Sunday, April 28, 2013

DIY: Watercolor Paints

This recipe was one I first saw on Pinterest. Found here originally, this will make enough watercolor paint to fill 6 egg carton cups. If you want more colors, you can double the quantities, or just put less into each egg cup. I would probably just put less in each cup, since the yield for each color was quite a lot, considering that these are watercolor paints. This recipe is an easy and inexpensive way to make paint at home, and it's the first recipe I have seen for a true dried cake watercolor recipe. More importantly, it works!

{Trying out our watercolor paints}

{Paint AFTER Setting Overnight}

  • 4 Tbs baking soda
  • 2 Tbs vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp corn syrup
  • 2 Tbs corn starch
  • liquid food coloring
  • empty egg carton
  • mixing bowl
  • spoons/skewers/popsicle sticks for stirring
  • something to protect work surface
  • paper 
  • paintbrushes
  • small container of water
  1. In a bowl, combine baking soda with vinegar and wait until fizzing stops. 
  2. Add corn syrup and cornstarch and mix. (Note: The original directions I found said until a "uniform consistency" but I found it glue-like on the top, and paste-like on the bottom, which is not what I would call "consistent" but it worked for me.)
  3. Pour into egg cartons. You can pour it in without measuring, but I wanted to know quantities, and I found that one egg cup would hold 1 tablespoon of the paint mixture. Tip: For some reason our egg carton was leaking, so I quickly moved it on top of a cereal box liner (like free "wax paper"). I suggest covering your work surface before pouring the paint mixture into your egg cups to avoid leaks.
  4. Add food coloring to each cup and carefully stir to mix. Tip: I tried using a spoon for this, but I found that it was sloshing the colors from one egg cup to the next. Then, I switched to a skewer, and had much more control. I used 5 drops each for red, yellow, blue, and green. To make orange, I combined 2 red + 3 yellow (this came out redder than I was hoping for, so maybe it needs more yellow) and purple was just plain odd. At first I combined 2 red + 3 blue and wound up with black! Then, I added 3 drops of neon purple and that combination made the nice deep violet that I was after.
  5. Allow paint to set overnight. A couple of the colors had a little moisture on top when we used them, but this is okay.
  6. Use wet paintbrushes to apply to paper. Tip: We used card stock, which worked fine, but watercolor paper is recommended. Thick paper is ideal. Tip: Paint shirts/smocks/old clothes are always my suggestion for painting with kids.
  7. This paint dries quickly, which is nice because you can hang the paintings up much sooner than with other paints we have tried. Also, Mia liked that she could apply it thickly and get 3-D effects, not something that is normally achieved with watercolor paints. The colors do fade once they dry, but that is typical of watercolors, so I was not surprised by this.
  8. This paint should keep for awhile, but with food type paints, it is hard to tell. (Note: Since I have the problem with the egg carton that is leaking, I am keeping mine on top of the cereal box liner for now. I may have to apply tape to the bottom in the future so that I can move this from my counter into our regular art supplies storage.)
{Finished Paintings}

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