Watercolor Calendar

watercolor calendar

watercolor calendarwatercolor calendarwatercolor calendar

We love a big wall calendar at our house, so I decided to make one this weekend. I used my kids’ watercolors — little tubes of gouache (pronounced gwash) — and oversize sheets of paper. If you haven’t tried gouache before, don’t be intimidated. It’s basically opaque watercolor, and it’s really easy to work with. Find instructions below.

paint on plate watercolor calendar

Watercolor Calendar How-to:

1) Use a shallow plate or pie pan as a palette. Fill it with a thin mix of paint and water (approx 1 inch of paint squeezed from the tube and 1/4 cup water). Use a paint brush or spoon to mix and dissolve the paint in the water.

paints on plates watercolor calendarpaint on plate watercolor calendarpaints on plates watercolor calendar

2) For the squares, instead of a brush, use a household sponge. I cut one into a 2 1/2 inch shape that was just right for us. But depending on your paper, you could go bigger or smaller.

sponges and scissors watercolor calendar

3) Dip your sponge flat into in the watercolor and set it lightly on the paper. Experiment on a sample paper first to see if you need to press the sponge down or tap it to get the coverage you prefer. Once you’re happy with your technique use the real paper.

watercolor calendar sponge paintingwatercolor calendar

4) Continue dipping the sponge into the paint every 4th square or so — or whenever you feel like the sponge needs more color. Tip: I kept the calendar app on my phone next to me while I worked so I could reference which day of the week each month started and ended on.

watercolor calendar

5) Let the calendars lay flat to dry for a few hours, then use your favorite pen or marker to fill them in.

watercolor calendar

Extra bonus: with tube paints, it’s easy to mix up a custom color if you have a unique one in mind — maybe the perfect shade of chartreuse to match your curtains.

watercolor calendar

The project was super simple and I think they turned out great. Now we have plenty of room to pencil in a year’s worth of adventures.

P.S. — Fun Fact: French calendars have weeks that begin on Monday and end on Sunday, but I used the traditional American format for our calendar.

55 thoughts on “Watercolor Calendar”

  1. You are so clever — I love the way these look! I don’t have a need for a large calendar, but I’m going to consider doing this for something else. So fab.

    1. Hi Sarah. Great question. Luckily, curling wasn’t a problem for two reasons. 1) there is actually very little water used, and 2) the paper is a mid-weight stock. Not too heavy, but heavier than text weight.

  2. Great, easy idea for the kids to keep track of their school and activity schedules. I think this is one for us to try soon! And it looks like artwork – a bonus!

    Thanks for the inspiration as always.


  3. This is great! I was out looking for a big calendar the other day. So much more fun to just make one. Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best. This post brought one of those “why didn’t I think of that?” moments!

  4. What a lovely idea, my kids and I have done a similar project with stamps. I like the large format you did here. We do everything big here also. I live with two young designers 11 and nine and I’m sure they will get a kick out of this idea and add some of their own touches to this. If young kids are doing this project I recommend using only paints meant for young kids. Thanks for the tip!……… eco-green art teacher, Spramani E’Laun

  5. I love this idea! I have been on a search for the perfect wall calendar and have yet to find one that I like this year. My favorite part is that I can decided exactly how large I want the squares to be. Thanks for the great idea!

  6. Beautiful-the calendar and your daughter! I’m so impressed that you already squeezed a project in! I think I’d still be unpacking!!

  7. How fun to see a gouache project – one of my favorites from my school years! So versatile and I love the vibrancy of the colors that are difficult to attain with simple watercolor paints.

  8. A really great project and something I’ll be doing next year. I’ve never found a calendar big enough for everyone in the family to write down their appointments and important days. Until now! Thank you for the inspiration!

  9. How fun! I love our dry erase board… But I also love any opportunity for art with my boys (4&6). We will do this tonight and keep it below our dry erase =). Thank you once again!!

  10. Before reading, I saw the photo of the lovely young lady writing on the calendar and thought, “Oh, a guest post.” Then I looked closer. Darling Maude!!

  11. Gorgeous! If and when I ever actually truly get my library/office, I would love something like this! (I don’t care to have our family calendar out for all our visitors to peruse so it lives inside a cabinet right now.) Of course having that space requires our finishing our unfinished basement. It’s gonna be awhile. : )

  12. When the page loaded, my first thought on seeing the calendar image was “Oh wow, how beautiful! Where can I buy that?” My 2nd thought was “Oh wow, they made these? I cannot wait to DO that!” And my third was, wow, how amazing and creative Gabrielle is. Thanks for being a continual inspiration!

  13. Yes! Love it. Love the water color, love calendars…..love. it. all.

    Just finished a homemade calendar with my four year old yesterday…to try and motivate some good sleep.

  14. I love this… and it has given me all kinds of ideas for making my own calendars.

    This evening my seven-year-old wanted me to color with her, so I created a calendar with crayons… and when she saw what I was doing, she decided to make a calendar too. Thanks for the inspiration!

  15. After my years in design college, I swore off gouache. I just despised working with it day after day however, you have given me new reason to pick up a few jars in some lovely colours. Thanks for opening my eyes again!

  16. Great calendar! I just want to bring to your attention that July 1st is Independence Day, and July 14st is National Day in France …

  17. woodsermom@hotmail.com

    Just rode our bikes to Baumarkt (German equivalent to Lowe’s – only with a bakery in the front of the store and beer on tap!! not making this up -haha!) to buy paint and now we are beginning our calendars. Such a pretty idea!

  18. Love this! Been looking for more artistic projects to do with my eager 4 year old and this would be great. We can practice days of the week too:)

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