Whether your child loves pretending to be a winter fairy, a ballerina in the Nutcracker, or the Snow Queen herself, this Watercolor Ribbon Wand is guaranteed to add a bit of magic to their play!
Earlier this winter, Miss G and I made Jingle Bell Hand Kites for some of younger friends and while she still loves them, I thought we could make something even more magical with longer streamers and some additional embellishments.
I found these white ribbon wands and thought they were the perfect blank canvas for us to transform into some magical winter wands. I bought a few so we can make some more of these wands at our Christmas party with our friends – but they would also make great homemade gifts for kids to give their friends. (Or you can keep them in the craft cupboard and make customized wands for every season or holiday!)
(They’d also be great for a Frozen-themed birthday party!)
Now, this craft doesn’t actually use watercolors – you definitely could use them but it wouldn’t have as colorful of a result and we were going for bright, saturated colors. Instead we used permanent markers and used my friend Jackie’s method for helping the colors bleed and take on the appearance of watercolor.
I’ve been using permanent markers with my daughter for years and she’s proven herself to be careful and responsible when using them. I think if we take the time to explain what would happen if they misused a material, and then show kids that we trust them to use it properly, they often rise to the occasion and are eager to show you that they are capable.
That said… here is a guide on how to remove permanent marker because accidents do happen! To prevent issues, we love using fast food-style plastic trays to protect the table with messy crafts like this. It also doubled as providing an edge to keep any excess drips of alcohol contained.
This process art activity was so much fun to do and it took quite a bit of time for her to color all of the ribbons. We split it up over three mornings as a special activity after she got herself completely ready for school. On the final morning, we did all of the alcohol rubbing at once – so you don’t have to worry about doing it while the marker drawings are fresh. By the time school was done, it was dry and ready to play with!
These watercolor ribbon wands are a beautiful craft for kids to make – add a snowflake like we did for winter, or add a starfish for summer (like we did for our mermaid wands), or a wooden star, or leave it plain. This craft is absolutely magical anytime of the year!
Materials to Make a Watercolor Ribbon Wand
- Ribbon Wand
- Permanent markers
- Pipettes (or eye dropper)
- Cotton pads or cotton balls
- Rubbing alcohol (Jackie suggests 99% but we used 70% and it worked great)
- Glitter Snowflake
- Jingle bells, optional
Tip: swap out the snowflake for any embellishment – or leave it plain.
How to Make a Watercolor Streamer Wand
Place something down to protect your surface from permanent markers. (Like a plastic tray or a cookie tray.)
Color at random intervals with the permanent markers on the ribbons. Leave plenty of white space on the ribbon for the watercolor/bleeding effect.
When the ribbons are fully colored (still with lots of white gaps), place a few tablespoons of alcohol in a small cup and show your child how to use the pipette to suck up about a teaspoon at a time.
Add a couple of drops onto the drawings and let the colors spread. You may need to use the cotton pads to rub the drawings/colors to fully cover the white parts of the ribbon.
Repeat this process until the ribbons have no white spaces left.
Immediately rinse the ribbons with cold water to remove the alcohol smell. (Some people claim that this smell evaporates when you use it in crafts, but I always notice it.)
Let the ribbons dry fully before gluing on any embellishments.
If you want to add jingle bells to the streamer, thread them on the ribbons and tie securely near the top of the wand.
Grab your free printable for our watercolor wand craft:
This watercolor ribbon wand is a magical addition to any child’s imaginative play and is a fun, low-key craft with some magic of it’s own.