Homemade Watercolor Paints

Make Homemade Watercolor Paints


How to Make Homemade Watercolor Paints with Kids

We made homemade 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).

Here’s how…

How to Make Your Own Watercolor Paints

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 with Kids

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

How to Make Watercolor Paints

I divided the base mixture into egg carton cups.

How to Make Homemade Watercolor Paints

Maia added food coloring and mixed it in.

DIY Watercolor Paints for Kids

Then we both painted with our new watercolor paints!

Homemade Watercolor Paints for Kids

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.

Homemade Watercolor Paints in Action

Have any of you tried making homemade watercolor paints? Or any 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.

Update :: We’ve since made lots of homemade paints and other homemade art materials!

Pin It for Later ::

How to Make Homemade Watercolor Paints with Kids - A Step by Step Tutorial


  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    May 7, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    For those of you not following the facebook comments, it turns out that Martha Stewart just did a show on homemade watercolors. Here’s a link to her version:

  • Reply
    May 7, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    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 paper.you 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.

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    May 7, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Thanks, Inbal! We’ll try that.

  • Reply
    welcome to our wonderland
    May 7, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    fun we made ours last week: https://lettersnumbersandbooksohmy.blogspot.com/2010/04/bio-color-homemade-watercolor-paints.html

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    May 7, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    I just saw this post on making egg paint at Rhythm of the Home: https://rhythmofthehome.wordpress.com/2010/05/07/how-to-make-egg-paint-guest-writer-ginny-from-small-things/

  • Reply
    May 7, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    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

  • Reply
    jeannine: waddlee-ah-chaa
    May 8, 2010 at 8:51 am

    My son is very artistic and loves science. He will enjoy making his own paint and a project. Thanks!

  • Reply
    A Magical Childhood
    May 8, 2010 at 10:55 am

    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: https://www.examiner.com/x-28900-Mankato-Homeschooling-Examiner~y2010m1d26-Make-your-own-wet-or-dry-watercolor-paints
    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. :)

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    May 9, 2010 at 12:11 pm

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

  • Reply
    May 9, 2010 at 8:20 pm

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

  • Reply
    May 14, 2010 at 9:51 am

    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!

  • Reply
    August 27, 2012 at 6:27 am

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

  • Reply
    May 11, 2013 at 1:07 am

    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?

  • Reply
    September 10, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    Try treacle perhaps, honey would be another option. :)

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