Students explore a variety of painting techniques using a range of brushes and colours.

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 1 to Grade 10


Art Techniques
Language Arts


blend bristle brushstroke colour dry brush ferrule handle opaque texture transparent value


Crayola Washable Paint Crayola Paint Brushes Water Containers Paper Towels Bristol Board - 30.5 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") - 1 per student Newspapers to Cover the Desks

Shop Crayola Products


EXPLORING WASHABLE PAINT – Blending, Colour - Step One

Step One

  1. Choose a brush.
  2. Choose a colour.
  3. Begin by making some free brushstrokes. 
EXPLORING WASHABLE PAINT – Blending, Colour - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Choose a new brush.
  2. Choose a new colour.
  3. Work the new colour into the first colour to see what happens.
  4. Continue to play with the colours and brush strokes.
  5. Add layers of colour.
EXPLORING WASHABLE PAINT – Blending, Colour - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Be spontaneous.
  2. Let your imagination tell you what to do.
  3. Try new combinations of colours.
  4. Make things look different than what you have already done.
EXPLORING WASHABLE PAINT – Blending, Colour - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Try pressing the end of the brush handle into wet paint.
EXPLORING WASHABLE PAINT – Blending, Colour - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Try painting over an area with hardly any paint on your brush.
  2. This is called dry brush technique.
  3. It leaves scratchy lines.
EXPLORING WASHABLE PAINT – Blending, Colour - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Use contrasting colours.
  2. Vary the pressure of your brush.
  3. Notice what happens when you press down hard.
  4. And when you use a light touch.
EXPLORING WASHABLE PAINT – Blending, Colour - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Notice what happens when you blend white paint right into another colour, blue, for example.
  2. And when you paint it lightly, in streaks over a surface.
EXPLORING WASHABLE PAINT – Blending, Colour - Step Eight

Step Eight

  1. Try making different textures with the brush.
  2. Let the brushstrokes show.
  3. Try painting with a very dry brush over textured areas.
  4. See what happens when you dip the end of the brush handle into paint and press it onto the paper.
EXPLORING WASHABLE PAINT – Blending, Colour - Step Nine

Step Nine

  1. Notice your work area.
  2. See how helpful the newspaper was to dab off paint and test colours.
  3. The plastic lids are really useful for keeping black away from your other colours.
  4. View your painting with fresh eyes.
    - What does it make you think of? 
    - What do you see that makes you say that?
    - What area attracts your attention first? Why?
    - What do you like best about the painting? Why?

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • use paintbrushes to create a variety of effects with washable paints;
  • blend paint colours to create a range of values and hues;
  • build on their own and others’ discoveries to generate new ideas;
  • explain their process;
  • express opinions about the works;
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the paintings.


Set up a work area that students may visit when they are finished other work early, or need a brain break. Have students:

  • set a personal challenge and then meet it, e.g., 
    - Make a strip that starts with red paint at one end and blue paint at the other and they gradually blend together.
  • post their experiments with a brief explanation of their process on a central bulletin board so they can learn from each other;
  • find exmples of artworks that have similar effects as those they have created and add them to the bulletin board.


  1. Place students into groups so they can share ideas.
  2. Cover tables with newspaper to keep the tables clean and provide a space to try out paint colours and dab off excess paint.
  3. Use the Get Ready to Paint guide available this website to organize paint kits for each group.
  4. Cut Bristol board to desired size, e.g., 25.4 cm x 25.4 cm (10" x 10").
  5. Print copies of the Clean-Up sheet - one for each group. (Downloads - Washable_Paint.pdf)


  1. Explain that washable paint is semi-opaque so it can be used in a variety of ways.
  2. When first applied it is transparent, but as you add layers of paint it becomes more opaque. 
  3. Ask students to share what they know about painting in general.
  4. Point out the parts of a paintbrush:
    The bristles - the hair of the brush;
    The ferrule - the metal part that holds the bristles together; 
    The handle - the wooden or plastic part that you hold when painting. 
  5. Ask them to try to keep the paint on the bristles, not the ferrule.
  6. Remind them that they can use the handle of the brush to make marks with too.
  7. Explain that today's class is for experimenting with washable paint and brushes. 
    - It's a time to play with ideas and see what happens.
    - They should try to get as many different effects as they can, share ideas and learn from each other.
  8. Prior to beginning the painting lesson ask students to number off.
  9. Give each table a clean-up sheet that indicates the job each number must do. (Downloads - Washable_Paint.pdf)
  10. Before starting the challenge go through each job, for example, 'Hands up if you are number 3 and 4? Your job is to wash the brushes and return them to the bucket at the back of the room.’
    - This will ensure that everyone participates in the clean-up and that they know exactly what they have to do when you call for clean up at the end of the class.
  11. Ask one student from each table to get a paint kit. 
    - Ask this student to be responsible for returning the kit in good condition at the end of the lesson. 
  12. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Use washable paints.
  2. Use paint brush marks to create lots of different effects 
  3. Experiment with blending to create light, dark and new colours.
  4. Experiment with lots of different ideas.
  5. Explain your process.
  6. Express opinions about the works.
  7. Support your ideas with evidence found in the works.

The Process

  1. Demonstrate how to begin by thinking out loud, for example,
    Hmm, I think I'll choose red paint, and this nice fat brush.
    Let's see what happens when I do this..... and so on.
  2. Encourage students to be intuitive and thoughtful at the same time. Making a mark freely, then thinking about what to do next.
  3. Encourage them to 'listen to the marks they make and let the painting tell them what to do next.'
  4. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  5. Observe students as they work.
  6. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.
  7. Part way through the class ask students to do a walk about to see what others have done, ask questions and come back to their painting with fresh eyes.


  1. Place students into small groups. 
  2. Ask them to: 
    Talk about how various parts of the images make them feel. 
    Compare their work and describe to each other what they did to get certain effects.
    Consider how doing these experiments might help them if they were painting a picture.
  3. Ask some students to share their ideas with the whole class.


  1. Have students cut their experimental painting into rectangles about 8.5 cm x 10 cm (3.3"x 5") to form a set of 6 cards.
  2. Ask them to look at each one individually and answer these questions on the back:
    What does this card remind me of? Why?
    How could I use this effect in a picture? Why?
    What else could I do with this technique?
  3. Provide students with envelopes for storing their cards.
  4. Encourage students to add to their collection with other experiments, and to use the cards for inspiration throughout other painting lessons.