Two Layer Painting

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Students will learn about warm and cool colors, as they experiment with color mixing in layers.

By Elizabeth Kinney [Elizabeth is an art instructor at the Wolf Creek YMCA in Maumee, OH ]

Note from Elizabeth: I came up with this art project during a hectic week when I did not have a lot of time to pull different art supplies for my many art classes. This is a great project for art students of all ages! It may sound complicated, but worth it!

What You Need:

  • tag board or heavy stock poster paper approx. 8 x 10″; 1 sheet per student
  • aluminum foil (heavy duty works better)
  • white tissue paper; 1 large sheet per student
  • glue sticks
  • white glue
  • tape
  • tempera paint in blue, green and violet*
    (*Mix each color with a little clear dish detergent or bubble stuff before hand. This helps the paint stick to the Aluminum foil.)
  • liquid watercolor paint in red, yellow and orange
  • paint brushes and/or drinking straws
  • glitter (optional)
  • newspaper to cover table
  • Warm and Cool Colors Printable

What You Do:

  • Cover tables with newspaper.
  • Pass paper out to each student.
  • Tear aluminum foil in lengths that are slightly larger than paper, (approx. 10 x 12″); one per student.
  • Pass out glue sticks and have students glue aluminum foil to paper, shiny side up.
  • Fold aluminum foil over edges and tape to back of paper.
  • Discuss cool colors. Why are they called the cool colors? (see handout)
  • Let the students creatively paint the aluminum foil entirely with the cool colors.

Students should be encouraged to paint large areas of the foil paper, instead of a “picture”-type painting. A little bit of foil showing through the paint is desirable.

  • Pass out tissue paper to students. Have them carefully ball up the paper and then open the paper again. Do not smooth out wrinkles!
  • Have students carefully press the tissue paper onto the wet aluminum foil painting. DO NOT SMOOTH OUT! You want “peaks and valleys” of tissue paper. Fold over the ends just as you did the aluminum foil to the paper and tape as before.
  • Pass out the watercolor warm colors – discuss and explain. (see handout)
  • Have the children drip the water color on to the tissue paper. The areas with cool color paint under the tissue paper will “mix” with the warm color on top. The areas with only foil underneath will give a bright, metallic look and look “electrified”. The peaks of tissue paper will hold the warm colors unchanged. It is exciting to watch the watercolor run down and create interesting areas of light and dark.
  • If you have time, have students use glue and glitter to highlight less interesting areas. They may drip, drizzle or paint the glue on. This is a good time to discuss glitter as an accent to art projects and not just another layer that covers up the art underneath.