My 2nd graders recently painted birch trees using several new watercolor techniques that they learned. The first technique was using masking tape for the trees. Secondly, we used a very light wash to make the ground by adding some watercolor paint to water. Thirdly, the students learned the salt technique to make snowflakes in the sky. We used watercolor paper for this because the salt technique doesn't work very well on thinner paper that soaks through easily; also, the masking tape tears thinner paper. But, the students did a wonderful job, so I think using the special paper was worth it!