Watercolor Tape Resist Technique

Products Used

UCreate® Watercolor Paper, White, Package, 90 lb.

Project Details

Creating art helps students integrate knowledge and experience. In this watercolor project, students use what they are learning about life to communicate new ideas.

Lesson Plan Ideas

Learning Objectives for Grades: 1-4
Developed by: Children’s Creativity Specialist, Stephie Morton

Students will:

  • Explore the medium of watercolor paint.
  • Experiment with different watercolor techniques including: wash, wet-on-dry and resist.
  • Gain understanding of basic design elements: foreground and background.
  • Gain understanding of basic color qualities: transparency, opaqueness, value and intensity.


  1. Begin with a review of basic painting procedure emphasizing brush technique, rinsing and testing your brush to make sure it is clean.

  2. Next, demonstrate and discuss the unique qualities of watercolor: how unlike tempera, watercolor is translucent and vibrant and how the amount of water and pigment changes the value of the color. Let students experiment with different amounts of water- wash to opaque color (wet on dry). You can use scrap paper for this.

  3. Demonstrate and discuss the benefits of painting with lighter colors first.

  4. Show students how to place a drop of water on each color in their paint set to “revive” the paint. Demonstrate how they can blot the colors clean with paper towel.

  5. Use Pacon® Art1st® Watercolor Paper – the sturdy heavyweight quality and special surface makes it hold the paint in a unique way.

  6. Introduce concepts of foreground and background, positive negative space.

  7. Have students think of one main idea for their foreground or object. Demonstrate how they can “draw” the object by tearing or cutting pieces of painter’s tape and pressing them down on the paper to block in a shape.

  8. Review “wash technique” creating thin, translucent color.

  9. Watercolor Tape Resist- this project allows students to experience a flowing wash technique without inhibition.

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  10. Show students how they can wash in the background right over the tape, how the tape “resists” the watercolor.

  11. When paint is dry, remove tape. Now students can paint in clean area without unwanted contamination of foreground space. Encourage students to use a range of values in their painting reminding them they can paint over the background too.


  • I always tape down all four edges of the paper, even watercolor paper. It not only removes any possible unsatisfying curling and warping, but leaves a clean white frame around the painting.
  • Emphasize the importance of testing your brush to make sure it is clean before you mix colors. I make the rule: “Black paint is last” with my beginning painters, even with tempera paints.

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