How to Make Your Own Watercolor Paints

Try this amazingly easy DIY for artists of all ages.

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You guys! Homemade paints are where it’s at. If you've already tried DIY puffy paint and DIY fingerpaint, find time to add these watercolors to your collection. Made with ingredients that you likely already have, and customized into a palette that’s saturated, smooth, and a total joy to put on paper, DIY watercolors are really going to change the way you stock your art supplies.

How to Make Your Own Watercolor Paints

How to Make Your Own Watercolor Paints

An easy recipe for making your own watercolor paints.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Here’s what you’ll need

  • 4 tablespoons baking soda
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon corn syrup
  • small mixing bowls
  • food coloring
  • spoons or spatulas for stirring
  • paint palette with deep wells or ice cube trays
How to Make Your Own Watercolor Paints

How to Make Your Own Watercolor Paints

An easy recipe for making your own watercolor paints.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Begin by stirring the baking soda and cornstarch together in a bowl. Add the vinegar right on top and immediately mix as it interacts with the baking soda. Add the corn syrup last, stirring it slowly until all lumps and clumps are removed from the mixture.

How to Make Your Own Watercolor Paints

How to Make Your Own Watercolor Paints

An easy recipe for making your own watercolor paints.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Pour the mixture into small bowls – one for each color you intend to create. 

How to Make Your Own Watercolor Paints

How to Make Your Own Watercolor Paints

An easy recipe for making your own watercolor paints.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Add food coloring to each bowl. Perfect opportunity to teach the kids about the magic of mixing custom colors.

How to Make Your Own Watercolor Paints

How to Make Your Own Watercolor Paints

An easy recipe for making your own watercolor paints.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

At this point, stir together each paint color, and transfer it directly into your palette – ice cube trays work great, but you can also find reusable palettes with small wells at the craft store. I left our center well empty as a vessel for the water.

How to Make Your Own Watercolor Paints

How to Make Your Own Watercolor Paints

An easy recipe for making your own watercolor paints.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Notice how all of my reds look poorly mixed? I don’t have a good answer for this! Perhaps it was my own dye, or maybe red dye breaks down a little differently, but I can assure you that it didn’t affect the end product at all.

How to Make Your Own Watercolor Paints

How to Make Your Own Watercolor Paints

An easy recipe for making your own watercolor paints.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Now it’s waiting time – leave the watercolors alone for several days and allow the mixture to harden. When it does, it’s good to use. Use your watercolors as you would any store-bought product, and revel in the ability to make something so, so crafty by yourself at home.

These aren’t archival quality watercolors and they’re bound to fade with time (but the same can be said of most of the watercolor paints we buy for our kids at the craft store). They’re also apt to dye fabrics since food coloring is an ingredient. Use with care, but have lots and lots of fun playing with these DIY paints.

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