Homemade Watercolors for Kids

Sharing is caring!

Did you know you can make homemade watercolors? I had no idea until a few months ago and the ingredients will shock you.

This watercolor recipe uses items you already have in your kitchen and it’s easy to make.

It is a great project to let the kids help with. They get to measure, create colors and watch science happen before their eyes.

Let me show you how to make this.

homemade watercolors


You Will Need:

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. light corn syrup
  • 4 TBS corn starch
  • a couple of toothpicks
  • food coloring
  • ice cube tray (I like the ones with lids)

Gather up your supplies.

Mix the baking soda and vinegar together in a bowl.

Then add the corn syrup. Continue to stir and mix well.

Then add the corn starch. Make sure everything is mixed to a nice liquid with no clumps.

watercolor recipe

Next, use a measuring spoon to put a small scoop of the mixture into each ice cube rectangle.

This recipe should give you enough to make 12 colors.

how to make homemade watercolors

Next let the kids create colors.

Use toothpicks to mix the food colors into the cornstarch/baking soda base.

use food colors to make homemade watercolors

Now let it dry. It will take 24-48 hours.

I like the ice trays with the lids on them. Mine is old and from back in my days of selling Tupperware. Now, other brands make them. Search on Amazon.

I like the lids it makes for super easy storage after playing with the watercolors.

diy watercolors

Once the paints are dry you can create!

Get a small bowl of water. Use the paint brush and a few dabs of water to get the colors going.

We loved creating with these!

how to make homemade water colors


When you’re done, pop the lid back on the ice tray and put it away.

Perfect art activity for your homeschool day! How many colors can you make?




  1. I never knew this! I wish I would have when my daughter was younger! Thanks for sharing this – I will pass this on to my neighbor!

  2. You have made my daughter’s summer Crystal because she goes through watercolors like nobody’s business (she loves doing art projects). Can’t wait to try this with her next week 🙂

  3. Alison Wood says:

    This is perfect for our family! Love the ice trays idea. Will be sharing on my FB page soon!

  4. Say what? No way!! Oh, just think of all the money I have wasted over the year! I can’t wait to try this out- thanks for sharing!

  5. Oh my gosh, you’re a genius! My youngest loves to paint and we go through paint sets like they are going out of style. I can only imagine the fun he’ll have if he can make his own paint, can’t wait to try this out with him.

  6. Emma @ P is for Preschooler says:

    What beautiful colors this makes! Will have to try it!

  7. We love to make our own art supplies. Can’t wait to try this out. It would be so fun to make lots of watercolor illustrations and then turn them into a book!

  8. WHY didn’t I have this recipe when my kids were little? It would have saved me SO much time and money.

  9. Crystal,
    I had no idea you could make your own watercolors. I guess it makes perfect sense but I never thought of doing it. Great directions and pictures. You make it so easy for us to make them ourselves. Thanks for the idea.

  10. This is such a neat idea. I am fascinated that they make ice trays with lids (when I was growing up we didn’t have the lid kind!)
    My kids would love to do this activity. Thanks for telling this “non-crafty Momma” how to do it.

  11. LOVE this… can you use a normal ice tray wiyh out a lid.

    1. Yes, a regular ice tray would be fine. I just used what I have and it makes for easier storage.

  12. What a cool idea! What kid doesn’t like watercolors? Going to give this a try this summer!

  13. I am so excited to try this!! I usually don’t have all of the ingredients when something is homemade, and states that most will have these ingredients around the house. But THIS time, I actually have all of the ingredients that you listed! My daughter will love this! Thank you for sharing!

  14. Love this idea – do you think the corn syrup is essential? It’s not something we usally buy so will have to have a go and see if it works without it.

  15. Oh, how neat!! We will have to try this some time soon. Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!

  16. Kate's Mama says:

    I usually have my daughter wear her special “paint shirt” over her clothes when she creates with paints, markers, etc., but just in case, do you know if these paints are washable?

    Has anyone had the opportunity to find out? How difficult was it to treat?

    Excited to try this recipe! Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *