Faux Metallic Watercolor Painting

Create sophisticated looking faux metallic watercolor paintings with a toddler using markers, glue, water, and transfer foil.

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The walls in our new home are blindingly white and bare, so I enlisted the Dumpling’s help in crafting a couple of pieces to fill the void. To add a touch of sophistication and elegance to my two year old’s compositions, we dabbled with transfer foils to create a series of faux metallic watercolor paintings!

The foil, however, needed to be handled in very specific ways so I needed to figure out how to “toddler-proof” this activity by incorporating my toddler’s imperfect (read: sloppy) techniques into the artwork.



Step 1: Scribble on the plastic bag with markers.

Step 2: Add drops of water. I needed just enough to dilute the marker strokes to form small, distinctive puddles. To control the amount being added, I gave the Dumpling a wet cotton ball and told her to squeeze the water out.

Step 3: Lay the white paper on top of the plastic bag to soak up the colors.

Step 4: Remove the white paper and let it air dry.

We repeated steps 1 through 4 multiple times until I got the layers of colors that I wanted.

Step 5: Add drops of glue across the canvas. The basic premise behind transfer foil is applying some type of adhesive—such as glue, tape, or heat and pressure, onto your artwork for the foil to stick on. Out of all the conventional methods, glue seemed the most appropriate for a two year old. The Dumpling, however, still hasn’t yet developed the self-control to stop squeezing the glue bottle when I ask her to, so I used the cotton ball trick again by soaking it with glue mixed with just a dash of water. Be careful not to dilute the glue too much, else it wouldn’t be sticky at all!

Step 6: Place the foil on top of the glue with the shiny, metallic side facing up. To help the transfer process, I gently burnished the foil with the edge of a credit card.

Step 7: Let the glue dry completely before peeling the foil off. Because of the glue’s weak adhesive property, the foil didn’t peel off cleanly and created an abstract “watercolor” effect.

I cut the out the piece into four and added a photo mat around each. They’re so shiny and pretty!


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