Article Type Making Art Together Making Art Together Categories Drawing Nature Painting

Winter Snow Painting

Sarah Johnston

Hi! I’m Sarah Johnston and I work part-time in the Studio and conduct Youth Outreach Programs for The Carle. Diana and Meghan invited me to contribute to the Studio’s blog about once a month, so I’m excited to start sharing some of my ideas with you. I have a background in art education and taught elementary art for five years in Chicago before relocating to Western Massachusetts with my husband in 2011. I hope you enjoy my first post!

There is something very magical about making the first footprints, snow angels or other marks in a fresh blanket of snow.  It often makes me think of a blank canvas just waiting for an artwork to emerge. This project captures that magic in a slightly different and more colorful way.  The materials you need to snow paint are ones that you most likely have in your home already, even if you are snowbound. So if your family is looking for something different to do in the snow, give snow painting a try.


The Materials:

  • Condiment style bottles (we purchased ours from Target)
  • Food coloring and/or old and dried out markers
  • Snow!

Part of the fun is mixing up different colors of “paint” into your bottles.  I found that about 4-5 drops of food coloring in around 6 oz. of water will give you bright enough colors.  The process of making the paint could even be used as a quick lesson in color mixing and discovery.  As a former art teacher I often looked for ways in which children could discover on their own how colors mixed to form new colors.  The food coloring box may only give you some of the colors in the rainbow so you might have to mix the other colors.  What happens when you add a drop or two of red into yellow?  What colors do you think you need to mix to make purple?


If you don’t have food coloring in your kitchen I found another way to make quick and easy “paint” when we were purging the Studio’s marker collection.  Older and dried out markers may not have enough color to draw with anymore, but if you drop one or two markers into your bottles with water then you will have some other vibrant colors to paint with.  Once your colors are mixed up it’s time to go outside and try painting on the snow.  The bottles should give enough control to write, draw or just spatter like Jackson Pollock.



Have you used old markers successfully in art projects? I’m always looking for ways to reuse regularly discarded materials, so I’m going to continue exploring the possibilities of reusing old markers.  Hopefully I’ll share with you my findings!


A smiling Art Studio educator with blond hair in front of a colorful backdrop.

Sarah Johnston