Zentangle Trees for Winter

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A close-up of a white tree filled with zentangles made with a black marker.  The background is made with blue and purple watercolors that had salt added while the watercolor was still wet.  The text says, "Zentangled Winter Trees - Step-by-Step Demo".
 
 
 

Zentangle Trees Behind a Watercolor Sky

See step by step how to make a dazzling watercolor sky and zentangle trees for winter. Also, don’t miss the link at the bottom of the page to get a free page of zentangle tree pattern ideas.

I made these trees right before winter break and put them up before leaving. They were the perfect display to walk by as everyone entered the school after winter break!

Students love making zentangles, and they also love the unexpected results of using salt on watercolors. So, as you can see in the examples, I encouraged them to mix a few cool colors in the sky and drop the salt while the watercolor was wet. There is definitely a trick to getting this just right which I’ll explain in the instructions below.

 

Add Contact Paper to Make the Tree Shapes

 
cut contact paper into strips & trim the top off the contact paper
 
use contact paper scraps to create branches - add more trees - try for 3 trees
 

Add Watercolor and Salt to Make the Sky

use a variety of cool colors to add a watercolor wash over the entire page.
while the paint is wet, add salt - the salt blooms and looks like snow!
 
 

The Trick to Making Salt Texture

 Here is the tricky part. Be sure to add salt while the paint is still wet. No puddles, just glistening wet, so you can barely see the texture of the paper. Then, DO NOT TOUCH the salt. Not touching is SO hard for students! Consequently, if the salt crystals move, it disrupts the process of pushing the paint away, and then you will not get the same result.

The other tricky part is the amount of salt. There should be a little space between the salt crystals to give the salt some room to dissolve. If the salt gets too piled up, the salt won’t dissolve and push the paint away. So instead, use a salt shaker or demonstrate just taking a tiny pinch between two fingers and sprinkling it by hand.

The results are magical, and worth the extra time it takes to teach students how to do this!

 
zentangle trees by a student
zentangle tree with moon by a student
zentangle trees with a moon by a student
zentangle trees by a student with dark zentangles for shading
4 zentangle trees by a student
3 zentangle trees by a student

You can get a free page of zentangle pattern ideas here.

 

You might also like this collection of zentangle patterns that includes step-by-step instructions to make more intricate 3D patterns along the edge of shapes.

Find it on TpT.

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Stacey Peters

Stacey Peters

I create engaging drawing resources that help students build confidence and express themselves through art. I'm a former elementary art teacher of 25 years turned business owner. Giving you the tools you need to bring more drawing into your classroom brings me joy.

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