Today’s recipe started off being a just-for-fun idea to see if it would work, and instead ended up being cheap therapy.
I’ve been wanting to test this recipe for how to make your own watercolor paints for awhile now. Because I don’t have any little kiddos around my house anymore to play with the paints, I knew it would be up to me to experiment with them to see if they worked. So after mixing up my homemade watercolor paints, I sat down to fiddle a bit, and totally lost track of the time.
Before I sat down to paint my mind had been whirring around with what errands I still had to do, what blog work I wanted to do, the laundry that was in the dryer, the muffins I was going bake, etc. etc., etc. Once I started painting, it was all forgotten. I was temporarily just lost in the colors and the quietness and the enjoyment of creating, even if I wasn’t really creating anything in particular.
Like I said, it was some darn good cheap therapy. I was calm and relaxed again.
Mixing Up Your Own Batch Of Watercolor Paints
Once again I was pleasantly surprised at what we can make for ourselves with supplies right from the kitchen cupboard. These homemade watercolor paints are a mixture of nothing but baking soda, vinegar, corn syrup, and corn starch. You then add food coloring in quantities to your choosing, and let them dry up for a day or two.
Here are a few things I learned from making my batch:
– When measuring your baking soda, you should be careful to level it off in the measuring spoon so that you don’t use too much. Also when measuring the vinegar, you want to be sure you fill the measuring spoon full. I mixed up an initial batch of this recipe and was not so exact, and the batch turned out way too thick and had to be tossed out. Careful measuring is important for this recipe.
– I’ve shared below how much food coloring I used for each of the colors in my set, however this project is filled with the joy of color so of course you may use my suggestions but you are certainly free to branch out with any other color ideas or combinations you may dream up. I used liquid food coloring for my watercolor set, but it may be possible to use the gel type of food coloring as well.
– Another thing I learned was that as more drops of liquid food coloring are added, the wetter that mixture becomes, and the longer it will take to thoroughly dry. If you are adding several drops of liquid food coloring to one of the sections, you might want to sprinkle just a tiny bit more cornstarch in too, or be prepared to be more patient.
– You will also need some type of container with about a dozen little sections. I used a mini muffin tin that worked perfectly. Some other ideas might be an egg carton or an ice cube tray.
– I mixed my ingredients together in a measuring cup (my one-cup size worked fine). This was helpful for pouring the mixture into the sections of the mini muffin tin.
Here are the complete instructions:
HOMEMADE WATERCOLOR PAINTS
4 Tablespoons Baking Soda
2 Tablespoons White Vinegar
1/2 Teaspoon Light Corn Syrup
2 Tablespoons Corn Starch
For tinting your paints you will also need:
1. Measure out your baking soda into a measuring cup.
2. Add the vinegar and let it fizz up, then stir it into the baking soda.
3. Next, add the light corn syrup and the corn starch, and mix well. You should end up with a mixture that’s about the consistency of Elmers glue.
4. Pour the mixture into the sections of your container. I filled each section of my mini muffin tin about 1/4 to 1/2 full.
5. The next step is to tint your paints. Add whatever drops of food coloring you are using into a section, and then stir the food coloring in using a toothpick until the color is evenly distributed.
The picture below shows the final results for the amounts of food coloring that I used. For the pink paint that says “a half drop” of food coloring, I dripped some of the food coloring onto my toothpick and then stirred it in, instead of dropping the food coloring directly onto the section to be colored.
6. Now you will need to let your new watercolor set harden up. This will take a day or two. Mine was pretty good after about 24 hours, except for a couple of the colors that had 4 or 5 drops of food coloring. That being said, I was still able to use them to paint because they were almost dry, and you just put a wet brush on them anyway!
These homemade watercolor paints can be used the same as any other watercolor paint. Keep a small bowl of water handy for dipping your brush. Dip your brush in the water, then swirl it around on one of the sections of paint, and then start painting onto your paper. Rinse your brush and dry it on paper toweling when switching colors.
With just these basic supplies from my kitchen, I was able to paint with all the colors of the rainbow . . . . .
So if you have some little ones around the house to keep busy, or if you’re like me and can use some occasional cheap therapy to calm your frayed nerves, why not give these homemade watercolors a try? They’re easy, frugal, and fun.
Click here to see the list of blog parties where this post may be linked.