Mandala Sugar Paintings

We love trying different paint methods and techniques. We have tried many fun processes, but sugar painting is by far my favorite. I’m just so in love with this technique. It is fun to watch and the results are just gorgeous. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at our mandala sugar paintings.Sugar painting is a gorgeous paint technique and fun process. - Glossy sugar and watercolor painted mandalas - Kids arts and crafts

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What you will need:

Oil pastels

Liquid watercolors

Watercolor paper


Hot water

Optional: Modge Podge

First, I made our sugar mixture. I stirred a Tbsp of sugar with a half a Tbsp of hot water. I stirred it well until it was mostly dissolved.  This mixture will be good for one to two paintings.

Next, we drew our mandalas on watercolor paper using oil pastels. Mandalas are fun and easy to make. Our mandalas were just a series of different sized circles inside of one another with symmetrical designs around the edge of each circle. We used random round objects around the house to form our circles, but you can free hand them as well. If you are working with a classroom, making different sized cardboard templates would be a good idea.

Press firmly with your pastels. Oil pastels offer great resistance to watercolors, so the stronger your lines are, the more defined the paint resist will be.

Our circles weren’t perfect, as you can see, but they don’t have to be.

We drew loops and lines and zig zags in each ring of our mandela.

We were then ready to paint.

When we were finished with our drawings, we brushed our sugar mixture over the paper. The process works best when the sugar water is still wet. Because of this, it is a good idea to work in small sections.

Dab on the watercolors with a brush and watch the paint feather out. I found that a round paintbrush worked best for dabbing on the paint.

Dab other colors around each other and watch them spread out and blend together in the most beautiful way.  My daughter oohed and aahed over this. We avoided dabbing too close to our pastel lines to try to prevent bleeding over the lines. If your paint bleeds over your pastel lines, you can remove them with a clean paint brush. The paint will wipe right off of the pastels. However, we did have one painting that had a lot of bleed over because we used too much sugar water and I loved the end result. See the comparison at the bottom of our post.

Let your paintings dry flat. They will dry with a glossy finish and will be sticky for a while. The stickiness will wear off, but it might take several days or even weeks. You can apply a layer of Modge Podge over your painting after it dries to protect it and cover the stickiness.

Here are two of the mandalas that we made. The first one without the bleeding and the second one had a lot of bleeding. I like the clean lines of the first one, but I love the beautiful chaos of the second one.
Sugar painting is a gorgeous paint technique and fun process. - Glossy sugar painted mandalas - Kids arts and craftsSugar painting is a gorgeous paint technique and fun process. - Glossy sugar painted mandalas - Kids arts and craftsThese were too much fun, so we made several.

Sugar painting is a gorgeous paint technique and fun process. - Glossy sugar painted mandalas - Kids arts and crafts

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