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Wildflower Watercolor Prints

Wildflower Watercolor Prints

5x5 Gelli™ Plates

Liquid watercolor in spray bottles

Permanent, fine point, black markers

Small, flat or round brushes

Heavy weight, multi media paper, I used Canson™ Acrylic 140lb

In this Gelli™ Plate printing process students used liquid watercolor in a spray bottle to build layers of color on heavyweight paper as a background for a wildflower drawing. I did this lesson with upper elementary & middle school aged students, but it could easily be adapted into a larger scale project for high schoolers.

Step 1:

Students are shown line drawings of wildflowers from various sources as we review parts of the flower and make some science connections in art class.

Step 2:

I let students choose from several different wild flower line drawing to use as a guide for their project. We chatted for a few minutes about contour drawings & how to create them without lifting our marker. We then traced the line drawing with our index finger without lifting it to practice before ever getting our permanent markers out.

Step 3:

Each student was given a 5x5 Gelli Plate & each table had access to various colors of liquid watercolor in spray bottles along with several large piece of white posterboard to serve as splat mats. Students lightly sprayed their printing plate with the liquid watercolor then laid their 6x6 white paper over it, rubbing firmly for several seconds to allow the paper to absorb the watercolor. Then students lift their paper to reveal the watercolor background.

Step 4:

While background prints are drying students use a pencil & paper to practice contour drawing the wildflower they chose.

Step 5:

Students completed their contour drawing wildflower line drawing using a black permanent marker on their dry watercolor background print.

*NOTE: Steps 3 and 4 are easily reversed depending on your class time & management style.

Step 6:

Once the contour drawing were complete we sprayed a drop or two of their chosen watercolors onto the Gelli™ plate to use as a palette. Students very loosely filled in the petals, stem & leaves of each flower with a tiny brush & the tiny drops of watercolor on their palettes. I also kept a spray bottle of clear water at each table and a few white paper towels. If students needed to change colors I would have them spray their brush with water over the paper towel & wipe it clean rather than everyone running to the sink. (Then I save those paper towels for collage & ATC projects later in the year)

I LOVE that we used the Gelli™plates as our palette in this step because clean up was SO easy! No washing palettes or spilled watercolors. And, if you have back to back classes working on this step, they can be left on the tables for the next group to use the remaining watercolor! Make it easy on yourself & the kids!


Look at those wonderful edges the watercolors created on the Gelli™ prints, this lesson could easily be turned into postage stamp design lesson.

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