watercolors from scratch

One of the workshops I have been teaching lately is watercolors from scratch! The kiddos and I whipped up a batch of watercolors on the first day and now they're exploring color mixing and painting in their own handmade sketchbooks. Making the watercolors with them was a lot of fun, it was pretty much a colorful science experiment. 

It was also surprisingly easy to make them too. And if any of the kiddos get curious about what yellow tastes like, it won't hurt them! The recipe we used was comprised of ingredients we had in my kitchen...so any accidental or purposeful ingestion won't be a problem. 

To make your own homemade watercolors, you'll need:
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon corn syrup
  • assortment of food coloring
1. Gather all the ingredients and combine the baking soda, cornstarch and corn syrup in bowl. Have the vinegar and a fork ready. 2. When ready, pour the vinegar into the mixture and mix quickly with the fork. The mixture will bubble like crazy but keep mixing until it is all combined. 3. Once it is all mixed, pour the science goop into small containers (paint palette, dixie cups or an ice cube tray work great). 4. Add a couple drops of food coloring to each container. The more drops of color, the more intense the watercolor will be. 5. Let them dry! The kiddos had to wait a week to use theirs and they worked perfectly!
After the class, it was pretty apparent whether it was one of the boys or the girls who made a certain color...the boys mostly mixed varying shades of greens and blues, or vomit green as they called it, while the girlies had a broader color spectrum and a lot more reds and purples. Some kiddos stayed in a certain color range so I made some extra primary colors the day before the class to complete the color wheel! I'll share some more photos from the class as it progresses (and hopefully photos not taken on my phone during the frenzy of color mixing).


  1. Oooh! I'm going to need to try that!

    1. You definitely should! They're so easy to make, it's awesome! The hardest part is waiting to use them :)

  2. This is so cool! What a fun thing to do with the kids!

    1. It's such a fun project, the kiddos are having a lot of fun. I think they are really proud knowing they made their own art supply :)


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