What? Paint without paint?
Yes. It can be done with a most humble product: water-soluble oil pastel.
Faber-Castell makes a wonderful Gel Stick in a plastic applicator that looks a lot like Chapstick. These little beauties are really water soluble oil pastels and when applied thickly onto paper, a swipe of a wet brush turns the oil pastel into a puddle of paint.
I experimented with the practicality of using these instead of watercolor or cake tempera for painting projects. The Faber-Castell Gel Sticks are quite soft so a hard plastic applicator is necessary for containing the goodness inside. This makes good sense because the softness of the pastel is what allows it to turn into paint so easily.
I created a little video of a bird that shows how the gel sticks work.
Paper: Card Stock (yes, card stock…works amazing!)
Oil Pastels: Faber-Castell Gel Sticks
The only negative is that because the Gel Sticks are so soft they will wear down fast. Not great f you plan to use these with every class, every day. I think they are best used as just one more option in your painting repertoire.
For my first grade students, I used the Gel Sticks on the last day of art class. We had 40-minutes to create a painting using white paper, a black water proof marker, gel sticks and a paint brush with water.
- The kids drew a box along the perimeter of the paper.
- With a Sharpie marker (or any other waterproof marker) they drew a series of lines. I asked the students to start at one edge of the box and draw a curved line to one other side. This helps get the ideas flowing.
- After creating shapes with the intersecting lines, the kids colored their shapes.
- Some kids used the oil pastels like oil pastels. Who could blame them? Still, it’s not necessary to completely fill the white space.
- Use a brush and water to turn the oil pastel into paint. Blending and mixing colors encouraged
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