Watercolor Silhouettes

Create a striking silhouette with water colors (or food coloring if you don’t have paint) and a permanent marker.

I’m currently obsessed with putting silhouettes over water color backgrounds. Its a quick and easy project that looks great. I know not everyone has watercolor paper just lying around at home, but I tested this out using heavy card stock paper and it turned out great.

Supplies You’ll Need

A thick paper that won’t fall apart when wet (watercolor paper, cardstock, white cardboard all work)
Black permanent marker
Watercolor or liquid food coloring
A paintbrush (or cotton balls)
A small container for water
Table salt
(optional) Crayons


Think about what you’d like to draw. Look online for inspirational photos or silhouette clip art. Then, with your pencil, draw your image on the thick paper.


After you have drawn your image in pencil and are happy with the composition, fill in the silhouette with a black permanent marker. Don’t use a washable marker because when you paint water color on top of it it will wash off. Be sure to use the markers in a very well ventilated area and supervise your children accordingly.
You can also use a black crayon for this step. You could also use a white crayon for any part of the paper you’d like to see stay white.


Once you have colored in the silhouette, wet your paper all over with just plain water. Use a cotton ball if you don’t have a paintbrush.

*A Note: The paper will wrinkle when it gets damp and that is totally O.K. However, do not get too much water on your paper because it may fall apart. You will know it has too much water if the paper lies limp and flat on your work surface. You may need to supervise younger children to make sure they don’t soak the paper.


Use watercolor or liquid food coloring to add color to the damp paper. The colors will spread in the water and mix with each other.


Next, take the table salt and sprinkle it onto the paint before it dries. Just a tiny bit will do. Use a salt shaker if you have one.

*Another Note: Leave the salt in place once you sprinkle it on the paper. Sometimes little ones want to smear the salt around but if they do the salt spots won’t show up.


Let the salt dry along with the paint. When the paint is completely dry, brush off the salt and you will see tiny white spots where the grains of sand were.

A final note: You may get your hands a little stained with color in the process of making this.