Oil pastels and watercolors are always a dynamic pair and this snowflake design is no exception. One part science and one part oil pastel resist magic add up to sweet, cool colored snowflakes designs to brighten up any winter day!
What does a snowflake look like….
I live in Ohio where we see plenty of snow. Whether you have real snow or not the magic and beauty of snowflakes is worth slowing down a bit. Take a piece of black paper outside and take an up close look at a snowflake, Those tiny little boogers are amazing, detailed, and a great display of nature’s artistry.
For a mini science lesson check out the book The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder by
Supply list for snowflake designs….
All you need for this snowflake project is white paper, even copy weight paper will do. You’ll also need a white oil pastel. Even a white crayon will do in a pinch. The color is supplied by watercolor paints like this set from Crayola. That’s it. That’s all you need for these snowflake designs!
Fold it up…
Start by cutting a few circles of a variety of sizes. Use a compass or trace rolls of tape, lids, or anything you have handy. Cut out a few circles so you’re ready for the folding step!
Real snowflakes have six sides each so we want to start by dividing the circle into sixths for an accurate beginning. Start by folding your circle in half. Then we want to make two more folds across the entire circle that each create about a sixty degree angle. This doesn’t have to be exact by any means but the more similar the segments are the easier it will be to duplicate the design in each section.
An easier way….
This snowflake project uses washable markers for a painted effect but a similar folding method. In this project I give instructions for folding the snowflake design into eighths. While it may not be entirely scientifically accurate it is much easier for kids to get equal segments because they can “line up” their folds.
I think this is a perfect time to talk about artistic license and the fact that artists can be inspired by real life without trying to replicate it. Try both methods and do what works for your kiddos!
Grab your oil pastels…
Start by tracing over each fold line with a white oil pastel. These lines should be nice, heavy lines that will serve to resist the watercolor in the next step.
Now comes the fun part – adding the snowflake designs. It’s easy to create intricate looking snowflake designs when you focus on one line at a time. Make a simple line in one section of your snowflake, I like to start with a line that goes from one edge of a segment to the other. Then copy that line in each segment. Doing the same simple thing over and over will result in a surprisingly complex pattern!
Just keep adding one simple element at time with white oil pastel. Whatever you do in one segment be sure to do in every segment. Draw and repeat till you’re happy with the snowflake design. This is a relatively short process. I recommend making several snowflake designs in oil pastel before moving on to the painting portion.
Add some color to your snowflake designs….
Drawing snowflake designs in white oil pastel on white paper is less than dramatic. The white lines can barely be seen. Enter watercolor paints.
Grab those paints and a soft brush. As the color washes over the lines the waxy oil pastel will resist the paint, popping right off the white lines, leaving them bright and visible.
Depending on the age of your young artist you may want to encourage them to wash over the whole snowflake or to take their time and paint in between the white lines. Either way the result is vibrant and a great way to showcase the snowflake line drawing done earlier.