Inspiring children one color at a time

Watercolor Jelly Fish Art Video

By on Mar 20, 2011 | 16 comments

Here is another art video made during my last class with my fourth grade students. This is a super fast and fun lesson that involved drippy watercolors. Mistakes are encouraged and enthusiasm expected. All you’ll need is some watercolor paper, liquid watercolors (if you don’t have liquid watercolors, try food coloring. I hear it works!) and some chalk pastels. Brands don’t matter. Use whatever you have.


  1. So here I am, almost Spring, pouring rain, leaking windows and I clicked onto your Jelly Fish video. Simple directions, restful music, great lesson (I just have to buy a couple more colors of liquid watercolor for the kiddos), enthusiastic artists — your video TOTALLY changed my mood — THANKS, again!!


    March 20, 2011

  2. What an expressive video once again! Loved the music as well as the chance to see the painting in action.


    March 20, 2011

  3. Hi Patty, I loved your video.
    Are you using a flip camera to film your kids? How wonderful to see them working and the music is so fun, especially the bubbles in the beginning.
    I noticed you are using plastic handled brushes. I made the mistake of buying wood handled paint brushes and they are peeling so badly there are flakes of blue everywhere. I wish now I would have paid a little more and bought plastic handled ones. I use clear plastic tumbler cups for water cups (grocery store) because they are squatty and wider at the top and don’t seem to tip over as easily. I just reuse them. Do you use margarine tubs or tupperware bowls for your water cups and also do you have students share the water cups or one per person?
    Thanks again for everything you post, it is all so helpful.


    March 21, 2011

    • I use a regular cameron (Sony Cybershot) that has a movie option. Just discovered the movie button actually! As for the water, I set out 2 tubs per table (4-6 kids share). There is really no need for every kid to have their own supplies. Sharing is easy. I use any container that has a big, flat bottom for water. Bowls tend to flip. Thanks for your comments!


      March 21, 2011

    • Robin, I use recycled large yogurt containers (32 oz size) for water cups that are donated, and then I only fill them halfway–they’re the perfect size, and extremely sturdy, and free!

      I also make 4 kids share their water, but I let them change it when they need to (I just have a “half full of cold water” rule).


      March 24, 2011

      • Thanks Anoush, your and Patty’s suggestion of sharing water tubs sounds much simpler than filling 35 cups and refilling between classes. One of my biggest time sponges!
        I found some low tubs at the Dollar store and am going to experiment next painting class.
        Your rainy landscape picture sound wonderful, is there a way to see an example? What did you mean by two brushes? So did you paint the clouds and then tip the paper like Patty did and the paint dripped from the clouds like rain?


        March 26, 2011

        • I’m having camera/computer issues right now so I don’t have photos, but I had them hold and dip two fat camelhair brushes in the water at one time to increase the amount of watery paint that was loaded onto the paper for the clouds (since I used cake tempera, not liquid watercolors, we needed to get more water in the mix!). I had them dab clouds, then make little “fingers” or “teeth” at the bottom to give each drip somewhere to start. Then they tipped and tapped just as in Patty’s video, only instead of jellyfish they made rainclouds! I also did the rainy day painting today with some other second graders, and we only had 35 min. so we did sketchy marker landscapes and painted clouds over them (instead of pastels). I hope that helps!


          March 29, 2011

  4. I am so glad you shared this! It’s been rainy here all week, and the kids have been going stir crazy from inside recess (among other things). I did the jellyfish with my third graders (they LOVED it!) in one 35 min. class period (sans chalk), with my kinders as a reward in about 20 minutes (sans chalk or splatter), and I used the concept to do a rainy day landscape with my second graders in one 55 min. class period.

    For the rainy day landscape, we used chalk pastels to lightly draw a landscape on grey paper and rubbed it in to create a soft misty effect. Then rainclouds pouring rain all across the top! It was quite successful, and very appropriate! (I used cake tempera with lots of water in it for all of these, as I don’t have liquid watercolors at the moment. I let my second graders use two brushes at once to compensate…)


    March 24, 2011

  5. AWESOME!!!! i loved the video!


    March 29, 2011

  6. I love the watercolor jellyfish!

    I have not seen the video yet as our school system blocks Youtube. I found a great jellyfish video on teacher tube and posted the link in the above website space.

    Would you be able to post your jellyfish video on teacher tube also?

    Julie Leatherwood

    April 15, 2011

    • TeacherTube sounds great. I need to get on it!


      April 16, 2011

      • Just tried to download my videos on teacherTube but no luck. Wouldn’t accept my format. I don’t know if it’s worth trying to figure out.


        April 17, 2011

  7. I have just completed this activity with my Year 5 students. It was fantastic for getting them to ‘loosen up’ and to just have fun…
    thankyou :)

    Danielle Campbell

    June 27, 2011

  8. I absolutely love this jellyfish water color tutorial! These are beautiful!



    November 17, 2011

  9. Quickie Question: Do the kids add the chalk pastels while the paint is still wet? I guess I need to try it on watercolor paper to see what happens. Beautiful results!

    Cindy Friday

    August 1, 2014

    • Dry watercolor is best, but it tends to dry fast on watercolor paper.

      Patty Palmer

      August 2, 2014


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