Home » How to Make Homemade Watercolor Paint

How to Make Homemade Watercolor Paint

My daughters love to paint all of the time.  We ran out of watercolor paints and I thought I’d see if it was possible to make my own homemade watercolor paints.  I did a quick Google search and found a recipe over at Happy Hooligans.  I was soo excited because usually when I come across homemade recipes that say you probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry I never do, and this time I did! These paints were super easy to make and Allie was thrilled that she got to make her own paint.

This is all you will need to make these paints yourself:

  • 4 tbsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp light Karo Syrup
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • food coloring (I used liquid food coloring because that’s what I had.  I only had neon colors too so did the best I could.)
  • container(s) to hold the paint (I used egg cartons but you could also use muffin tins, ice-cube trays, bottle caps, anything that can hold a bit of paint.)
watercolor paint ingredients
Start by mixing the baking soda and vinegar together in some type of container with a spout. I used my 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup to make it easy to pour the mixture into the egg carton.  The baking soda and vinegar will fizz and bubble. Once the fizzing stops add the Karo syrup. Then add the corn starch and mix thoroughly. Once everything is combined pour this white mixture into your designated paint wells, in my case the egg cartons. Finish up by adding a few drops of color to each well and mix with a tooth pick or craft stick.
We made two batches of paint. Each batch filled six wells in our egg cartons about 3/4 full. I noticed that for a few of our colors the food coloring spilled over the edge into the well in front and made these colors a little less intense.  My suggestion is not to fill the wells up quite so much to leave room for the coloring. These paints took about two days to completely dry and set up.

two homemade watercolor paints in egg cartons

Here is a color swatch test I did of all the colors.  On the left they are wet, and on the right they are dry.

watercolor paint test page

The colors were really vibrant and painted on extremely smooth. I was definitely impressed with the quality especially since I made them from things I had in my cupboard.  I didn’t paint on watercolor paper, this is just regular copy paper.  Actually, it’s used copy paper. We recycle paper that we have printed on and no longer need into scratch paper and art paper. Just a side tip, I also use this same paper to print my coupons on because it doesn’t matter what’s on the back.

watercolor Christmas tree

Here’s what the paint looks like in one of the egg cartons we used.  It’s kind of nice that it has a lid but not necessary at all. These paints were used and the wells are still pretty much full. I think these will last awhile. For pennies for all of these paints I wouldn’t be upset if my daughters wanted to paint every day. I don’t think I’ll be buying watercolor paints again any time soon for my daughters’ daily painting activities.

Wet and used homemade watercolor paints

These were soo easy to make that I think they will make great gifts. I know my daughter would love to make these for her friends and be even more excited to tell them that she made them herself. I probably wouldn’t put them in an egg carton as a gift though.

If your kids love to paint, I challenge you to check out your pantry and make these with them.  I’d love to hear about your stories making and these paints.

6 Responses to “How to Make Homemade Watercolor Paint”

  1. What a great idea!! Thank you so much for sharing. It will save me so much money because my son and nieces are painting fanatics!! :)
    I hope you are having a lovely week my dear and thank you so much for linking up to last week’s Aloha Friday Blog Hop.

    If you have time, we’d love to have you come back and link up to the Aloha Friday Blog Hop if you haven’t already!


    Jean {What Jean Likes}

  2. Erica says:

    New follower here from Aloha Friday, would love for you to come by and join my holiday blog hop and follow back?

  3. jackie says:

    So glad you love the paints as much as we do!! And so glad you really did have all the ingredients in your cupboards. heehee! Thanks so much for the shout-out in your post. :)

  4. bev says:

    hi, i’m following the “farmgirl friday blog hop” i would love for you to visit my blog and follow if you like it.


    new follower bev

  5. Marianne S. says:

    This is SO perfect for us! My son loves painting, but always tends to mix colors, so they get wasted easily…being able to make our own is IDEAL for him.

    Thank you!

    • Cari says:

      I know what you mean about all of the colored getting mixed and then often ultimately wasted. I’m excited to be able to make these for my girls and at a very affordable price.

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