Create this Simple Watercolor & Glue Jellyfish with your art students today! With our free step-by-step art tutorial, this stunning jellyfish can be created by students and adults of all ages and abilities. You’ll be amazed at how simple and easy this jellyfish watercolor art project is, and at how beautiful it looks hanging in your classroom! Imagine a full art wall of these gorgeous jellies!
Simple Watercolor Jellyfish
Jellyfish might seem like they are difficult to create, but because of their fluid shape, they are actually quite simple…..and fun! Best of all we’ve added in an amazingly, simple watercolor and glue technique that will bring textures and quality to your project!
Watercolor & Clear Glue Art Project
It’s hard to photograph the actual texture of this projects, so here is a closer look at the canvas. Prior to paining, a layer of clear glue is used to create a 3-D underlay, so that when paint is applied it creates a stunning and unique result every single time! In the photo above you can see these layers or dried glue as the raised elements on the canvas.
Jellyfish Craft for Kids
Glue is also used on the tentacles of the jellyfish to add some variety of textures and colors. You can see in the above photo that the watercolor absorbs differently into the glue and you can see almost transparent-like strings coming down. This is a wonderful technique for making jellies!
Jellyfish Template & Materials
If you’d like to provide your students with a template, you can use our free printable stencil for the main shape of the jellyfish’s body. It’s probably great for reference too if student’s want to look at it while drawing their own.
Either way, make sure to trace or draw the jellyfish body near the top of the page. That way there is lots of remaining room on you paper for all the colorful tentacles. However, before we get started painting, we need to lay down that texture layer of glue.
It turns out getting a picture of clear glue on white paper is really difficult, so I darkened this image a bit so you can see where I laid out the glue. Basically, you’ll want to go around the edges and then do some dots of glue in some of the corners. You can see on the edges I don’t have a perfect line, and sometimes it’s blotchy, or with gaps….this is ideal for a unique texture. You want areas of white in between the glue that will soak up the color different and help the whole thing POP!
Here is another close up of the tentacles. Basically you are doing lots of squiggly figure 8’s and randomness all the way down the tentacle. Before making each one, look at your page and decide which way they will go, and sort of where they will end up. Make them in varying sizes and shapes, but really fill up your page. The glue will take a while to dry, so set it aside for a few hours to harden.
Ocean Watercolor Art for Kids
After your glue has dried, you are ready to PAINT your watercolor jellyfish. So, you can use watercolor brush pens, or watercolor cakes to complete your project. I prefer the pens because they are less messy, and I find it easy to add lots of bold bright color without getting too much water on the paper. I tend to over-water my plants too, it’s a whole thing, but moving on….
The first step is to lay down some color in the body of your jellyfish. I like to use light blues and you can see in the photo where I’m adding them.
Next, add some yellow to the jellyfish body. Ad water as needed to blend the colors together. With watercolor pens, you’ll find dipping them directly in water helps sometimes as well.
Choose a few darker blues and purbles to go around the edges and add random bits of color through the project. Generally you want the darker colors near the edges and the lighter colors hear the middle. You’ll start to notice some of the glue soaking up color differently than the exposed paper. I noticed that sometimes the glue areas resisted the color and sometimes they turned darker.
Here is a look at the project so far. It’s looking good, and the glue is creating textures, so it’s time to work on those colorful tentacles!
Choose a nice bright WARM color for the tentacles. We used a lot of cool colors on the jelly body (blues, greens, purples) so we want to contrast that by using warm colors for the tentacles. Using the brushpen, or a very thin watercolor brush, make a bunch of figure 8 squiggles following the dried glue outline of the first tentacle. To get randomness, you might draw with the tip, then quickly press more of the brush down on the paper, then back up to the tip as you go….etc… You’ll want lots of loops!
Add a second color to the same tentacle, filling in some of the gaps and making the colors blend and overlaps in some areas. I choose a yellow color. Use the water brush, to make circles and blend some of the color together. You want a lot of the hard, fine lines to show through, so keep that in mind as you are blending.
Repeat these steps for your next set of tentacles. This time I used an orange and a darker red. You can see that the pen shape is moving in circles and random all the way down. Soemtimes it gets thicker or thinner in areas too, that is PERFECT! You don’t want it the same thickness, as jellyfish tentacles are not uniform in appearance.
Again, take the water brush and blend the colors. The water will pull the color out a bit, thickening up your tentacle and creating the effect of transparency. The strings of glue will start to show through, which looks amazing!!
Don’t worry if you feel like you made a mistake. Jellyfish are so unique that any special qualities your picture has will only enhance your work. You can use a paper towel to pick up any extra water along the way. Did I mention I always lay down too much water?
When you come to the other side of the jellyfish, you can even him out by adding some smaller tentacles, or tentacles the appear to drift of in another direction. I decided to add another color pop of yellow to tie the whole thing together. Next, go back through your tentacles and make thsure theya re all fat and fluffy (use the water brush).
Once you get everything painted, take a step back and look for areas of improvement. I decided to add more color using a dark purple watercolor brush pen. First, I put more color to the edges of the jelly body, near the dots, and to add some shadow to the tentacles. Look at the center orange tentacle for example, you’ll see the darker areas on the edges.
Ready for some more Ocean art projects for kids? Try this stunning Seahorse Craft Today! Students will work with bleeding tissue paper and paper cutting techniques to create these luminous creatures!
Will regular white Elmer’s glue work since it dries clear or does it need to be the kind that comes out clear?
I used white glue last time and I recall that it worked just fine.
What kind of glue was used? Thanks!
is there a pdf version so I can print out please
I tried it, but the glue didn’t take any color. did I use the wrong glue? the one I used doesn’t have any solvent in it. is that why it didn’t work? I live in Europe, but is european glue really that different from U.S. glue? did I use too much glue?
it’s a lovely project and I really wanna try it with my students.