Make homemade watercolour paint

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! 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

White wine vinegar, several bowls of powder, a green and white ice-cube tray, a whisk, spoons, honey and some paints on a wooden background

  • 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  

Step 1

Put the bicarbonate of soda in a bowl, then slowly add the vinegar. Get ready - it will fizz!

Step 2

Adding the cornflour to the fizzy vinegar solution in a larger bowl

Add the cornflour and mix well to create a stiff mixture, then add the honey and stir through.

Step 3

Using a spoon to carefully divide the cornflour solution between the ice-cube tray sections

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.

Step 4

Adding drops of colour to the watercolour paint solution in the ice-cube trays

Leave the paints to dry out and harden for a few days. Then, they’re ready to use like normal watercolours! 

Top tips

Finished watercolour paints, which are multilcoloured and shiny and next to a white of plain white paper

  • 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