Get ready to be dazzled making wet-on-wet watercolor planets! These are quick, simple, and absolute stunners every time.
Your little astronauts are going to love wet-on-wet watercolor planets
If you have watercolors, paper, and water, you have the ingredients to make the most beautiful planet art in the universe!
The wet-on-wet watercolor technique is as simple as gently adding watercolors to a puddle of water.
When they touch, it’s magical. The colors spread and diffuse and mix while wet, and they dry absolutely beautifully.
Related: Our GIANT 10-foot coloring banner is out-of-this-world fun!
Wet-on-wet watercolor planets are process art, not a craft
Crafts may have their time and place, but we love these planets because they’re process art.
Since they’re process art, no two pieces are the same. So even if you make a planet with the same colors, they won’t look identical, and that’s where the good stuff comes from.
Kids should be able to identify which piece of art is theirs when mixed with others, and they’ll be able to spot their planet from across the galaxy. 😉
Looking for more watercolor art activities? These are gorgeous:
- Sun and Moon Watercolor Project – Make and Takes
- Glue Drip Watercolors – The Pinterested Parent
- Watercolor Dot Art – The Artful Parent
- Jar of water
- Paintbrush – ideally, one large/fluffy one and one smaller one, but you can make whatever you have work!
- Thick paper – such as watercolor paper or cardstock
- Black permanent marker
1. Invite your child to draw a planet shape with the black permanent marker. I like drawing a circle first and then adding rings. However, not all planets have rings, so a simple circle works great, too!
2. Using a large/fluffy paintbrush, invite your child to add a lot of water into the center of their planet. You want to have enough water that it is shiny and visibly wet—usually, the more water, the better for this project. Add more than you think you need, and stay inside the circle.
3. Next, take the smaller paintbrush, get some color on it from your watercolors, and gently touch it to the water. When the color from the paintbrush touches the water, it will spread and look like it’s bursting into the water!
4. Let dry completely. As it dries, sometimes I take a towel and blot off the excess water if I see a large pool. You don’t have to do this, and I don’t always do this, but it’s an option if you have a very wet planet.
Ta-da! If your child makes a planet without rings that can be easily cut out, these would also be beautiful cut out and glued onto black/dark paper as the sky.
What paper is best for wet-on-wet watercolor?
In a dream world, we could always use watercolor paper when painting on watercolors. But, it can get pricy. In the classroom, we don’t use watercolor paper every time we use watercolor paints. Instead, we usually save it for special projects.
I also did this project on cardstock to compare, and while it’s not as perfect as watercolor paper (it looks scrunched and bent when wet), it’s still just fine when it dries!
This type of project would not work well on regular printer paper or construction paper as the paper is thin and will soak up your puddle of water too quickly. The wet-on-wet technique won’t work if there isn’t a nice, juicy puddle of water to touch the paints to.
What if the colors stop “bursting” in the water after a while?
It’s totally fine!
After a while, the water will soak into the paper and the colors won’t burst in the water, but rather will sit in little colorful puddles.
At this stage, sometimes I like to:
- hold the paper in my hand and rotate it around to make the paints move
- use the paintbrush to mix the colors together gently
It depends on the paper and how much water & paint you use, but I would leave them for at least an hour.
ABSOLUTELY! I do wet-on-wet art with liquid watercolors all of the time.
It can be, but I wait until the price is right for me. I love the Canson watercolor paper, but I wait until I find it on sale for around $8 and then stock up. Sometimes the price fluctuates to $15 and $20 for the same exact paper and I wait for the price to go back down.
You HAVE to make wet-on-wet watercolor planets
You simply must! They. Are. Gorgeous.
Anytime we do wet-on-wet watercolor art with kids, everyone loses their minds at both the process and the stunning pieces we have at the end.
The only hard part is stopping because you simply won’t want to! 🪐🤩