This is a lovely simple process art project that all ages can get involved with. Food colouring is such a useful stuff, and not just for cooking! You can create beautiful art with it and it is a much cheaper substitute for liquid water colour in any art project for children. As well as using it on standard copier paper, we also experimented with water colour paper, kitchen roll and canvas boards.
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What You Need To Use Good Colour on Wet Paper
- Paper or other painting surface – we used paper, kitchen roll, canvas board and water colour paper
- Food Colouring – I have this set* and have used it for lots of projects
- A spray bottle filled with water – little spray bottles like this* are great and can also be used for keeping cool in the summer, if you have Aquabeads or similar you may already have one
- Some bowls – Or other containers to mix your colours with
- Some droppers – you could also use a small spoon but droppers* are fun for kids, they can do pretend science experiments with bicarbonate of soda, white vinegar and food colouring and they make great bath toys
The first thing you need to do is select the colours you want. You can then pop a few drops of each colour in to your bowls and add a few teaspoons of water. This will give you a good colour without using up too much of your food colouring.
We made up six colours, a red, a blue, a green, a yellow, an orange and a pink. This gave us a good range to work with. We ran out of a few colours but it doesn’t take long to mix up some more.
Allocate a dropper or spoon to each colour to avoid mixing them up.
Putting the Colour on the Paper
Once your ready to start, lightly spray your paper or other surface with water. You want to make it damp all over. If you’re using kitchen roll, you don’t need to spray it as the colours ill spread and bend anyway.
Once your surface is damp, use the dropper to drip colour on to it. The colour will spread on the damp surface. Choose another colour and add drops of that, the colours will start to blend together. We experimented with using just two colours and lots of colours and achieved attractive results with both.
You need to use quite a lot of colour so keep going until your surface is completely covered. We found the that they water colour paper curled up when it got wet but dried flat. The regular paper wrinkled a bit but we were able to flatten it when it dried. We weren’t keen on the results of the canvas boards though. The colour seemed to soak into the board rather than blending.
Its important to note that, with the exception of the kitchen roll, the surfaces will change a lot as they dry. I was initially unimpressed with out results but as they dried, they blended together more which made them look much better.
Uses for your Creations
We used some of our paper as wrapping paper for a Father’s Day present which worked really well. We plan to use the kitchen roll in place of tissue paper next time we pack something delicate. You could also cut shapes from the finished pieces and use them to make greetings cards.
If you’d like to try something else with your food colouring you could have a go at shaving foam marbling. For a similar project, check out our process art with a credit card post. You can find lots more ways to use food colouring in art in this post.
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