How to Make Your Own Phenology Wheel for Your Nature Journal, Bullet Journal or Art Journal
I’m always looking for easy but effective ways to get myself and my children out in nature, recording what we are experiencing together. So when I saw these posts from Lynn Seddon at Raising Little Shoots I was pretty excited to start a phenology wheel in 2019!
The word Phenology according to the Merriam Webster dictionary means the study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena, especially in relation to climate and plant and animal life. You can use a phenology wheel to keep track of anything really. I did a quick search and found lots of moon phase phenology wheels as well as just focusing on a piece of nature, like a single tree.
For my example below, I chose to just focus on some of my favorite things for each month along with important events down at the middle section. Lynn offers a wonderful and inexpensive ebook that goes through the basics. It’s pretty obvious, just by looking at pictures, how it works (as you’ll see in the video for you below). But her book gives you lists of different holidays, events in nature, and nature-inspired booklists/poetry to read and share together for each month.
I highly recommend this book as well as her other book, Exploring Nature with Children (which is a year-long full curriculum and is seriously so great).
Partners in Place LLC also has a beautiful page full of examples of different Phenology Wheels to inspire you as well. Here’s a link to that page.
OK, now it’s time to show you how I made my own Phenology Wheel. I hope it will inspire you to make one for yourself. You can put this in your nature journal, bullet journal, art journal…wherever. It’s so simple and turns into such a fun piece of art.
- Winsor Newton 12 pan watercolor set (or whatever you have on hand) Colored pencils work great too.
- Paintbrush. Look for a round brush size 0-6. This set has some great options and I always use this handy set both in nature journaling and in the studio)
- Your Art Journal, Nature Journal or Bullet Journal OR
- 140lb Watercolor Paper (this is my favorite for these kinds of projects).
- Printable Phenology Wheel Pattern (found in the Resource Library)
- Window, iPad or Lightboard (see below)
- Pencil (I prefer to use a blue pencil but any pencil will do)
- Black Pen (I used this one for the writing and this one for outlining my birds)
For this project, I used all of my colors in the 12 half pan palette. Don’t worry if you don’t have Winsor & Newton brand of paints (although if you are in the market for inexpensive but high-quality paints I wholeheartedly recommend this set), most watercolor paints have the same name across brands so just look for the names in whatever you have. If you are using a pan that doesn’t have names, just try to get close to these colors as you paint or be creative and do your own! Just keep your color palette limited and it will turn out great!
1. Print Out Your Template
If you are already a member of the Lily and Thistle tribe, you can access the pattern in the Resource Library with your password (found in every email I send to you) HERE. If you aren’t a member of our creative community, you can sign up and grab your password HERE.
2. Trace Your Template
I like to trace everything with my trusty blue pencil first and then come in with a black pen after. You may be wondering how to do this without a light board. Hot tip: You have a light board (actually a whole bunch) right in your home. Windows!
If you are working on this at night, you still have some options. I like to use my iPad. I use the Softbox app set on the white setting and it works like a charm!
3. Record Your First Month!
I recorded my process below. I hope this very amateur video is helpful for you. Please let me know if you have any suggestions. I’m posting to YouTube so if you’d like to be notified of new videos, you can subscribe!
4. Keep it up all Year
I hope this will be a fun little project for you and your kids to do together throughout the year. It’s one of those simple projects that just takes a few minutes of time but will create lasting memories for years to come. Please let me know if you have any questions. I am so happy to help.
Happy New Year!