Homemade Watercolors: Baking Soda, Vinegar, Corn Starch, & Corn Syrup

I recently stumbled upon a recipe for homemade watercolors. Now, I don’t have any children in my house, but I do have a nephew and the opportunity to make things for him that are non-toxic is something that I cannot pass up. I found the idea at Meet the Dubiens – she made rainbow watercolors that are beautiful! I didn’t have rainbow gel colors, so I just used what I had. Apparently what I had was the Wilton bland flower collection: golden yellow, rose petal, violet, cornflower blue, leaf green, and forest green.

I bought the containers at the Dollar General for $2.00. The lids snap on – they are a little big for the amount the recipe  makes, but it’s no big deal. They worked fine! Each color calls for: 2 tablespoons baking soda, 1 tablespoon corn starch, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, and 1/4 teaspoon lite corn syrup. I mixed them all in a small bowl.

I had to use a little more vinegar than the recipe called for. The first color I made was purple and I accidentally left out part of the corn starch. It was super thin and would never have dried! I realized it quickly, washed it down the drain, and started over. I wish I could adequately explain the correct consistency – it starts to take a solid shape when you let it set, but it turns back liquid when you stir it around. It’s fun. 🙂

Notice it almost hangs off of the fork. It will still easily pour into your containers. It’s almost fun to play with it like this! As far as the amount of gel food coloring to use, it depends on how dark you want your colors. Remember, they are watercolors so they will appear muted on paper!

When I poured them into their containers, the color started to “separate” as they dried. I made my first three colors and decided to wait a while before I started again. I gave them time to dry and be sure it wasn’t messed up. Obviously, the separation freaked me out a bit.

Once dried, they still appear separated, but I don’t think it’s going to affect them much. After the first three colors dried, I was more comfortable finishing up the project.

I threw together 5 more colors and they are now drying on my kitchen cabinet. The first three colors are completely dry (after about 48 hours) and I can try them out anytime I want!

Notice on the far right, the blue almost looks powdery. That is completely dried out. I will post some pictures when I get around to painting them. In the meantime, I am allowing my other colors to dry and trying to decide what to paint!