Wacky Watercolors

Wacky Watercolors

Here's a recipe to make your own watercolor paints.  These vivid, non-toxic paints can be used wet or allowed to dry and used like regular watercolor paints.  We had great fun making and using them!


3 Tbs. baking soda
3 Tbs. corn starch
3 Tbs. white vinegar
1-1/2 tsp. light corn syrup
food coloring


1. Mix vinegar, baking soda, corn starch and corn syrup together in a small bowl.

2. Divide the mixture into several small plastic tubs or jar lids.

3. Add six to eight drops of food coloring to each tub or lid then mix.

4. Use Wacky Watercolors as they are or let them dry into hard cakes of paint. If you use them while they're dry, be sure to wet the paintbrush before painting.
(Original author unknown)


Use paste food coloring if you want especially vivid colors and lots of color choices. Some oil based food coloring will not stir in well, but it will blend perfectly by the time it's dry.

Take the opportunity to teach little ones about color mixing.  We made purple, green and orange and then went a step further to make mixtures like red-violet and blue-green by adding one part of one primary color to two parts of another.  Mix all three primary colors to make brown.

You can make a larger batch and make the paints in an old ice cube tray.  Other possible containers are empty watercolor kits and pill boxes (the kind with a compartment for each day of the week).

The more food coloring you add, the more vivid the paints will be.

These take a long time to dry! Ours were in small lids and took about 24 hours. 

If you make them in bottlecaps, you can store the dry paints in a plastic baggie or even tie a few of them in a small cloth with a ribbon as a sweet gift.

Here's a painting made with our paints.
Wacky Watercolors Artwork

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All works on this site Alicia Bayer unless otherwise noted.
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