Materials needed for wet on wet watercolor set up:


~ Jars to hold the paint~


Little, little baby food juice jars to hold the paint

~Painting Boards~

These boards were cut from a single sheet of plywood some fourteen years ago. They measure 11×20 inches and have rounded edges. They have not warped.

We brushed them with linseed oil after they were cut. They took a good week to dry  and gave off a strong smell while drying and for a while after. They could be rubbed with a lovely beeswax polish instead. My guess is the linseed oil really penetrated the wood and has kept them from warping.

~Paint Brushes~

A large flat brush for yourself and one for each child. Look for the one inch flat brush about 8 or 9 inches long. A good paintbrush is a very worthy investment and if not left to soak in water, will last for 15 plus years. My brushes, above, have soaked in water and lost all their enamel paint which I removed as soon as it began to chip off. They are at least fourteen  years old and were made in Germany, you can find them here.

~ Paint~

Paint: Stockmar paints are associated with wet on wet painting because they are so beautiful and true and will make secondary colors with mixing. The colors you see below are :


Gold Yellow

Carmine Red*

also good are:

Prussian blue

Lemon Yellow*


* is best for mixing to obtain other colors

Another excellent (and likely to be available locally) source of water color paint is the Windsor & Newton Cotman Series. They come in little tubes:


Cadmium Red

Cadmium Yellow

I like to add Rose Madder at Valentine’s, Cobalt blue is also good substitue for Ultramarine and has a different feeling.

Three colors of paint (unless you want the Rose Madder) to create all sorts of color. You and the children will experience  color arising when ” bold red has a dance with mellow blue ” or sassy yellow comes out to play with shy blue and they dance in the golden light on the sea until green meadows emerge.

~Water Jars~

I was taught to use a large clear water glass so the child can have the experience of changing color in the water. We were told to use the largest size that could be managed by the child. With wee littles I use a small mason jar, as pictured above. With grade school children I use a large mason jar.


Paper, the better the paper the better the results. When we paint on painting day, we use one sheet of paper each and really take our time with it. This size sheet is large for a small child and takes time to cover with paint. I like this Strathmore 400 Series 140 lb cold press Watercolor paper, it is 11 x 15 inches and of good substance. This is a baseline for quality paper. Heavier weights will provide a better surface.

Round off the edges and cut off the tabs where it was attached to the spiral binder.

~ Sponge or Cloth ~

You need a little sponge, this is a big one cut up

or some clothes ~ this is an old bedsheet

~Smocks ~

old button down shirts or painting aprons for all
And now on to the painting, a tutorial here.


Lisa Boisvert Mackenzie is the Editor and Publisher of The Wonder of Childhood and has spent the past fifteen years with one of her own children in early childhood (under seven years of age.)  She worked with children and their families for the past twenty two years, initially as a homebirth midwife. Lisa’s home based program The Children’s Garden began twelve years ago on a remote tropical island in the Pacific Ocean. Lisa’s current focus is on supporting parents of very young children and exploring the needs of boys in relationship to the Waldorf curriculum and ways of implementing support for those needs within the Waldorf curriculum. She lives with her family in Vermont. Lisa blogs at Celebrate the Rhythm of Life, offers an online program to support parents, teachers and childcare providers with daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal rhythm called Celebrate the Rhythm of Life through the Year, and she hosts a free and open online discussion group for parents, teachers and childcare providers of young children here.


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