Wednesday, June 12, 2013

DIY Watercolors

Do remember my little artist? It looks like her wall coloring days are finally over, but she hasn't given up on the arts.  She paints at least 4 times a week and she takes it very seriously.  It's pretty impressive how fast we go through Crayola Watercolors.  When I saw a blog about making your own watercolors, I couldn't resist trying it out.

Homemade Watercolor Paints
You Will Need:
4 tbsp baking soda
2 tbsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp light corn syrup
2 tbsp corn starch
liquid food colouring
container to keep your paints in such as ice-cube tray, small plastic cups, plastic egg carton etc.

Mix your baking soda and vinegar together and wait for the fizzing to stop.  It’s handy if you mix in a container that has a spout. Add your corn syrup and corn starch, and mix well until the corn starch has dissolved. Pour into your containers. Now, get out your colours and have some fun!  Use toothpicks and Popsicle sticks for adding your colours, and stir for about a minute to make sure the colour is mixed in well.  Let your paints “set up” and dry. Once they’re hard, simply grab a paint brush and some water and get painting

 I mixed all the ingredients and ended up with a consistency I wasn't expecting.  It was almost like runny play dough.  It was similar to Magic Mud.
One of the watercolor trays was almost empty so I washed it out and filled each section with a little bit of the mixture.
 I then added food coloring and started to mix with a toothpick.  About halfway through I was wishing I used a bigger container.  Because the mixture was a semi solid it was hard to mix in the food coloring in such a small container. It kept spilling over the sides and make a decent mess.  Note: if you put a lot of food coloring drops in, you might need to add a bit more corn starch to compensate.

It only took about about 5 hours to dry, but apparently it can take up to 2 days, depending on how big your containers are and what the air temperature is. 

I handed my daughter the paints, water, paper and a brush and let her go to town.

The Verdict: Yes and no. Let me explain the yes first.

I loved the colors.  They seemed a lot more vibrant and I loved that they were all custom.  We had about 4 different shades of blue.

Check out these textures.  You can't get that with regular water colors.   If you look closely, you can see how the paper is wet around the colors.  It took a bit longer to dry then regular watercolors, but it dried just fine. 

Now let me explain the no.

Because of the baking soda and cornstarch, the water from the brush would get sucked into the paint and no paint would get onto the brush.  We had to dip the brush into the water then back into the paint a few times until paint would get onto the brush.
 If you don't get the exact amount of water you either have no paint on your brush, or you end up with a big soupy mess
 The darker colors stained my daughters skin.  Not a lot, it was faint after I washed her hands, but it still stained.

Overall: It worked and I thought it was great, but my daughter got really frustrated with it because she couldn't get the water to paint ratio right. This is one that I would categorize as an older child product. 

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