Watercolor Resist with Markers and Crayons: Discovery at Home

Materials Needed:

  • Various colored markers
  • Various colored crayons (white preferred)
  • Plastic baggy
  • Paper
  • Plastic cup with water
  • Paint brush
  • Optional: use wet rag to wet down paper
  • Optional: Salt


  1. Grab a piece of paper and Choose a crayon, this could be any color but white is preferred so you can see your drawing come to life!
  2. Use the crayon to make a design on the paper. You could make a specific design or scribble whatever you like
  3. Lightly wet your paper with a paint brush or a rag.
  4. Using your color markers, scribble on the plastic baggy using different colors.
  5. Open the bag, stick your hand inside and press the bag on your wetted paper, this turns the markers into water colors and blends the colors together.
  6. Press where you like on your paper, add more marker to your baggy if you like. Once the marker is applied you will begin to see your resist drawing!

How to Expand it:

  • Use salt to add your painting while its still wet to see an interesting chemical reaction!
  • Try the activity on different materials: cardboard, glossy magazine paper, aluminum foil, and observe the differences.

What do kids learn?

  • Interactions between materials. The resist works because wax, which is made from oil, will not mix with the water-based ink of the markers. Oil and water don't mix because they contain different kinds of molecules and will not bond with each other.
    • Psssst...for another really cool at-home experiment that uses oil and water resistance, check out Spooky Lava Lamps!
  • Art encourages symbolic thinking, or the ability to think about one thing representing something else. When small children begin to connect a house on paper to the house they live in, they start building the connections in the brain that allow for reading and learning later.
  • Art Vocabulary:
    • Negative space: The space around and between the parts of an image.
    • Resist: an art technique that uses layers of different materials to make a design in negative space.
    • Wax: The material crayons are made of, water and wax do not mix because wax is made from oil.