Christmas Cookie Cutter Watercolor Tree Ornaments

Top three are wax relief; bottom four use mixed techniques with watercolors; the tree on the far right middle uses layers of "sponge painting" in three shades of green with large and small bubble wrap.
Use a pencil to lightly outline around the outside of Christmas cookie cutters on watercolor paper. Cut the shapes and decorate with a variety of simple watercolor techniques for a kid-friendly project that is festive and fun. I designed this project for Christmas VBS and as a simple art project for children at the annual Wassailfest in downtown New Braunfels. The easiest way is to have the shapes pre-cut. Use a paper punch to put a hole for a ribbon at the top of the shape. If you have more time and are working with older children or adults then they could outline and cut their own stack of shapes from a sheet of watercolor paper.
Basic supplies: a selection of cookie cutters, watercolors, glitter crayons, and watercolor paper.

Watercolor technique options:
Wax relief: Use glitter crayons to decorate both sides of the ornament—press hard so the wax is bold and heavy on the paper. Paint with watercolors on both sides and tie with a ribbon. Wax relief also works well for custom gift tags. Write the name in crayon and then watercolor over. Affix the tag onto a package using double-stick tape or punch a hole and tie with ribbon.

Watercolors Mixed Techniques: Practice different watercolor techniques such as wet on wet so the colors blur together; dry on dry so the watercolors have a more distinct edge; layers of watercolors—force try between layers so they don’t turn muddy. This variation reminds me of the "egg yolk paint" cookies we made as children--cookie dough that was sweetened with honey and then the shapes cut out and painted with food coloring in egg yolk and baked until the colors glistened.
Sponge painting: use a variety of materials including sponges, bubble wrap with large and/or small bubbles, and wadded up tissue paper or paper towel.

"Sponge painting" with bubble wrap--paint the bubble wrap with watercolors and press bubble side down onto the ornament.
Layer with different sized bubble wrap and different shades of green. Force dry with a hairdryer between colors.

Notice the layers of size and shade in the (upside down) tree. If you allow to dry between layers (or force dry) the edges remain more distinct. You also can layer wet on wet for softer edges, but be careful that the colors don't muddy. You also can layer colors on the bubble wrap for one smoosh in several shades.