of water.  I know this seems like an odd thing to do but the paper is thick and needs to have a lot of water on it to create the right kind of back ground.  Just a few minutes is sufficient, then shake off the excess water and pop down on your painting surface.  You can use painting boards for this but I just put them straight onto our school table.

Give your children access to the paints and brushes and go to it.

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This kind of painting has a different mood from a more craft oriented style, by that I mean it lends itself to a kind of meditation approach, soft and slow with no specific outcome in mind.  It can take time for children to move away from the idea of painting ‘something’ and instead just become involved with the movement and colour wet-on-wet painting offers, but once they do they usually love it.  I find painting alongside the boys helps to set the tone for the their own work as does some nice music and reminders that we are working gently and quietly for this project.

I hope this helps to get you started on your wet-on-wet painting adventure!  If you would like an idea for using your finished creations why not pop over to Playful Learning and perhaps make your own Quiet Time Lantern.  I’d love to see your lanterns if you do!


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