Making Your Own Homemade Watercolor Paints

I had some fun this weekend making homemade watercolor paints for my little guy. The simple recipe calls for four main ingredients, which I already had right in my pantry, and it only took just a few minutes to mix everything together. While children’s water color paints typically aren’t that expensive to being with, one of the perks of making your own is being able to create customized colors that you don’t typically find in the pre-purchased packs. {As an added bonus you know exactly what ingredients the paints are made of and the assurance of knowing there are no harmful chemicals or allergens}

The recipe for the paints was found through Martha Stewart on Whole Living. {one of the Martha Inspired Crafts for this month} After mixing the paint they do require time to dry before using so it is best to mix these and let them dry overnight.

Materials Needed:
4 Tablespoons of Baking Soda
2 Tablespoons of White Vinegar
1/2 Teaspoon of Light Corn Syrup
2 Tablespoons of Cornstarch
Food Coloring

Additional supplies include:
A recycled egg carton or small containers to store the paints

Begin by pouring the baking soda and vinegar into a mixing bowl. The two ingredients will fizz and foam so it’s fun to let the kiddies watch. Once the foaming stops, stir with a spoon until you get a smooth consistency.

Add in the corn syrup and cornstarch and mix well. The consistency will be like gak, if you have ever made it – It appears to be a liquid but as soon as you touch it is like a solid…lots of fun.

Once you have a uniform consistency, scoop the mixture into a recycled egg carton or several small containers. Using the recipe above I was able to fill six cups of an egg carton.

Drop in the desired food coloring to each cup ~ You can find a color chart on Whole Living {here} or simply make up your own as you go along.

I used a toothpick to thoroughly mix the food coloring into the mixture. It will seem a bit crumbly as you are mixing but once you let it sit it changes back into a liquid consistency and levels out.

Let the paints dry and harden for several hours or overnight. Ours were ready to go in about six hours.

Since you have to use a little water to mix with the paints when you are ready to paint, regular paper does not do well at all; you will need to use a heavier type artist paper or paper made specifically for watercolors. We used some textured acrylic paper that I already had – I am pretty sure the whole pad of cost just under $3 and was found at Wal-Mart.

The colors blend and dry so pretty.

Even though I think my little guy creates masterpieces =) beautiful pieces of art can be created by anyone with any painting ability using these paints.

{Source: Art.Com}
With a little bit of time and mixing the right colors I think it would be easy to re-create a piece of art like this print by Kenny Primmer – I love this type of art work.

I am so impressed with the masterpieces my little guy created. They are perfect backdrops for the entertainment unit cubbies. I couldn’t have purchased better art work and it means so much more saying my little guy did that.

Hope you have a wonderful week ~ Enjoy!


  1. These are great! Even though my children are older (i.e. middle school on up) but I know the younger two will have a great time with this. We have been looking for some new art for their room as well as some LARGE art pieces for the addition (once its built!) And I love having artwork in our house that has meaning. Right now we have origami, a watercolor painting (which has been misplaced and is driving me crazy!!!) plus a vase made by our eldest. All beautiful and unique as far as I am concerned! Pieces I will cherish for as long as I live!!

  2. This is a GREAT idea. I will try it with my preschool students!

  3. What a completely awesome idea. I’ve never done this before but I am definitely going to give it a try. I have two d-i-l that would probably love this as well.
    Thanks for a wonderful idea. Will get my two oldest grandsons to help me make it. They will enjoy that experience as well.
    Jackie in San Antonio.

  4. I really have to try with my students!
    We must realize the sea to represent a story,
    you gave me the right inspiration, thank you very much!

  5. I love this! I just bought my 2-year-old a set of watercolor paints last week and we had such a good time painting. She loves cooking, so I know she will love “cooking” up homemade paint 😉

  6. What a fun idea! I’ll have to try this for one of our snow days.

  7. Such a fun idea to make your own paints! Thanks for sharing:)

  8. That is so cool! I love making things like playdough, fingerpaints… We will have to give this one a try!


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