How to Make Homemade Watercolor Paint with Kids

Today we are making a really easy homemade watercolor paint recipe that you can do with your kids.  It has just a few ingredients that you have in your kitchen already meaning you can get the kids painting with homemade watercolor paints in just a few minutes without a trip to the store or spending money!

Oh, and it can be saved for later just like regular store-bought water color paints.

Finished homemade watercolor paint recipe for kids shown in an egg carton ready to paint
Let’s make homemade watercolor paint!

Make Watercolor Paints at Home for Kids

This is an easy way to make homemade paint.  You can use this DIY activity to get the kids involved so that conversations around making paint, creating colors, mixing colors and other color subjects can be discussed.

Homemade paint is also great because not only is it an easier project to make paint at home than you might think, but it is also inexpensive and can be part of the crafting fun.

Let’s start with a quick video about How to Make Homemade Water Color Paint:

Now let’s move on to the actual homemade paint recipe including what you will need to get started…

Supplies Needed – Homemade Watercolor Paint Recipe

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Light corn syrup
  • Cornstarch
  • Half-dozen egg carton (or another container of your choice)
  • Assorted food coloring 4-pack (if you are looking for natural food dye alternatives, check out those ideas!)
make your own watercolor paint steps - egg carton and food coloring
Simple steps to making paint at home! Grab an egg carton.

Steps to Make Homemade Watercolor Paint Recipe

  1. In a mixing bowl, mix 4 tablespoons baking soda with 2 tablespoons vinegar until fizzing stops.
  2. Add 1/2 teaspoon corn syrup
  3. Add 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  4. Mix until a uniform consistency
  5. Pour the mixture into individual egg carton cups, filling each about a third to halfway full
  6. Add five to 10 drops food coloring to each cup, mixing in thoroughly.  To reach a more vibrant color, you may need to add more drops of food coloring.
  7. Allow paints to set overnight. Use paints on watercolor paper with a wet paintbrush.

Psst…if you want to use the watercolor paint immediately, it still works!  It just will be a watery paint consistency.  Be sure to let them dry overnight before you store them!

homemade watercolor paints for kids shown complete with flower painted picture
Let’s paint a picture with our homemade watercolor paints!

Storing Your Homemade Watercolors

Before you put away the watercolor paints, make sure they dry out.  Once they are dried they are as hearty as a regular store-bought set.  Each time you go to use them again, just put your brush under water and then make a light layer of water on the dry paint.

Have fun painting with your new watercolors!

Yield: 6 paint colors

Easy Watercolor Paint Recipe

make your own watercolor paint steps - egg carton and food coloring

This easy watercolor paint recipe is perfect for making with kids because it is quick and uses ingredients you already have at home. You can store this homemade paint just like regular watercolor paints and it is a fraction of the cost.

Active Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Difficulty easy
Estimated Cost $5


  • 4 tablespoons Baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons White vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • food coloring


  • spoon or something to mix with
  • egg carton or other paint holder
  • mixing bowl


  1. In mixing bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar until the fizzing stops.
  2. Add corn syrup.
  3. Add cornstarch.
  4. Mix.
  5. Divide into egg carton cups filling each 1/3rd full.
  6. Add 5-10 drops of food coloring to each cup.
  7. Allow to dry overnight.


When you want to use them, add a little water to your paint brush and skim over the dry paint to make watercolors.

More Watercolor Paint Information

For more ways to make homemade paint <–check out all the ideas! 

This idea also appeared on Shannon’s blog, Everyday Best and was featured in Body+Soul Magazine May 2010.  It was inspired by Jackie over at Happy Hooligans who created some beautiful primary colored watercolor paints you need to check out.

Watercolor paint circles - painting with homemade watercolor paint - Kids Activities Blog - 8 watercolor colors shown
Painting with watercolors is so much fun!

More Watercolor Paint Ideas from Kids Activities Blog

One Comment

  1. This us one of the recipes we haven’t tried yet. I’m excited to use it because we’ve not tried any with these ingredients! Thanks for the VIDEO too!

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