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Watercolor and Oil Pastel Resist For Kids

Are you looking for a technique that will amaze kids every time? We love using an oil pastel and watercolor resist with kids because it showcases their drawings while allowing them creative painting freedom. Get all of our tips for doing oil pastel resists here!

hand holding paintbrush painting blue watercolor paint on top of white oil pastel snowflake.

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What is a resist?

In art, a resist technique can happen with different materials. It simply means that two materials will not mix together. One will stop the other from adhering to the paper or surface you are working on.

We like to explain it to children by getting them to imagine the salad dressing in their refrigerator. They understand that the oil and water separate because they do not like each other. This is the same when you use materials like oil pastel and watercolor paint.

See how we even used painter’s tape as a resist to create these easy winter landscape paintings.

Why use oil pastels?

While crayons can work for this technique, oil pastels are easier for children to apply and therefore you will get better results due to more material being on the paper before painting.

Recommended Supplies

  • Oil Pastels-this brand is our favorite to use with children. They are vibrant and last.
  • Watercolor Paint
  • Water Container
  • Paintbrush
  • White Drawing Paper
white oil pastel on snowflake, paintbrush, salt and watercolor paint.
The white oil pastel is already colored on this drawing.

Notes About Drawing Paper

For best results, use heavier drawing paper at least 80 lb. For an even better effect, you could also use scholarly watercolor paper to fully see the effects of the paint.

For our example, we are going to do a fun and magical snowflake painting. You can get all the tips on how to draw a snowflake here.

Note you can do this technique with any colors or subject matter. Have fun and experiment with this process!

How To Create A Watercolor Resist

Before You Begin

You may or may not want to sketch out your design or subject matter with a pencil lightly first.

Step 1: Add Oil Pastels

Kids love it when they color with white oil pastels on white paper. They will love the “magic” that happens when you add the paint on top.

hand holding oil pastel coloring snowflake on white paper.

Step 2: Add Watercolor Paint

The best part of this technique is that you get to just paint right over your oil pastel drawings. There is no need to try to paint around. Kids absolutely love seeing their artwork come to life.

hand holding brush adding blue watercolor paint on top of oil pastel snowflake.

Optional: Use Other Watercolor Paint techniques

With this simple snowflake oil pastel drawing, we simply added salt to give the watercolor paint a crystalized look. You can also see how you can do smaller magical snowflake watercolor paintings.

palm of hand holding salt white watercolor painting in background.
Regular table salt can make really neat textures in watercolor paintings.

Other Watercolor Paint Techniques For Kids

Any of the following painting ideas would work on top of your oil pastel drawing.

  • Use Clear Wrap: Paint watercolor paint and then added scrunched up clear plastic food wrap on top while still wet. Don’t take it off until it is dry.
  • Glue Texture Resist: Add extra texture with glue and let dry before painting watercolor paint. You can see how we did a glue watercolor resist without oil pastels here.
  • Bleeding Tissue Paper: Instead of using watercolor paint, you paint water on top of bleeding tissue paper to get a fun painterly effect.
  • Wet-on-Wet: add water first and then paint different colors to easily blend together. Just encourage children to use paint colors that will mix well together.
hand with brush adding water to paper.
Here you can see the water being added first for the wet-on-wet technique.

Follow us on Pinterest for more free art and craft ideas!

Technique FAQs

Does oil pastel resist watercolor?

Yes, the oily base of the pastel will stick to the paper and not allow the watercolor paint to permeate the surface. Just make sure that there is enough oil pastel to get the resist effect.

Can you use oil pastels on watercolor paper?

Yes, you can. However, some watercolor papers can have a texture and the oil pastel may be unable to get in all the grooves. This may not bother you, but if you are looking for a smoother surface you will want to use hot-pressed watercolor paper.

What other art materials can be used to resist watercolor paint?

Professional watercolor artists will use watercolor masking fluid. For children, rubber cement, painter’s tape, Glue-All, crayons, and oil pastels can all be used to resist the watercolor paint from sticking to the surface of your paper.

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Related Projects

Easy Oil Pastel Resist With Watercolor Paint

Children will love this easy watercolor paint technique. Learn how to do an oil pastel & watercolor paint resist for your next art lesson.
Print Tutorial
brush painting oil pastel resist snowflake with blue watercolor paint.
Creating:5 minutes
Total Time:5 minutes


  • Paintbrush
  • Water container


  • White Paper Heavy Drawing Paper, Watercolor Paper or Tagboard will work
  • Watercolor Paint
  • Oil Pastels


  • Add oil pastels to the white paper. You can blend them or just do a simple drawing. Any colors will work.
  • For best results use a wet-on-wet paint technique with watercolor paint. Add a light layer of water to the area you are painting.
  • Add watercolor paint. You can brush right over where you put oil pastels.
  • Optional: Add salt or use other watercolor paint techniques on top of your oil pastels.


  • You can do this technique with any colors or subject matter. Have fun and experiment with this process!
  • You can lightly sketch first with a pencil or draw with a permanent marker before using oil pastels.
  • For children, rubber cement, painter’s tape, Glue-All, crayons, and oil pastels can all be used to resist the watercolor paint from sticking to the surface of your paper.
Author: Erin
Cost: under $5

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