Learn how to paint a snowy town with watercolours in a simple and fun way that appeals to children. This technique introduces masking tape as a useful tool in watercolour painting.
Learning a new painting technique is fun for kids, and it’s even better when the technique can be used for creating a picture right away. The premise behind this project was that I wanted to show my kids how masking tape can be used when painting with watercolours. We could have tried an abstract design, but the masking tape’s geometry made it better suited to architectural forms. So I suggested that we create a town, and they took to the project with delight. Aside from his pencils, scissors are my son’s tool of choice at the moment, and this painting requires quite a bit of cutting, so it was a win-win for him.
Materials for Watercolour Painting
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- watercolour paper
- liquid watercolours or watercolours in pans
- masking tape
- white gouache or white acrylic
How to Make a Snowy Town Watercolour Painting
1 — The main trick of this project is to use pieces of painter’s tape to mask the town’s outline. Cut a piece of tape and trim the end of it to look like a roof. A few tips that may be helpful:
- print a picture of a cityscape and note how the roofs look: some are triangles and some are trapezoids, some have smokestacks and some have gables
- use different width of masking tape
- mask the very bottom of the sheet and add the silhouettes of the buildings on top of that
- scissors that are gunked up with adhesive can be cleaned with rubbing alcohol
2 — There are different ways to paint the watercolour sky. We used the method we created for painting space in watercolours. Using a transfer pipette, drip watercolour paint all over the piece of watercolour paper. Let some drops mix as they fall on the piece of paper. Be spontaneous and have fun. Kids seem to do this step just perfectly and enjoy the process of working with pipettes.
We used four colours: blue, purple, magenta and gold. My son loves adding gold to his sky paintings, and it looks realistic when painting a sunset.
3 — Using a wide brush and some water, do a quick wash over the sheet of paper. It’s important to use watercolour paper for this project, because drawing paper would tear or wrinkle during this step. It’s lovely to see different colours flowing into each other and mixing randomly.
4 — Sprinkle with coarse salt.
The salt crystals soak up the liquid from the paint, creating areas without as much pigment and giving an impression of snowy flurries floating in the sky. Salt and watercolours are magical together. It may seem messy at first, but it always turns out enchanting in the end.
Let the paint dry completely and shake the salt off.
5 — Now you can take the masking tape off.
6 — Finish the cityscape any way you like. For younger children, it may be easier to use pencils or markers. Here is one of my son’s paintings.
Older children and adults can go over the town silhouette with a layer of dark blue paint, leaving only the roofs and windows white.
7 – The last step is to add just a little more snow by sprinkling the mixture of white gouache (or acrylic) with water over the entire picture. The paint should be runny, and you can sprinkle it by tapping the brush against another brush or a wooden block.
You can also use undiluted white paint for accentuating windows in the houses or adding a little smoke above the smokestacks. Alternatively, before painting, you can mask windows with little pieces of tape – or using a special masking pen. That’s what I did in the video below, but later on, I thought that using white paint would have been better.
Watch the Video
More Watercolour Projects?
Thank you for reading!