DIY Nursery Art
Today's blog covers 4 simple watercolor projects to get some art on the walls in a kids room or nursery! Each of the four can be made in under an hour, so try them out for fun, gift them, get your kids involved, or start decorating!
Follow along with the video here:
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Winsor & Newton Watercolor Tube Paints (prussian blue, payne's gray, and magenta)
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First up is a graphic piece of art based on text. I did "sweet dreams" but you could substitute anything - try "dream big" or "love you to the moon and back". In pencil, on the lower half of the page, I drew out height lines and base lines. You can also add a waist line which would show you where the middle of the E's and the center of the W would stop. I also drew in the S and T first to help with the spacing.
Once you've done your simple print, you just go around your letters to widen them. It is a very simple way to create bubble letters, and I don't want them to look to perfect either. I like them a little wonky, but you can transfer from a print-out if you prefer sharper text.
I filled the letters in with black watercolor, using my pointed round brush. This is when that brush comes in really handy - you have the fine tip for straight lines and getting all the corners, but it holds enough paint to do the larger areas and fill in the letters. I started light and added more paint as I went to give it a strong watercolor effect.
I wanted a very subtle color for the stars so I mixed yellow ochre with brown and a little dark orange. Remember to test it on some scrap paper first to be sure you like the color before you start painting! I used the fine tip again to paint the outline of the star before filling it in. I like the way the outline looks on its own as well, but decided to fill mine in for the extra color. Either way, it should look whimsical and sweet.
I finished with the crescent moon and some tinier stars. I didn't want to add too many in order to keep it simple. You can really get creative with this, experiment with the text, the colors and the placement for different looks. This hand-lettered piece of art is perfect for any gender-neutral nursery!
Next up, I wanted to do something less 'adult' and add some whimsy. The idea for this one is to choose any inanimate object and give it some personality - just put a face on it! You can choose anything from an umbrella, to a cloud, or a strawberry. By taking a simple form and giving it a happy face you can create something very kid friendly and fun!
I chose a lemon to start with! Using pencil, I sketched out the oval on my art board, gradually refined the shape, and added some leaves at the top. The face is just three curving lines, with some cheeks and eyelashes, super simple.
I want the yellow to look messy so after mixing a nice warm yellow I put some water onto the board to release the paint into. As I went I built up the yellow, using a few different shades to create the shading, some very transparent areas, texture, and a strong watercolor look. The stem and leaves are very messily painted. I went really quickly for a free feel that looks almost like a child painted it.
Once dry, I added the cheeks with a pinky-peach color, and a very saturated black for the rest of the face. This last step is optional but I thought it would look cute with a stronger outline. I used watercolor crayons to trace around the lemon and add those stronger lines around the leaves. You can use pastels or regular crayons, but if you have watercolor crayons available you will be able to render it out if you don't like it or want to soften the lines.
If you know the name, you can create some floral name art. In pencil I blocked out a rectangle to contain the florals and wrote the name across the bottom line in a very simple print. This uses watercolor brush lettering - you use the tip of the brush any time you are going up, and add pressure any time you are pulling the brush down towards yourself. This gives you the beautiful thick and thin lines of classic brush lettering.
This one you can personalize with the name and also with the color palette. Take some time to mix your paints and test all your colors out. Whether for your nursery, kids room, or to gift to someone else, you can easily match the color scheme or incorporate favorite colors. I started with the largest floral, the four-petaled magenta flower, scattering them around the page in slightly different sizes and angles.
As you fill the page up, remember to stay within your pencil rectangle. Try to keep the flowers growing up and outwards away from the name, but everything else is your own creativity. Pick your favorite colors and flowers! I added the beige leaves to each flower, then started filling in gaps with the yellow spiral roses. I finished up with the blue leaves, layering over some of the florals and filling the rest of my rectangle.
For each color you have, you can choose what floral or leaf it will be, and then add them one at a time. In this way, it comes together really simply. You can layer all the flowers and leaves, use as many or as few as you want, and leave some negative space. Once your burst of florals is coming together you can add more detail. I added the stamens to the flowers, darker shading on the leaves and built up the color on the magenta flowers. In the end I decided to add some tiny flowers in a dark copper color, adding a little more detail and contrast.
My fourth project is the one I used in my own nursery. It is also available as a digital download on Patreon. Head over there to support the channel and access other freebies.
Otherwise, it is very easy to create. Start with watercolor paper instead of the board this time, and a very dark blue paint. I used tube paints since it is a great way to mix up a lot of one color. Using a lot of wet into wet painting, I filled in the circle I drew. The weirder and messier the better, you want that watercolor effect here, so keep building up color until you have a look you are happy with. Once it dried, I ripped the circle out using a bowl - try to find something as close to the size as possible and leave a little white around the edges.
Using a fresh piece of paper, in any color, glue that down using a glue stick or rubber cement (so you don't get any bubbles). I picked up a piece of cream paper at an art store for a small contrast. With gel pens or a paint marker, or even acrylic paint, you can create that starry night sky. I used gel pens and a paint marker for different sizes of stars. I didn't want to do a splatter painting because I didn't want it to be too realistic. I prefer that whimsical look!
I like imperfect and unrealistic and I wanted to create more of a storybook feel. So I have added the crescent moon and some gold stars as well! Marking the center of the page and trying it out in pencil several times, I wrote out "goodnight moon" below. Don't go over it until you are completely happy. I used pigma microns with archival quality ink, and went over it to thicken it even after using an 08 nib.
A frame can make any piece of artwork look so good! Have fun and be creative, embrace the perfectly imperfect, and remember that a white matte and frame can go a long way. I hope you will give one or two of these a try. They are really simple but can be so personalized and fun.