Guest Post: Use Old Party Decorations to Make Beautiful Watercolor Paintings

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recycled watercolors

I am super excited to share this guest post from Jenny Rohrs from Craft Test Dummies! Jenny talk about how to reuse crepe paper party decorations in a cute, fun watercolor project for kids or for grownups. The really cool part? This project doesn’t require any paint! The dye from the crepe paper acts as your watercolors.

This is a craft that I’ve done with the kids, but I’ve also done by myself for fun. It’s also eco-friendly, because you can re-use tissue and crepe paper from parties, presents, and packaging. The idea is to use the wet the tissue paper on watercolor paper and let it “bleed” to create a picture. Wanna learn how?

Recycled Watercolors

All you need are:

  • used tissue and crepe paper that is not water-resistant (this is very important)
  • Larger sheet of watercolor paper (preferred) or drawing paper
  • plant mister with water in it
  • scissors or punches are optional

1. The first thing you need to do is check to see if the tissue paper will bleed when wet. Do a quick swatch test to find out, then take your water-reactive tissue and crepe and tear it into shapes. Or use scissors. Or punches. Let the kids have fun.

2. Next, lay your shapes onto your paper…..and mist away. My kids like this part best.

3. Let the watercolor paper absorb the released dye and dry on it’s own. It’s nice to let it sit overnight. Then you get to see how your “painting” looks!

recycled watercolor before and after

4. Or, if you did something more random, you can cut it up into nice notecards. Here’s how the rainbow pictured at the top turned out. This will make great notecards for letters to grandma!

recycled watercolor rainbow

You can also coach the kids on how water disperses color by comparing paper that was wet FIRST and  THEN the tissue laid down upon it versus dry paper which is wet after. Kind of a little science experiment worked in.

Fun, right??

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