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      Virtual Art Activities

      Oil and water painting

      Did you know water and oil repel each other? Oil molecules are attracted to other oil molecules and water molecules are attracted to water molecules. These two liquids will never completely mix together! Oils are also less dense than water, so they will float on top. Learn how to create paintings that visually demonstrate how water and oil repel each other.

      • Paper
      • Water
      • Water-based paint (acrylic, tempera, liquid watercolors or food coloring)
      • Oil (any cooking oil)
      • Cups
      • Eyedropper or spoon
      • Spray bottle
      • Paper towels
      • Shallow tray or container
      • Fork, comb or dull knife (optional)

      Water and Oil drips on paper

      Step 1: In separate containers, mix your paints with water.

      Step 2: Next, lay your paper in a tray or on a covered surface to prevent a mess. Tip: You can pre-wet your paper for different results. Try experimenting on both dry and wet pieces of paper.

      Step 3: Once your paper is laid out and prepared, drip small amounts of oil onto it. Try using an eyedropper tool or spoon. Repeat the dripping process with paint. Notice that the oil spots repel the water-based paint.

      Step 4: Repeat the oil and water dripping until you are satisfied with your painting. Grab a new sheet of paper and continue experimenting!

      Water and Oil-paper dye

      Step 1: In separate containers, mix your chosen paints with water. In a tray big enough to fit your paper, pour a thin layer of paint.

      Tip: Try a separate tray for each color.

      Step 2: Drip small amounts of oil into the tray of shallow paint. Try using an eyedropper or spoon. Notice that the oil floats on the paint and does not mix. Tip: To create a marbled effect, swirl the oil and paint (with a fork, comb, or knife) before you drip your paper into the water.

      Step 3: Gently dip a piece of paper into paint. Watch the drops of the oil saturate your paper. Remove your paper from the tray to reveal where the oil repelled the paint.

      Step 4: Once dry, drip additional colors onto your paper and see how the saturated oil will still repel the paint!

      Explore more of our Drop-in Art Activity video tutorials on our YouTube channel.

      Show Us!

      We want to see your oil and water paintings. Share your photos online using #PEMpod or #peabodyessex