Andrea Mulder-Slater: The Art of Childhood


Make Beautiful Watercolour Valentine Cards With Your Kids

Easy Mixed Media Art Lesson for Valentine's Day

Doodle your way to a colourful work of Valentine's Day art

Hearts appear often in works of art. And why not? They're easily recognizable as the universal symbol of love. Plus, they're just plain fun to make.

To celebrate Valentine's Day, I thought it would be fun to share a cool mixed media art project your kids can do alone, or side by side with you. I'm a big fan of mixed media and while it may sound complicated, all it means is that you are using more than one art medium - in this case, watercolour paint and markers (and paper too, of course).

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Before you begin, simply gather some thick paper (ideally watercolour paper, but Bristol/poster board is okay too), a tray of watercolours, a couple of paintbrushes, a container of water, a black Sharpie marker, a pair of scissors, and a glue stick.

If you've got no time to pull out the paints, skip the first three steps for a quick n' easy version of this project.

First, dip your paintbrush into the water and wet the paper. And when I say wet, I mean wet. We’re talking dripping.

First, wet the paper with water.

Next, choose a colour and add it to the wet paper. Watch as the paint bursts and travels where you least expect it. Embrace the total lack of control.

Select a colour.Start painting!

Then, select another colour, allowing it to run into the first. This is good. You are winning.

Add another colour.

As soon as the paper is full of colour, don't keep messing with it. Just let it be and set it aside to dry.

While you're waiting, go grab yourself a cup of tea, or maybe make some popcorn, or chocolate-covered potato chips.

When you come back, don't panic if the paper has curled itself up like a maple leaf in October, just grab a heavy book and put some pressure on that sucker (when it is almost - but not quite - dry).

All right, the next step is to draw a bunch of hearts on white paper using a black Sharpie marker. Plain printer paper is ideal. 

Draw some hearts.

Then, doodle inside the hearts using whatever lines and shapes come to mind like squiggles, X's and O's, flowers, spirals, or zigzags. Because the maker is permanent, there’s no going back. So, if you don’t like what you’ve done, simply change it into something else. Working this way can be stressful, but it can also be incredibly freeing.

It’s also how you can end up with a heart that looks like a chicken - which is all kinds of awesome.

Doodle on the heart shapes.

When the doodling is done, cut out the hearts and have a look at what you've got.

Cut out the hearts.

Doodle hearts!

Heart cut outs and watercolour paintings.

Now it's time to arrange the hearts on your dry watercolour paintings and glue them in place like so...

Mixed media heart art.

And, like so...

Mixed media heart art.

You can use plain construction paper as a background for your doodle hearts. In fact, little folded over pieces of paper can become instant Valentine's Day cards. So easy. So sweet. See the chicken?

Mini mixed media Valentines.

Give it a try and see what develops!

Mixed media Valentine's Day art lesson

Mixed media Valentine's Day art lesson