Over the last couple of years, my daughter has really begun to enjoy using watercolors more and more in her artwork. As a result, we’ve experimented with everything from watercolor pencils to the more expensive tubes of watercolor concentrate often used by more experienced artists. We’ve found that we both really enjoy the soft colors of the watercolor washes mixed in jars that are found in Waldorf-inspired schools and art programs, but our local toy shop only stocks the materials for making those washes in a few colors and honestly, they smell terrible when left to sit for any length of time. So, we decided to see if we could get a similar effect using materials that we already had on our art supply shelf at home. It turns out that crushed chalk pastels make wonderful watercolor washes and that it is easy to create them in a variety of colors with minimal effort. Read on to find out how!
- Chalk pastels in a variety of colors (make sure that they are chalk and not oil!)
- Mortar and pestle (or another way of crushing up the pastels)
- Small, clean jars or containers with tight fitting lids
To begin, set out your materials and choose a color of pastel to make into paint. Break off a piece of pastel about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch long.
Using the mortar and pestle, crush the pastel bit into a fine powder. Although the mortar and pestle is good fun here, you really don’t need it. Something like a rubber mallet and a plastic bag would work equally well, even if it seems somewhat less elegant.
Put the pastel powder into the jar and add water to fill the jar about 3/4 full. Screw on the lid and shake well until the powder is dissolved into the water.
And, that’s it! Make as many colors as you like and then get busy with the painting portion of the program. I think these subtle colors look particularly nice on thick watercolor paper or on pictures that have been drawn in with dark colored marker or crayons.