Learn how to easily make your own DIY liquid watercolor! This is a game-changer if you love liquid watercolor. I love this recipe for process art activities or if I need watercolor right away. It is the perfect substitute for food coloring and dyes. Plus, liquid watercolor is washable!
Are you following my Liquid Watercolor Activities board on Pinterest?
Related: Rainbow Sensory Bottle
I will be the first to admit that I LOVE liquid watercolors! I’m pretty sure that if I was told that I had to teach preschool on a deserted island, and I could only choose three teaching items, liquid watercolor would be at the top of the list. Yup, we would be using it inside coconuts, to make messages in the sand, and to decorate palm trees.
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DIY Liquid Watercolor
If you haven’t caught onto the liquid watercolor craze yet, then why not!?!? They are so incredibly awesome, and they have the effect of food coloring without the five-day hand staining (or permanent staining on clothes). I use them for art, the sensory table, science activities, sensory bottles, and as a substitute for dyes. It is child and preschool-friendly, and your options with it are limitless.
Liquid watercolor is a precious commodity in my house though, and we were almost out, gasp! I decided that if I could figure out how to make my own liquid watercolor recipe, that would be as amazing as finding it! Well, I am so excited to share that I have found a method to make a homemade liquid watercolor recipe, and the best part is that it is super duper easy. You definitely already have half of the ingredients, if not all of them.
Ingredients for Liquid Watercolors
Now here’s the best part, this is the EASIEST recipe to make. I am the queen of all things simple, and I couldn’t even believe what a breeze this was.
There are just two ingredients!
- Crayola Washable Watercolors
- Hot Water
- Mixing Bowl or Measuring Cup
Don’t skimp on the brand! I’ve tried other brands besides Crayola, and they just don’t turn out as nicely.
Related: Color-Changing Sensory Bottle
How to Make DIY Liquid Watercolors
Remove the watercolor cake from its packaging and place it in a bowl or measuring cup. Cover with 4 oz of hot water.
Let the watercolor sit in the hot water for several minutes, or feel free to speed it up by stirring it.
It starts out like this…
…and becomes this.
And that’s it! You’re done! Look how gorgeous they are all together.
Related: Color Songs for Kids
The colors will initially look “cloudy” in their container, but after a couple of days, they will get that gorgeous translucent “glow.” Of course, it will not affect your projects either way, but I just want to reassure you that cloudiness is part of the process.
We are on a liquid watercolor frenzy now! I used to only have red, blue, and yellow around in an effort to remain frugal as I can mix most colors with those three. However, I splurged since these are so affordable. I bought a pack of 24 Crayola watercolors on sale for $4. It cost me under 17 cents for each color!
Liquid Watercolor Recipe Modifications
You can play around with the recipe, depending on how you plan to use the liquid watercolor. I’ve found that if you’re going to dye rice or paint something wooden, you want the liquid to be a little more concentrated. Try using 2 cake ovals in 4 oz of hot water.
For use on paper, coffee filters, or other absorbent items, I’d also make it a little more concentrated.
If you are using the watercolors for process art, you might like it a little less concentrated. Try useing 4-8 oz. of water to one cake oval.
Using and Storing the Watercolors
My kids absolutely love them! In the snow, they are super vibrant and beautiful.
My daughter wanted to make more and more snow pictures.
We especially love doing liquid watercolors on paper towels for fine motor practice!
For storage, I just found some old paint containers and other empty household items to put them in. The honey bear was a perfect one for the orange!
So now you know how super easy it is, I hope you enjoy becoming a frugal liquid watercolor fanatic too!
Done-For-You Teaching Resources
Get ready for fun and learning with all our preschool and toddler unit lesson plans! These thematic units are packed with literature-based activities that are easy to prepare and fun to implement. Each theme comes with recommended reading lists, songs, material lists, printable PDFs, and more! They are full of hands-on activities to learn through play!
Check out our colors lessons plans in our preschool store.