How to Make Homemade Watercolour Paints for Kids

Homemade Water Colour Paints: Use a few basic kitchen ingredients to make these amazing homemade watercolour paints for your kids!

I love making homemade paints with stuff I already have around the house!  These homemade watercolour discs were my first attempt at making my own paints a few years ago.

I don’t know about your kids, but the hooligans can blow through a tray of those store-bought watercolours in a matter of minutes.

 I love these home-made paints because they last much longer, and they don’t get all mixed together like the plastic tray paints do.

They’re not archival quality by any means, but they’re perfect for toddler projects, and for kids who like to paint every day.  You won’t be running to the store to replenish your paints once you start making your own!

How to make homemade watercolour paint for kids

 I originally found this recipe over at Pie Birds, a beautiful, crafty blog that you should really check out.

So! How do you make homemade watercolour paints?

It’s easy!  All you need are a few basic pantry ingredients!

ingredients for homemade watercolor paints

The photos that you see in this post are of double batch.

Recipe for solid homemade watercolour paint discs:

For your convenience, I’ve included Affiliate links in this post.

Mixing your homemade paints:

  • Mix your baking soda and vinegar together (hello science experiment) and wait for the fizzing to stop.  It’s handy if you mix in a container that has a spout (I used a 2c measuring cup).


making homemade watercolour paint

  • Add the  corn syrup and cornstarch, and mix well until the cornstarch has dissolved.
  • Pour into your containers (double batch of watercolours half-filled all 12 compartments of a mini muffin tin).
  • Now, grab your colours and have some fun!  Stir colour in with a toothpick or popsicle stick and mix well for about a minute.   We used Wilton Icing Gels to colour all but two of our paints; for the red and yellow, we used liquid food colour.


stirring blue homemade watercolour paint

  • For the liquid colours, we added 6 drops to get the intense colour we were looking for.  An extra pinch of cornstarch helped compensate for the extra liquid.
  • Now the hard part:  waiting.  Your watercolour paints have to dry completely.  Apparently this could take up to 2 days, but I left mine beside our gas fireplace overnight, and they were dry in less than 24 hours.

tray of dried homemade watercolour paints

When your watercolours are dry, simply grab a paint brush and some water and test them out!  I couldn’t wait to try ours, and I was so impressed with them when I did.

The paints glide on smoothly, the colours look super.  They’re nicer than any dollar store watercolours we’ve ever used.  They’re a little chalky when they dry, but not as bad dollar store paints that we’ve been using recently.

painting with homemade watercolours

The wells of the muffin tin are also much better than the shallow shallow trays that kids’ watercolours usually comes in.  Our paints will stay much cleaner because the colours wont slosh together every time a child swirls a brush around in them.

hearts painted with homemade watercolors

This post has been edited to add that our homemade watercolour paints have never stained our clothes or hands.  If, however you prefer to protect your child’s clothing when crafting, have a peek at these adorable  Repurposed Denim Aprons that I make from the legs of our old jeans!

re-purposed denim aprons - happy hooligans

For more easy and affordable art ideas for kids, check out our:

Homemade Liquid Water Colours

Homemade Puffy Paint

Crayon Resist Painting

Art with Melted Crayons

Art with Glue, Salt and Water Colours

Smoosh Art Painting 

Tape Resist Painting

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