Homemade watercolour paints

Making these paints is a fun, sensory experience in itself because the recipe involves creating a fun, fizzing concoction – as well as making cool paints!

Homemade watercolour paints next to a watercolour of a flower

This recipe makes enough to fill slightly more than one ice-cube tray so you might want two, and the paints will need a day or so to dry out.

This guide is part of our Sense Arts, Sport & Wellbeing programme. This activity can be done at a time that suits you, either in your own space or in an educational setting.

Who is this for?

This is a crafting activity for people who are deafblind or have complex disabilities.

Why does this make a difference?

This is a creative, sensory activity that helps people use their senses to connect with their surroundings, exploring colours and textures, and supporting independent choice and self-expression through creativity.

How to do this activity

What you’ll need

  • Ice-cube tray, cupcake tray or similar
  • 1 measuring cup, approx 250ml (alternatively, just use the same mug to measure all ingredients to get the proportions right)
  • 1 cup of cornflour
  • 1 cup of bicarbonate of soda
  • ¾ cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • Food colouring
  • Whisk
  • Bowl  
A selection of ingredients for watercolour paints, including vinegar, an ice-cube tray and a whisk

Step 1

Put the bicarbonate of soda in a bowl, then slowly add the vinegar. Get ready – it will fizz!
A hand pouring cornflour into a bowl

Step 2

Add the cornflour and mix well to create a stiff mixture, then add the honey and stir through.
Drizzling a white liquid carefully into an ice-cube tray

Step 3

Divide the mixture evenly in the ice-cube tray, only filling each section three-quarters full. Add drops of food colouring to each section, and stir well, using more drops for stronger colours. Mix different colours together to get new ones.
Adding colour droplets to the icecube trays

Step 4

Leave the paints to dry out and harden for a few days. Then, they’re ready to use like normal watercolours!
Finished watercolour paints, which are multlcoloured and shiny and next to a white of plain white paper

Top tips

  • Make the paints more sensory by adding scented essential oils, or natural flavourings like vanilla or orange which can be found in the baking section of the supermarket