In Minnesota we are famous for complaining about the weather. We complain when it’s too cold. We complain when it’s too hot. You rarely hear the latter from me. But I am going to complain about this long bout of cold and raining weather we are currently having. This isn’t the spring I had in mind.
Needless to say, we have been cooped up inside for a few days now and I was lost for things to do. So, on a whim I asked Atlas if he wanted to paint me a picture. I quickly realized the only paint I had in the house was not-so-suitable for children. It was wall paint. So, I decided to try my hand at making watercolor paints. I found a few recipes online and went for it. It worked wonderfully, and kept his little hands busy for hours.
- In your container, add the baking soda. A liquid measuring cup works well.
- Next, add the white vinegar and watch it fizz. Atlas really enjoyed this step.
- Add the light corn syrup and corn starch. Mix well.
- Pour into the container you plan to store your watercolor paints in. We used a normal sized muffin pan and made 4 large watercolors. You can use a small muffin tin and make 12ish, or use an old ice-cube tray. Update: We used an ice-cube tray the second time around, and it worked really well. However, if your little doesn’t have the best hand-eye coordination the larger muffin tin might be a better option.
- Now for the fun part, add food coloring to tint your watercolors. In an ice-cube or small muffin tin, you will only need 1-4 drops per color. In a larger muffin tin, we used about 6 to get more vivid colors.
- Lastly, the hardest step, let it dry. Ideally, you will let it dry for 24+ hours. We got antsy and only let it dry for about 6. They still worked great!
Our first time around, we goofed up a few things. Keep reading so you don’t repeat our mistakes.
- You cannot dry the paint faster in the oven, even on the lowest temperature. It changes the consistent, makes them bubbly, almost like that slime stuff we used to play with as kids. You’ll have to start all over. So, just try to be patient. I remade our paints while Atlas was napping because I ruined the first set in the oven.
- Red is really difficult to make. You most likely won’t be able to get a really deep red with the normal 4 pack of food coloring. If you read the bottle, it actually says pink and it doesn’t lie. If you want real red, you can buy red food coloring from a craft store. (Our local Michael’s carries it. Amazon has it, too.)
- If your paints seem really starchy, try adding a little bit more vinegar to them and mix them up again. If your paints seem really watery, add a little more baking soda to try to soak it up.
- It’s edible, so it’s super safe for little ones – but I warn you, and Atlas knows first hand, it tastes horrible.
- It will get a little bit messy. Make sure you are painting somewhere that you can clean easily afterwards. A high chair, kitchen table, or outside table have worked well for us.
Now, get busy and let me know how they turn out in the comments below.