make your own rainbow watercolors

I found the idea of making your own homemade watercolor paints on Martha Stewart and I absolutely loved it. Now that we’ve made our own watercolors, I’ll never use anything else. These watercolors are absolutely amazing. I think they are far superior to any other watercolor paints I had previously purchased for my kiddos. It also makes quite a bit, so I bought some awesome individual containers and just close the lid after we use them and have lots leftover for the next time. I also love that you can control how bright/vibrant the colors will be by adding either a little or a lot of food coloring. I like vibrant, so that’s exactly what mine are. I’m including this craft in our St. Patrick’s day activities because we used our watercolors to make beautiful rainbows. Cam really wasn’t interested in making rainbows, but Kirsten was really excited and did an amazing job. She painted four of them! I framed one of them and it looks amazing. Here are the instructions to make your own watercolors:

What you’ll need (for each color):

2 tbsp baking soda
1 tbsp white vinegar
1/4 tsp light corn syrup
1 tbsp cornstarch

We made 6 colors – so you will need 6x the above ingredients

gel food coloring
6 bowls
airtight containers

watercolor paper

* This recipe made a large batch and I was able to make a set for both Kirsten and Camden to have their own *


1. in each bowl add the above ingredients – 2 tbsp baking soda, 1 tbsp white vinegar, 1/4 tsp light corn syrup, 1 tbsp cornstarch. Mix until everything is well dissolved. If the mixture is too thick, add a little bit more vinegar. You basically want it to be like an oobleck or gak consistency (can be formed but then melts away if you let it go).

2. add your food coloring to each bowl and mix well – we did a rainbow of colors – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple.

3. pour your paint mixture into individual containers, leave the lids off and allow to dry completely – at least overnight.

4. give the paints to your kiddos (I made a set for each kid) with a paint brush, watercolor paper and a cup of water and let them paint away!

Idea from Martha Stewart

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35 thoughts on “make your own rainbow watercolors

  1. Karla

    Yes, wondering about the washability due to food coloring, where you got the storage containers, and how it “kept” or stored after a period of time? If all is well with the above I’m going to whip up a set soon!

  2. Shanna

    I’ve seen a few versions of homemade water colors but have to say I love your take on them the best. Those containers look like they work super well and I can’t wait to order myself some. I have found many of your crafts via pinterest and am definitely following now.

  3. Jill

    Thanks ladies!

    As for the questions:

    1) washability – I think it depends on just how much food coloring you’re adding. I added quite a bit to get very vibrant colours and it did leave some color marks on their little fingers. It washed right off in the bath though. My kids always wear a painting smock to protect their clothes when painting and always paint on their playroom table so I don’t have to worry about mess. If you added less colouring you maybe wouldn’t even have to worry about that!

    2) I actually got these containers at the dollar store, but I tried to find a similar container from Amazon for those who couldn’t find them.

    3) It stores incredibly well. I made these almost a month ago and with the airtight lids on them, they are still as good as new.

    4) These are hard paints. They are liquidy when you pour them in the containers, but you have to leave them at least overnight to set (or more if they aren’t set yet). When they are hard, they are set. They are just like regular watercolor paints.

    I hope that helps!

  4. Kyle hand

    Awesome idea! I am painting my 6 mo babys feet for a project for the grandparents, and wanted to find something I could just make at home :) Trying this this week! Thanks for taking the time to post this!

  5. Amanda

    Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe! We made some today and while it was wet, we added some of each color to paper to make some “on the go” water color ready papers.

  6. Lindsey

    Thanks! I was searching Pinterest for DIY water colors and several blogs came up, but I knew I could count on the Dubiens! I love the stuff you do here!

    Lindsey @ GrowingKidsMinistry.com

  7. karlamcurry

    This is great! I hate buying watercolors and I already have some gel food coloring. This was probably already asked, but where did you get those little containers?

  8. Gain Muscle

    Admiring the dedication you put into your blog and detailed information you offer.

    It’s awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed material.
    Wonderful read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your
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