Learn about the moon's phases using this super cool technique: glue resist.

Vocabulary: Glue resist
Moon Phases: New Moon, Waxing Crescent, First Quarter, Waxing Gibbous, Full Moon, Waning Gibbous, Last Quarter, Waning Crescent

Activity Time: 30 minutes (+ wait time for glue to dry...overnight)

Ages: 3+


Circle to trace (diameter will depend on paper size / you want to fit 8 circles across) White paper - preferably watercolor paper, Glue, Paintbrush, Black watercolor (DO NOT USE INK as pictured below*)

Moon Glue Resist Materials

*BLACK MAGIC is right. This ink is dark as night and also NOT kid friendly...let's reserve this for the experts and instead grab some standard watercolors.



  • Trace your chosen circle across the page 8 times with a pencil
  • Create the phases of the moon starting with the New Moon, Waxing Crescent, First Quarter . . . ending with Waning Crescent (as pictured above).
  • Dispense glue where the visible moon would appear.
  • Once the glue has dried proceed with the watercolor.
  • Wet the surface of the paper.
  • Take the black watercolor and start placing pigment down on the paper. Because the paper is wet, it will start spready across the page but will not go onto the dried glue - this is called a resist.

The moon itself doesn't emit any light like the sun. What we see when we see the moon is sunlight reflected off the moon. The phase of the moon is how much of the moon appears to us on Earth to be lit up by the sun. 
Around once per month, every 29.53 days to be exact, the phases of the moon make a complete cycle. As the moon circles the Earth, we can only see a portion of the lit up side. When we can see 100% of the lit up side, this is a full moon. When we can't see any of the lit up side, this is called a dark moon or new moon.

  • The moon looks different every night. Make a quick sketch for the next 29 nights and see if you can track the moon's complete cycle. 



  • I have a tendency to dismiss the art supplies catered to children under the assumption that there are higher quality options available to all ages. In many cases, this is true; however, please learn from my mistake. I would not recommend a highly concentrated pigment like BLACK MAGIC for this purpose. This is not a substitute for's essentially a liquified Sharpie x100.
  • We used Elmer's Glue pretty liberally. Because of that, we had to let the paper dry over night. You could spread out a thin layer or use another material like a white wax crayon to create the same effect.