A few days ago I was playing with my watercolors and wanted to experiment, so I found a couple of Playtex tampons (sorry guys), which, after all, is just rolled up cotton. I pushed the end out just a little, dipped it in water (it doesn't take much), then dipped each side into different watercolor and had a blast learning and seeing what I could do with it.
You have to work quickly, because as the water absorbs toward the center the cotton swells out of the tube and the colors get very light and weak. But that's not a problem. It just makes the colors more pastel.
All of these were made in my Moleskine pocket sized watercolor book. Each page will make 2 atcs on wc paper, or several inchies, with a small strip left over. I think these designs would be great backgrounds, or maybe little paintings. I used the same 4 colors on all of them and completed my book. I will go back and add more to them sometime, probably, but for the time being, I like them this way.
Following are 6 photos of different designs made in various stages of the cotton expanding.
This one was made after the cotton was fully "blossomed". I pressed the whole thing straight down each time, rotating the cotton so the colors would be more varied. I only used one layer on all of these, but you could add more layers with different colors if you wanted to.
This one was made by turning the fully "blossomed" cotton over to the string side and pressing it straight down. See the white lines in the middles?This one was with the cotton tip out of the tube just a little. I pressed it straight down and twisted it to make these circles. Each side of the cotton had a different color on it.