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Watercolor Wash Collage Papers

Diana MacKenzie

Recently we had perfect weather for making some fun summer outdoor art here at The Carle!  One Sunday a month we have an additional art activity in The Studio for visitors to try.  This month we tried the perfect project for a sunny summer afternoon, creating colorful collage papers.

What you’ll need for this project:

  • Color-diffusing paper or coffee filter paper
  • Washable markers
  • Liquid watercolors
  • Spray bottles filled with water or liquid watercolors
  • Clothes line or place to dry wet papers

Special Sunday July - 3

Visitors started in The Studio drawing pictures with magic markers onto color-diffusing paper (very similar to coffee filters).

Special Sunday July - 7

The next step was bring the drawings outside and get them all wet! Using a variety of liquid watercolors in spray bottles and pipettes to add colors.  The magic markers and watercolors mixed together and created beautiful washy designs.

Special Sunday July - 1

Special Sunday July-6

Special Sunday July - 4

We hung the wet papers in the sunshine….


and in a little while they were dry ready to be cut and made into collages!

Special Sunday July- 8

The paper we used for this project was donated to us on a giant roll from a mystery source, but you could get similar effects from coffee filter paper or pre-packaged color diffusing papers from any art supply catalog.  Once this type of light-weight paper is dry, it is thin enough to be cut and glued using just liquid starch glue.  Combine handmade papers with store-bought tissue papers at home to create unique collages, cards or gifts.

What’s your family’s favorite outdoor art project?


Diana, smiling wearing an orange scarf and brown shirt.

Diana MacKenzie

Public Art Program Educator from 2007-2016, Diana has a BFA in Printmaking from Syracuse University and creates mixed-media works inspired by her travels, combining her interests in printmaking and sculpture. She received her M.A.T. from Mount Holyoke College in June 2017, and continues teaching visual arts to children and adults.