Frozen Watercolours (AKA Icey Paint) are used to create some of Bean's favourite art projects. They are incredibly simple to make, all you need is a Popsicle (or ice cube) tray, water and food colouring (or liquid watercolours). We used McCormick food colouring (red, blue, yellow and green) as well as neon colours (purple, pink, light blue and light green) and mixed colours to make orange. You don't need a lot of food colouring, a few drops is plenty enough. We used three-four and it went a long way. The colours were really vibrant and pretty. There is no need to stir the colours before you put the popsicle sticks in the water, because they will mix together on their own. Then you just let them freeze until they are ready.
Just keep in mind that they will begin melting as soon as you start using them. Which is obviously what you want, since you will be using them to paint. I recommend using watercolour paper and a vinyl tablecloth or some kind of tray to catch any drips. We typically use medium surface drawing paper and sometimes it is too delicate for watercolours and it will bleed through. Also, an apron or smock will be helpful so they don't stain their clothes. Which is something that I'm not too worried about, so I don't typically stress over it. I learned early on that my children are body painters and I can't stop them. So after they are done painting their pictures and their bodies, they take a quick dip in the tub. Some warm water and soap takes the colours right off their skin and then I just soak their clothes if there's any colours I need to get out.
Despite being food colouring, the colours are always really bright and lovely! Some day we will get around to trying them with liquid watercolours and see how they differ.
It takes Munchkin a few minutes to warm up to these paints before he will really begin using them. He has to look at each of them and then he finally chooses a colour to start with.
There's a wide range of colours that can be created by mixing them. The kids end up doing this just by putting the frozen watercolour pops into a different cube in the tray, because the colours melt and leave some colour behind. They managed to make a blackish colour by mixing the blues and purples.
If you leave the pops to melt on the paper, they will create small puddles as they melt which you will want to avoid if you are using a thin paper. If you don't intend to save the pictures, then that is fine and you can continue painting! You can also just spread out the paint and that works just as well. :)
The popsicle sticks really help. Originally we just filled the tray, let them freeze and popped them out when they were ready. Bean loved playing with them that way, but Munchkin wouldn't touch them because they were so cold. So we started adding popsicle sticks and since then we haven't gone back. This allows them to hold them without getting cold hands... And also keeps their hands from getting dirty... for the first few minutes. :) We also reuse the same popsicle sticks and if there are any pops remaining when we are done, we just put them back in the tray and freeze them again for another day, so it's a pretty frugal activity.
The pictures they paint are always so bright and pretty!
J was also here when we did this activity and she enjoyed creating a few rainbows.
Bean enjoyed mixing the colours.
And after he was finished, Munchkin used their Play-Doh princess castle to try and make princes out of the leftover icey paints.
These paintings came out really great!
After about an hour the ice had melted enough that the sticks fell out, so I put what was left of the Icey Paint in the ice tray and put it back in the freezer. Tomorrow I will let Bean play with them again, this time I will put the paper in the bottom of a plastic container and put the Icey Paint inside on top of it. She likes to shake the bucket around which will make the ice cubes streak across the paper. She likes watching the colours appear. :)