DIY: Snow Paint Made From Old Markers

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By Gabrielle. Photos by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

Facing another snow day? Well I’ve got the perfect activity to keep the kids active and happy — and the main thing you need is old markers. Emphasis on the old! Before you throw away that set of neglected/mostly-dried out markers, give them one more shot at artistic glory. Use them to make snow paint!

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As you can imagine, Oakland is not snowed in at the moment (or ever), so I asked Minnesota-based Amy Christie, to help us out with this DIY.

The photo turned out so wonderfully! They make me want to load up the car and head to Tahoe so we can have a snow day too — snow painting, sledding, making a snowman. Hmmm. We don’t have school tomorrow because of a teacher prep day, so maybe we can really make this happen!

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Before we jump into this very easy DIY, I’d love to hear the snow situation in your part of the world. Are you snowed in? Stuck at home? Or are you seeing all the snow photos on social media and wishing you had an excuse to pull out your mittens and snow boots?

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Here’s what Amy says:

Did you get hit by the snowstorm last week? We didn’t get anything extra here in Minnesota, but we weren’t exactly hurting for more anyway. Friends of mine on the East Coast have reported they are on their fifth snow day! Holy cow! I’ve been a mom for long enough to know a snow day as a parent is a bit different than a snow day as a child. Parents everywhere are asking: how will we fill the time? Outside activities are imperative and I’ve got a fun idea that everyone will enjoy.

One of my favorite things to do is to weed out old, crusty markers. Who wants to keep the duds, right? Earlier this winter, instead of tossing the old markers, I soaked them in water, put the water into spray bottles and then we all headed out to add some color to our white world. The children went all out. My favorite part was the color they added to the piles at the curb. It was a bright spot to see when we come home.

It’s just so happy seeing bright coloring on the white snow. Grab your old markers and let’s get started.

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– old non-toxic markers* **
– water
– jars or plastic containers
– spray bottles
– snow!

*Please make sure the markers are non-toxic. Colored snow is super fun but it will melt and the colors will soak into the ground. Be kind to Mother Earth.

**Don’t have old markers? Use food coloring or non-toxic liquid watercolors. Add desired amount to water-filled spray bottles and you’re set.

Gather up old no-toxic markers. Bent tips, dried out and crusty? Doesn’t matter. It all works. Separate them into colors.

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Place the markers, uncapped, top down into jars, half filled with water. Allow to soak for at least 8 hours and up to a day. The longer they soak, the denser the color.

A couple things to note:

– You will need more than one marker to make a dense enough color spray.

– Think about combining similar tones together. Unless red is very strong, nearly opaque, it looks very similar to pink on the snow so combine them together to make a stronger, deeper rosy hue (we did that!). Other good combos are black and gray, teal and green or teal and blue, yellow and orange.

– All hues are not created equal. Blue, green, purple, black, brown, orange — strong, potent colors. Yellow and a true red are more of a challenge (though we resigned ourselves to a pinky red above). Purple can appear purple-ish pink.

– When spraying, set the bottles to the spray or mist setting instead of the stream. The stream setting pierces the snow and could damage a fantastic snow sculpture.

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When the markers are finished soaking, pour the colored water into spray bottles and use!

I had to make a second batch immediately because we used it all!

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Oh my goodness! This is so much fun. Thank you, Amy! The colored snow is really stunning. What a happy thing to see on a gloomy day.

Hey Friends, looking for more winter activities for your kids? Try these colored ice ornaments and these DIY ice luminaries.

Credits: Images, styling & text by Amy Christie.

6 thoughts on “DIY: Snow Paint Made From Old Markers”

  1. That looks so much fun. We moved to Phoenix from Wisconsin two years ago. I miss the snow a little bit, but I sure don’t miss winter! It’s a gorgeous 70 degrees here almost every day. Talk to me mid-summer though, and I may be singing a different tune.

  2. It’s hot and humid here in Sydney this summer, but even in mid winter I’ll never colour the snow as we don’t get it where I live. I have to wonder though, what affect does the marker have on the ground underneath when the snow melts?

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