September 29, 2011

Guest Post: MESS FOR LESS ~ Watercolor Resist

I'm thrilled to have a guest host here today at Come Together Kids.  Because I didn't start this blog until my kids were a bit older, I haven't shared too many ideas geared more for the little ones.  It's not that I didn't do crafts and activities with my kids when they were younger, I was just way too exhausted and overwhelmed to even think about sharing them on a blog! 

Well, that's why I'm so excited to introduce you to Mess for Less.  Like me, Vicky has three children and likes to do inexpensive, yet fun, activities with her family.  However, she blogs about those fun activities while having three-year old TWINS and a toddler!  I know!  Amazing, isn't it?
Mess For Less

Here she is with a fun craft that her three-year olds really enjoyed (and I know my "bigger" kids would love too!)

Hi Come Together Kids readers!  I am Vicky from Mess For Less, a blog of kids crafts and activities.  Laura asked if I would share a project with you all and I am so excited to be here!  I have 3 little ones (three year old twins and a twenty month old) and was a teacher before having kids.  I've been lucky to have had lots of great experiences while teaching, and I hope to use some of that inspiration to help my children grow and learn.  I am all about fun, hands-on activities that can be done on a budget.  Most of my projects can be done with items you already have at home.

The project I am going to share with you is one I re-purposed from my teaching days called "Watercolor Tape Resist".  Years ago, when I did this project with elementary-aged kids, I used blue painter's tape.  I would recommend this to you.  I didn't have any blue painters tape the day I wanted to do this, so I improvised and used masking tape.  I figured maybe it would stick a little more but it wouldn't be too bad.  It stuck a lot!  But it wasn't too bad.  If you plan on using these as art, you would want to use the painter's tape for sure.  But for my purposes, the masking tape worked, though it tore the top layer off of some of the paper. Supplies you will need:  white paper (I just used copy paper), tape, watercolor paints, brush and water.  Before the activity, you will want to use your tape to make whatever shapes or designs you wish on the paper.  I started out with a triangle and square and then moved on to some lines, and  finally my favorite, the checkerboard pattern.  Don't worry about being too exact with any of these.  The end result will be cool no matter how straight the lines or perfect the shape.  I promise! 

I gave the kids the taped paper and some watercolors and encouraged them to to paint over the tape.  I tried to explain that when the paint dried we would peel the tape off and see the design underneath, but I am not sure if the girls got that at all.  They just had fun in the whole process of painting on the tape.   A little background for Come Together Kids readers: my twins are total opposites.  "A" is the more of a follow the rules type  while "B" is a free spirit who likes to do her own thing.  As an example,  here is "A" carefully painting over her shapes.  

"B" had lots of fun painting her shapes.  So much fun that she did not want to stop after she was done.  All you can do with "B" is try and encourage her.  If she senses that you do not want her to do something then she will dig in her heels and do it more.  Can any of you relate?  Anyway, I normally never want to shut down my kid's creativity, but "B" kept on painting the same spot on the paper over and over again and I knew that soon a hole would form in the paper.  I asked her if she wanted to paint a new paper but she was adamant and kept working on her shapes. 

If I have learned anything in my three years as "B's" mom it's that sometimes it's better to let her do her own thing in her own time.  After a little longer, she was done painting her shapes.  Here are the results, holes and all. 

I love how you can see the girls' different approaches to art (and possibly life!) in their work.  As they painted their tape lines, you can see that "A" was careful to paint her entire paper while "B" was just interested in painting right over the tape.  

"A" working on her checkerboard pattern. 

I just love the finished "tape resist" artwork!  I mentioned earlier that it was tricky to get the regular masking tape off in spots and I would use painter's tape in the future.  You can't see it in the photos, but in a couple of spots a layer of paper was taken off with the tape.  But you live and learn right? I am going to have so much fun with this in the future.  Think of this project as a jumping off point.  There are so many possibilities about what you can do with this technique.  You can change it up in many ways depending on the age of the child.  I have seen people do their child's name in tape so when they peeled it off they had a pretty name painting.  You can do various shapes, letters, numbers, and patterns depending on what you are teaching and learning.  Experiment! You are only limited by your imagination.  And your lack of painter's tape.  

If you have liked what you've read here, I hope you will come visit us at Mess For Less for more ideas.  We are really friendly and we don't bite.  We'll, OK, my twenty month old sometimes bites.  But only if you try and take her toys away from her.  You wouldn't do that would you? 

Thanks, so much for sharing this fun activity, Vicky!  I'm inspired to do something similar with my kids soon.

And definitely go check out Mess for Less!  Here are just a few of the other cool activities her girls have done...

Fruit Loop Towers

Foam Window Clings

Bubble Wrap Prints


  1. this is so much fun, I have done it with masking tape on canvas for a large group activity, but love the idea of individual paintings.

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  2. @ Kierna, I like the idea of doing it on canvas!
    @ drummer, thanks!

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