Exploring Familiar Art Materials in Different Ways

Multi Media Art Activities for Kids - An Everyday Story

Oh I really didn’t intend on being away for so long. I came down with bronchitis and it just flattened me. I don’t think I have ever felt so run down for so long. My body was definitely telling me that I needed to slow right down and take the time I needed to get better. 

Jack (6 years) and Sarah (4 years) though have been keeping themselves busy as always. We were at Jack’s martial arts class recently; it’s held in a school gym, and I noticed there was some really beautiful artwork along the back wall. The students had used watercolour paint to create a background and then an overlay of plastic – like OHT paper – with a drawn picture. The effect was really intriguing.

Before his class started, I watched Jack flip open all the sheets of plastic; looking at the painting underneath and then watch the art transform as he closed the plastic again. The drawings were quite detailed – probably done by much older children – but still, I thought it was something we could try at home.

Jack and Sarah are very familiar with liquid watercolours and permanent markers, but adding the plastic overlay was something that we hadn’t tried before.

Multi Media Art Activities for Kids 2 - An Everyday Story

I like art like this which encourages children to work slowly. Firstly Jack and Sarah thought about their background. What colours were they going to use? What would they choose to paint?

Once their background was finished – several backgrounds later – we added the plastic overlay. I didn’t have any OHT paper so used laminating sheets instead. Jack and Sarah then got to work drawing with black permanent marker.

Multi Media Art Activities for Kids 6 - An Everyday StorySarah thought she might paint her drawing but the liquid watercolours soon beaded off the plastic…so she tried acrylics, they worked much better.

I used to worry that I wasn’t any good at art; that I didn’t know about different art materials. But it’s actually a blessing – learning alongside my children. I get to watch them discover how different materials work without me influencing their creativity too much.
Multi Media Art Activities for Kids 3 - An Everyday StoryMulti Media Art Activities for Kids 4 - An Everyday StoryWe’ve been having a lot of fun making overlays and the kids have branched out to include multiple overlays with different pictures on each one; creating more and more elaborate art.

Have a go. It was lots of fun.


We have these liquid watercolours and I can highly recommend them. If you’re outside Australia, here they are on Amazon. The wooden paint holders are from Dragonfly Toys. Again, if you are outside Australia, Nova Natural Toys have similar ones or try your local Steiner school. The acrylic paints are from Officeworks and were only $2 a tube. 

7 Replies to “Exploring Familiar Art Materials in Different Ways”

  1. I love this post Kate! Just a beautiful exploration of the different media. Will need to find our leftover box of OHP sheets this week!

  2. Savannah says:

    This is a great art project. It extends the process time and allows the kids to be invested in their very meaningful work! I did something similar with my preschoolers. They mixed shades of blues and yellows and made these gorgeous seas of green. Then we put cellophane on top and asked them what is green? We had Robin Hood, alligators, frogs, and everything in between. Adding that second layer to their process really got them thinking!

  3. lydia purple says:

    layers… genius! the effect is really intriguing as you said.

  4. I’m so glad to hear your voice again; I have to admit I was a bit worried about you. Glad to hear you are recovered and took the time you needed to rest and recuperate.

    Can’t wait to try this!

  5. Oh the stories, conversation and themes that could come from this activity. Another great post Kate! My kids love the book “Journey” at the moment; the two go beautifully together.

  6. What a super idea! I love how it really encourages thought and care over their creations. It’s also great to see a couple of different mediums used to create such a wonderful affect.

  7. They look awesome – I love the results! Hope you’re feeling better x

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