How to draw and paint a jellyfish and create the prettiest paintings ever!

Jellyfish Art project




One of the prettiest projects my third graders created this year happened during the very last days of school. 

I get rather desperate for ideas and organization towards the end of the school year so I had to scramble for a fast, two session project.

I came across a jellyfish painting on my Watercolor Pinterest Board and it was love at first sight. 😍

My third graders LOVED this jellyfish art project. And I did too.

I had all the supplies on hand (just barely) and stretched this relatively quick lesson into a 2-session project.

Jellyfish art project for boys and girls. Super easy drawing & painting project from Deep Space Sparkle

Here’s What We Did:

1.) Each child painted a 12″ x 18″ piece of white paper (I like Tru-Ray drawing paper) with either a gradient of blue or red paint.

I was a bit of a control freak here as I wanted to make the prep easy. I squeezed white, red, purple and black paint into 3 muffin-style palettes and blue, white, purple and black into two muffin-style palettes.

Depending on where the child sat, he would either create blue or red gradient paper. That’s right. No choice. Feel free to allow a child to choose though. I did this as a matter of simplicity and quite frankly,  laziness. I’m not ashamed.

Starting at the top of the vertical paper, the kids painted a strip of white paint. Without cleaning their brush, they dipped their paint brush into a little bit of red paint.

They applied the paint below the white strip and blended. They continued on, dipping their brush into more red, then adding purple (this gives the paint the bright pink/fuchsia color and then finally black.

We worked slowly and carefully with this step. I wanted it to last the entire 40-minutes.


2.) After the child finished painting his gradient, they added white paint for bubbles.

To do this, give each table group some white paint that has been watered down some. In order to splatter well, the paint needs to be the consistency of cream.


3.) After the background paper has dried, it’s time to draw!

  •  Use white soft chalk pastel and draw a curved line for the top of the jellyfish body.
  • Add a wiggle line across the bottom of the jelly for his underbelly.
  • -Add squiggly lines for the tentacles. The tentacles can be either squiggly lines or shapes.
  • – Using either white or another color of chalk, color in the jellyfish body and blend chalk with fingertips. It’s okay for the background to show through. This makes the jelly look translucent. (Shown in step #5)
  • Draw as many jellyfish as you like.


4.) The last step (this is shown in photo #4 not #5), use a black oil pastel to draw wiggly lines from the bottom of the paper up towards the middle. Add short lines that are slightly angled to create seaweed. The black oil pastel really offers a nice contrast to the white jellyfish.

Third grade gallery of Jellyfish Art projects

Jellyfish art project for boys and girls. Super easy drawing & painting project from Deep Space Sparkle

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What do you think?

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  • Mary

    I’ve done a couple jellyfish lessons, but these are SO Beautiful! I love the the mixed media effects. Thanks for sharing!

    • Patty Palmer

      Thanks, Mary. I know. I was pretty sure these would be beautiful but still, I was so pleased at how much the kids loved this project and worked on making their jellies unique.

  • Fiona Wood

    Love how these turned out! I did a similar lesson recently ( yet we just used oil pastels instead of chalk. I love the look of the chalk and would use this next time, however if anyone only has oil pastels these also come out beautiful. Jelly fish are a fun easy thing for children to draw and this project has a high success rate. Thanks for sharing Patty!

    • Patty Palmer

      Thank Fiona. I love your post and your blog! I remember you just getting started. Hope everyone starts to follow you.

  • April

    Those are lovely. Although I am not a fan of encountering them while I am swimming, I love watching jellyfish in the aquarium. They are mesmerizing creatures.
    Grade School Giggles

  • Melanie

    Just beautiful! So excited about incorporating this lesson into my color unit for tints/shades. Thank you for sharing!! 🙂


    I love doing watercolors by the lake, its so relaxing and all my kids can participate too.

  • Marie Jacquier

    Wow! I love these. Jelly fish are such a fun subject for kids art and this lesson look fantastic. Will be adding to my program for sure. Thank you Patty for your continuing inspiration.

  • Erum

    Thank You for sharing, my daughter loves painting, and I guess she will definitely love doing this.

  • Kristi

    Wow! I’m new to teaching kindergarten art – do you think this could be adapted for K to do? Love, love, love these!

    • Patty Palmer

      Yes, I really think it could. Sometimes when teaching Kinders, it’s best to focus on one thing. In this case I would focus on drawing one large jellyfish instead of many small ones. Let me know how it works for you.

  • Melissa

    Just to clarify, did you use watercolors or tempera with this lesson? I know the idea was sparked from the watercolor Pinterest board, but the way you described squeezing the paint & diluting the white sounded like tempera to me, since liquid watercolors are so thin…Sorry if this is obvious!

    Thanks so much for so generously sharing from your experience! You’ve been a mentor of sorts to me as I’ve been learning about doing art with my children. 🙂

    • Patty Palmer

      Yes. You’re right. I used liquid tempera paint. I think when I pinned the lesson, I assumed it was watercolor.

  • Susan

    Oh, how beautiful these are!! I am anxious to try this project when school begins again 🙂

  • Irina

    Beautiful project!!! So inspiration!! Thank you! Shoud be done with diffrent fishes or with another sea creatures 🙂 will do it with my students.

  • Irina

    Beautiful project! So inspirational. Will do it with my students. Thsnk you!

  • Georgia

    I love this project and will definitely try this next year. I have done so many of your projects and have never been disappointed with the results. Thank you so much for sharing. Your courses Art 101 and Beyond the Basics were wonderful. I have learned so much from you.