Watercolor fun you can take with you! I’m so excited about this simple little idea! These homemade just-add-water paint pages make it easy to say “yes” to painting, and we can take them on hikes or picnics! All you need is some watercolor paper and tubes of watercolor paint.
Paints for Paint with Water Pages:
To make these watercolor pages I used KOI Watercolors, but any liquid water colors will do, those are just what I had on hand. Note that acrylic or tempera paint will not work – they’re liquid, but not water soluble, so once it dries it’ll just be a blob of hard paint. The liquid watercolor, however, will dry hard, but then when you brush a wet paintbrush over it it’ll become spreadable paint again.
Important safety note for watercolor paints:
I got a note from an artist that said: be sure your liquid watercolors don’t contain any harsh pigments such as cadmium or colbalt – these are extremely harmful pigments that can be absorbed through the skin. Some older paints and imported paints don’t label their products with these pigments.
I found these non-toxic watercolor paints on Amazon which have decent reviews and aren’t too pricey, so those may be a good choice, especially if you’re buying paints just to try out this art project..
How to make these portable watercolor pages:
You don’t want too slick of paper or the paint will pop off the page when it dries I used some midgrade watercolor paper which had a bit of “tooth” to it. Cut the paper into whatever size you wish. I wanted these to fit into a small art box that we could take out with us, so I made pages that were kind of small, around 5 x 8 inches.
I just opened the tube of paint and put a little dot of each color on the pages. Don’t make big drops of paint, again to prevent them from popping off the page once they dry. My dots were not really clumps; a pretty small amount of paint. Then let the paint sit to dry.
After a couple hours the dots had hardened up nicely. Yesterday afternoon we gave them a try and we were delighted at how well they worked!
Well, disclaimer: My oldest and I were delighted. Mr. 3 kept painting with them and yet, kept saying whining, “It’s not wooooorking.” I am guessing he was just hoping for more of the goopy painting experience he’s used to.
- Put some ready-to-paint dots in your art journal, or I made some ready to paint pages for this week’s garden journal.
- Draw a line or letter in permanent marker as a painting start.
- Put your dots on other places on the page and see what that inspires.
- Give a few with a paintbrush as a gift to a young child.
Have fun painting!
You might add watercolors to your Basic Art Kit – take a look to see what art supplies we keep together to make creative activities really simple to set up.
For more simple art ideas, see this list of 20+ Art Activities you can do with Just the Basics.
Alissa Zorn is an author, and founder of the website Overthought This. She's a coach and cartoonist passionate about helping people overcome perfectionism and shame to build authentic, joyful lives. Alissa is certified through the International Coach Federation and got her Trauma-Informed Coaching certification from Moving the Human Spirit. She wrote Bounceback Parenting: A Field Guide for Creating Connection, Not Perfection, and is always following curiosity to find her next creative endeavor.