Klee-inspired Watercolor Crayons

Inspired by Paul Klee’s artwork, second grade students used watercolor crayons to create artwork with geometric shapes.


  • Light poster board
  • Rulers
  • Assorted circular lids for tracing
  • Watercolor crayons
  • Paint brushes
  • Cups

Downloadable PowerPoint: Klee Watercolor Crayons

This quarter I have the 2nd graders that I had at the beginning of the year. I have been looking forward to expanding the curriculum to projects that go beyond one day and use materials other than crayons, markers, paper, and glue.

I showed my students examples of Paul Klee’s artwork. On the first day of the project they drew shapes all over their paper with pencil. I gave them the option of using rulers or circular lids to trace. They could free hand other shapes if they wanted.

I demonstrated how to color in their shapes using watercolor crayons. A great way to encourage 2nd graders to take their time with coloring is to have them trace a shape before coloring it in. I also explained that they could make “artist choices” about pushing down hard or soft and blending different colors together.

On the second day, I showed them how to paint water over their shapes that had been colored in. We used the same technique of painting the outline first and then painting the inside. I reminded them to rinse their brush in between colors. They were super excited to start painting; there were definitely gasps of amazement when they saw the crayon turn into paint!

On the last day of the project, about half of the class was already finished with their Shape Painting. I started class by having those students work on a sketchbook page. They could draw anything they wanted and use supplies from the Supply Station to color it in. I will staple all of these drawings to create a sketchbook and display them at the Showcase at the end of the quarter.

After the class had settled in, I passed out a piece of cardboard to each table for our collaborative project. We prepped the cardboard and they worked together to paint it once they finished their Shape Painting. I was nervous about combining two projects into one class, especially for 2nd grade, but it went smoothly as long as I made my expectations clear for each transition.

Overall, I really valued the process of this project. The watercolor crayons I had already were pretty old, so I hope if I do it again next year with better quality supplies, the kids will enjoy the colors step more and the paintings will have a little more “umph!”



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