Fun at Home with Kids

Exploring Absorption with Watercolors on a Texture Board

Monday, February 24, 2014

This post is part of a new and ongoing series called "Easy Art Projects for Kids".  This week's theme is Exploring Watercolors.  After you read our post, be sure to use the links at the end of the post to visit the other blogs participating in today's theme for their easy and fun projects involving Exploring Watercolors.  

I thought it would be fun to explore absorption using our liquid watercolors to bring a bit of a scientific twist to our art.  I bought a foam core board (poster board would also work) at our local craft store and picked up a really thin piece of craft wood for a dollar while I was there as well.  S and I had so much fun making our DIY Rainbow Building Blocks that I thought it would be fun to include some sort of wood to remind her of that. 

I told S what our project was going to be and we searched the house for anything white (or whitish) that we could test absorption with.  We settled on using pieces of watercolor paper, white felt, computer paper, a coffee filter, facial tissue, a wax coated paper plate, paper towel, tissue paper, cotton balls, and parchment paper.  I used a hot glue gun to gently affix everything to the board.  

S got to choose her colors and she went with lime green, yellow, green, and gold Discount School Supply liquid watercolors - because they were "St. Patricksy colors".  Love it.  I supplied her with two different size paintbrushes and some plastic eyedroppers.  She immediately went for the gold liquid watercolors and dripped some on the wax coated paper plate and some on the cotton balls.

The cotton balls soaked up the watercolors, whereas they kind of sat on top of the plate.  She used a paintbrush to spread them, but observed that the plate did not absorb as well as the cotton balls.

After painting some strips on the wood ("it absorbs, Mama!"), she moved to the parchment paper.  No absorption again.  I asked her to investigate and see if she could come up with a reason as to why the wax coated paper plate and the parchment paper didn't absorb.  She poked and felt and declared "I think it is because they are so smooth feeling!".  I explained how wax resists and can be used to keep food from soaking through (plates or parchment paper).

We loved watching the liquid watercolors spread through the thin tissue paper.  She said the green watercolors were growing a forest on the tissue paper.  So cute!

We were both surprised to see how much of the liquid watercolors the felt grabbed up.  It just sucked it right down into the middle of the felt and it was so hard to tell that S had just dropped a ton of paint there!

After about 45 minutes of exploring, S decided to take a break.  About an hour later she wanted to explore some more and wanted to add a new color - blue.  Here is her finished masterpiece!  We've got it hanging up on our dining room wall.

Don't go yet!  Check out the other cool projects in today's series:
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All activities here are activities I feel are safe for my own children.  As your child's parents/guardians, you will need to decide what you feel is safe for your family.  I always encourage contacting your child's pediatrician for guidance if you are not sure about the safety/age appropriateness of an activity. All activities on this blog are intended to be performed with adult supervision.  Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when activities call for the use of materials that could potentially be harmful, such as scissors, or items that could present a choking risk (small items), or a drowning risk (water activities), and with introducing a new food/ingredient to a child (allergies).  Observe caution and safety at all times.  The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any of these activities on this blog.


  1. I love the "St. Patricksy Colors". :)

  2. I love the idea of trying color out on so many different textures! One never knows exactly how this new surface will react or which the kids will respond to. Great idea. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Great post! My 6 yr old will love trying this, tfs!