Glue Resist Watercolor Rainbow

Published: April 13, 2020 · Updated: December 28, 2023 by Sacha — This post may contain affiliate links. Read our full disclosure.

This colorful craft requires only a few simple materials, and it’s suitable for both younger and older kids. Find out how you can use school glue and watercolor paint to create a beautiful rainbow that you’ll be proud to hang in your window!

This glue resist rainbow is the perfect craft to hang in your window this season!

It’s made by drawing a rainbow using school glue, then coloring it in with watercolor paint once the glue dries; the glue forms a sort of barrier that keeps the colors separate. It’s beautiful, simple to make, and great for both younger and older kids.

My three-year-old had a blast making one alongside me while I was taking pictures for this article!

Required Materials

Here’s what you’ll need to make your very own glue resist rainbow using school glue and watercolor paint:

Supplies required to make a watercolour rainbow craft.

How to Make a Glue Resist Watercolor Rainbow (Step-by-Step)

1. Draw Clouds

Start by drawing two clouds on a sheet of cardstock or watercolor paper using school glue.

The clouds should be positioned at either end of the rainbow. Older kids might be able to do this themselves with a little help, but you’ll need to do this step on your own if your children are too young.

Liquid glue drawing a fluffy cloud on a sheet of white cardstock.

As you can see in the picture, I drew each cloud as a ball of squiggly lines. Drawing them like this rather than just tracing an outline will make the clouds look textured once the craft is done.

2. Draw Rainbow

Next, trace your rainbow by drawing seven curved lines connecting the two clouds. Don’t worry too much if your rainbow isn’t perfect—the craft will still turn out just fine.

Liquid glue tracing a rainbow on a sheet of white cardstock.

3. Let Glue Dry

Wait several hours for the glue to dry. Because school glue dries clear, it became pretty difficult to photograph at this point, but it’s a lot easier to see in person as long as you have sufficient lighting.

4. Prep Watercolor Paint (Optional)

I used six colors to create my rainbow: purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and red.

Since liquid watercolors are expensive, I like to dilute them to stretch them further. If you choose to do this as well, just make sure not to dilute them too much since you want the rainbow’s colors to be nice and vibrant.

I like to use a dollar-store mixing palette to do this step. It works great because the individual wells are too small to contain much water.

Just pour several drops of liquid watercolor paint into a small quantity of water, and if you want to be sure you like the intensity of the colors before you use them to create your rainbow, test them out on a separate sheet of cardstock or watercolor paper.

Closeup of liquid watercolour paint inside a paint palette.

Alternatively, you could use kids’ watercolor pans such as these:

Kids' watercolour paint palette.

5. Paint Rainbow

To create your rainbow, all you’ll need to do is use a small paintbrush to color in between the lines of glue.

You’ll probably get some paint on the glue, but that’s not a huge deal. The lines will still look lighter in color than the painted areas, and you can gently pat off any excess paint with a small piece of paper towel as long as you do so before it dries.

Paintbrush painting the colours of the rainbow in between the lines of glue.

Add colors one by one until you’ve used all six. My lines are pretty neat, but obviously the younger your kids are, the less neat their rainbow will be. My three-year-old’s rainbow was a little messy, but she had lots of fun painting it!

Watercolour rainbow with all 6 colours painted.

6. Paint Clouds

Once you’re done painting the rainbow, it’s time to paint the clouds.

For this step, you’ll want to use heavily diluted blue paint. The idea is to add just enough color for the clouds to look textured without blending into the sky. Start out with less and add a little more paint as needed if the color is too light.

I filled a small container with water and dipped my paintbrush into the concentrated color from the rainbow a couple of times to add it to the water. You can do the same thing with kids’ watercolor paint if that’s what you’re using.

Clouds painted with light blue watercolour paint.

7. Paint Sky

Once you’re done painting the clouds, add a few more drops of liquid watercolor paint to the water (or switch to undiluted sky blue if you’re using kids’ watercolor paint). Like before, you can test the color on a separate piece of paper if you want to make sure it’s the right shade of blue.

Once you’re satisfied with the color, use it to paint the sky. I traced the lines around the rainbow and clouds using a smaller paintbrush, then switched to a broader paintbrush to finish up more easily.

Paintbrush painting blue sky around rainbow.

8. Let Paint Dry

Wait for the paint to dry and you’ll end up with something like this!

Finished watercolour rainbow craft.

Isn’t that so pretty? My three-year-old was super excited about this project and felt inspired to keep painting rainbows on other sheets of cardstock once she was done!

I hope your kids enjoy it as much as mine did!

Related School Glue Crafts

Do you love using school glue to create beautiful artwork at home? Check out these fun projects:

And did you know that you can use school glue to make awesome homemade slime for your kids?!

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