Make Homemade Watercolor Paints

Share & Comment

Making Homemade Watercolor Paints 

We made our own watercolor paints the other day. How cool is that?! They were easy and didn't require many ingredients, just stuff we already had in the kitchen (food coloring, corn starch, corn syrup, baking soda, white vinegar).

Homemade Watercolor Paints Recipe

(Recipe found on this yahoo article)


  • 3 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 tablespoons baking soda
  • 6 tablespoons white vinegar
  • Food coloring


1. Mix corn syrup, cornstarch, baking soda, and white vinegar together.

2. Divide into jar lids, small containers, or (as we did) plastic egg carton sections.

3. Add food coloring to each section as desired to make your colors.

4. Let dry. (Note: stir the paints a couple times as they are drying but before they get too hard. Otherwise the materials separate a bit.)

Making Homemade Watercolor Paints

As usual, Maia had as much fun measuring and mixing the ingredients as painting with the finished product. Possibly more.

Making Homemade Watercolor Paints

I divided the base mixture into egg carton cups.

Making Homemade Watercolor Paints

Maia added food coloring and mixed it in.

Making Homemade Watercolor Paints

Then we both painted with our new watercolor paints!

Making Homemade Watercolor Paints

They worked pretty well and were translucent like other watercolors. They dry a little powdery though, because of all the cornstarch and baking soda, which isn't a bad thing, just something I noticed.

Making Homemade Watercolor Paints

Have any of you tried making your own watercolors? Or other paints?

So far, besides watercolors, we've made salt paint and puffy paint. Making them is as fun as using them in our house, so I'd love to try some others.

P.S. If you liked this post, you might enjoy my weekly ARTletter. Sign up here for creativity delivered straight to your inbox.

Share & Comment


  1. inbal says

    here’s another idea: in israel it called finger-paint or hand paint. you can buy it ready but of course it is so much fun making it.
    the ingredients:
    2 cups cold water
    2 cups white flour
    2 cups boiling water
    2 tbs oil
    in a cooking pan mix the flour and cold water.
    add the boilg water and bring to boiling while whisking constantly. when it come to boil turn off the fire and whisk some more untill no more visible lumps. then add the oil.
    divied the mass to number of bowls or jars and add food coloring to each of the jars/bowls. you can use it right away.
    the best paper to use is at list 70 gr. it need to be pretty thick and large soak it with water (the best way is in a large wash-tab).
    than you put it on a table and flaten with your hands.
    with a spoon you put a little bit of each color on the paper and start the fun.
    sorry the expenation got a bit long but it is really fun activity and some of my best childhood memories are of this activity.

  2. says

    These paints look brilliant. We have made Cornflour Finger Paint before from the book ‘Small Fry’. It’s easy to make and the effect it great.
    2 tbsp white sugar
    2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
    2 cups cold water
    drops of food colouring
    Stir over a medium heat until the mixture boils. The mixture will thicken slowly. Allow to cool. Add colouring once the paint is in containers.
    ‘Small Fry’ is written by Susie Cameron and Katrina Cook

  3. says

    We’ve been making them for years. You can also use them wet. Just dip the brush. You can see pictures of one of our sets and the art we made here:
    I highly recommend getting some sets of paste food dyes for making these and stuff like vivid playdough. You get such a nice range of colors and they’re much brighter, plus the little jars last forever since they’re so concentrated. We use natural dyes for our foods but have a huge collection of colors of Wilton and neon food coloring for crafts. :)

  4. [email protected] says

    Thanks for the idea Jean. I think we’ll try this in my preschool class this week!

  5. says

    What a great idea! We’ve never done any of this before but I think my kids will love it. Thanks much!

  6. says

    Looks like she used them wet but then did you let the paints dry and then use them after also? I made them last night and decided to let them dry but the cornstarch is settling to the bottom and the color is more concentrated in the surface liquid. I did a double batch and made 4 big containers of blue, yellow, green and red and then 19 tiny colors. Can’t wait to see if mine will work!

  7. Vicki says

    We would love to try this but can’t get corn syrup easily in New Zealand. Do you know of an alternative?

  8. says

    Hi! I love this recipe for homemade watercolors. I don’t have corn syrup, so what happens if I don’t use it? What can I use as a corn syrup substitute?