DIY Watercolor Paints

Little ones seem to love to paint, but many paints on the market aren’t safe for kids that want to put everything in their mouth. I  remembered seeing some websites around Easter using food to make dyes for eggs. I thought I would try something similar to come up with some watercolor paint that Buddy could use to paint. I used red onion skins, lemon zest, and blueberries. I didn’t have all these at the same time so I made them as I could, poured it into ice cube trays, and then froze them until we had (what I thought) three colors. I don’t have measurements, but I think the color intensity will be better if you have more food than water. I will show you pictures of the blueberries. Simply put blueberries in boiling water!

I used frozen blueberries since that's what we had and it's much cheaper than fresh.

I used frozen blueberries since that’s what we had and it’s much cheaper than fresh.

Once the water was boiling I used a fork to mash the blueberries against the side. This helped to release the juice and darken the water. I let it boil for about 10 minutes. For the red onion skins, I boiled until they started to become transluscent. The lemon zest didn’t get too dark. I just boiled until it was a faint yellow. I strained the water to try and get the blueberry bits out, and let it sit until cooled. It made a beautiful dark purple color.

blueberry paintOnce we were ready to paint a couple of weeks later, I put a cube of blueberry water in a ramekin and microwaved it.

diy watercolor paint

The bottom one is the red onion skin. The color is identical to the blueberry paint.

If you have a surface that you don’t want to get dirty or will stain easy, make sure you put some paper down. The blueberry will definitely stain. I just put some tissue paper over Buddy’s high chair tray. You can see that the red onion skin paint is the same color as the blueberry, but when you put it on the paper it will be brown, then turn to yellow as it dries. Kind of neat.  It ended up being the same color as the lemon paint. The blueberry paint made a really pretty slate blue color.

buddy with diy watercolor paintThe colors are pretty faint here, but darken up as it dries. The paper did tear in the middle, but he didn’t care. After a few minutes he wanted me to paint with him and here are the final results.

final diy watercolor pictures

Buddy’s masterpiece is on the left.

The yellow is a bit more lime in real life. The colors were really pretty together. They did fade a bit over the next few days, but still look good. I would like to try this with strawberries or cherries in the future. I wonder if pomegranate would make a pretty color, although that would be expensive to try. Buddy really enjoyed this activity and actually painted longer than he does with finger paints. We will definitely do this one again in the future.

Comments

  1. Love the natural based paints, no worries concerning harmful ingredients that may be in store bought paint. Also, a good teaching tool concerning plants, and one way that they can be used besides eating them. Something that our elders knew many years ago, it’s good to bring the old ways back.

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