Straw Blown Fall Trees

 2nd Grade made these fall three paintings using a straw, paintbrush, and q-tip. 


  • 9″x12″ watercolor paper
  • Pencils
  • Paper towels
  • Blue, green, yellow, and brown watercolor paint
  • Brushes
  • Waterbowls
  • Black india ink
  • Straws
  • Q-tips
  • Red, orange, yellow paint (tempera or acrylic)
  • Trays/paint palettes


  1. Working vertically, students drew a horizon line near the bottom of their paper.  (I had them use their fingers as a tool for measuring.  I told them to lay their left hand flat and line up their pointer finger with the bottom of the paper.  Right above the pinky is where the horizon line should be drawn.)
  2. Then, students painted above the horizon line with blue paint.  For clouds, they bunched up a paper towel and pressed it down into the wet paint.
  3. Onc e they finished painting the sky, they used green, yellow, and brown watercolor paint to paint below the horizon line.  I suggested for them to start off with green closest to the horizon line, then fade into yellow, and then brown at the bottom.
  4. We let these dry and did a small activity for the rest of the class period.
  5. After the watercolors were dry, they used a paintbrush to paint a tree trunk.  Then, they used a straw to blown the ink across the paper, making it look like branches.  They used their brushes to add droplets of ink whereever they wanted to add more branches.  This was done to make two or three trees.  (My one student only did one tree, but he did such a wonderful job on it and he managed to create a nice composition.)
  6. I passed out a tray with red, orange, and yellow tempera paint.  Students used  q-tips to paint leaves around the branches and on the ground.

The kids had a lot of fun with these and it was pretty easy for this grade level.  I think the older kids would enjoy this too.


7 thoughts on “Straw Blown Fall Trees

  1. Pingback: straw blown watercolor wash backgrounds « shauna lee lange studios

  2. I’m the Editorial Assistant for Fun Family Crafts and I wanted to let you know that we have featured your project! You can see it here:

    If you have other kid friendly crafts, we’d love it if you would submit them. If you would like to display a featured button on your site, you can grab one from the right side bar of your post above. Thanks for a wonderful project idea!

  3. Hi! I volunteer teaching art for my sons 2nd grade class and I would love to do this project with them! Could the kids use black/brown paint to blow for the branches? I don’t think the art room at my son’s school has India Ink. If I need to buy it, is it terribly expensive?
    Thank you so much!

    • You don’t have to use India ink. I ran out once and just used watered down black tempera paint, so you could definitely make your own black/brown mixture. Just add a little water at a time to your paint and test out what has a good consistency. If you water it down too much the paint will be too transparent. This would work with acrylic paint too!

      I don’t think india ink is too expensive. Maybe 5-10 dollars for a medium size bottle. It’s been a while since I’ve actually ordered any.

      Good luck!

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