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make . DIY Watercolor Paint

Baby Girl loves the YouTube Kids iPad app! She just loves it. I like it because I don’t have to worry about questionable content, and it gives her the opportunity to wander through some of the things that interest her. These days, she’s excited about cooking and party planning projects, how-to’s for dollhouses and doll furniture, and crafts, crafts, crafts! She’s a crafty girl! It’s not unusual for me to walk into her room or our play room/Kid Cave and find some idea she’s seen on YouTube starting to take shape with her own spin applied to it. Earlier this week, I came home from running a few errands to find this scene on the coffee table…

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She explained to me that we were making paint – a video she had seen on YouTube Kids. Since I’m a painter, that’s all it took to get me interested! The idea is really kind of cool, using old Crayola markers to make watercolor paint. Baby Girl went through her markers and found all the ones that had lost too much ink to really be fun for marker art. It turns out, when you place those markers in water, the remaining pigment seeps out to create varying shades of “paint” that still has some artistic life in it. I thought it was a great way to repurpose what might have otherwise been thrown out, and Baby Girl and I spent a little time experimenting with the paints.

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Different colors created paint with various amounts of vibrance. Baby Girl used 2 or 3 tablespoons of water for each color, and I imagine the intensity of some colors would be greater with less water. The paints made for very nice watercolor washes with light color building up slowly with more layers. We thought the fluorescent yellow marker created the most fun effects. It was a great opportunity for us to experiment with color, and I showed Baby Girl how to sprinkle salt on wet painted areas to see some of its marbling effect. For our experiments, we used my practice paper, which is thick, but not standard watercolor paper. It gave us a lot  more curling and puddling at the edges than traditional watercolor paper would. I had planned to try to create some backgrounds that I could use with lettering, and I ended up just having fun with how water and color work together. Here are some of our experiment results!

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