Make Your Own Paint With Water Pages

by Alissa Marquess on June 4, 2013

(Originally Published May, 2011)

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.

DIY Paint with Water Pages


To make these watercolor pages I used KOI Watercolors (affiliate) but any liquid water colors will do, those are just what I had on hand.  I found this set of watercolor tubes from Reeves (affilaite) that has decent reviews and costs a fraction of what the KOI ones cost, probably a better choice if you’re just giving this type of paint a try for the first time.

I just opened the tube of paint and put a little dot of each color on the pages. 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: James and I were delighted.  Leland (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.

But *most* of those present thought it worked quite well.

Here are a few of the cards we made yesterday (including the lower left one that Leland made against all odds ;)).

More possibilities-

  • 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.

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.

{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel Quirkymomma May 19, 2011 at 3:55 am

This is brilliant!  The perfect mess-free way to paint!  I am totally posting this to my facebook wall later tomorrow!  Wish you had linked it up to my It’s Playtime linky so I could feature you this week.  My post was all about different ways to paint with our kiddos


Lissybug May 19, 2011 at 4:13 am

Lol, it would have fit right in. I linked with my Garden Jounral page- I
didn’t have this post up yet at the time, oh well. I linked it to the new
It’s Playtime linky anyhow- thanks for the compliment; I really am excited
about these silly little paint pages!


Having Fun at Home May 19, 2011 at 3:04 pm

What a terrific idea!!


Anonymous May 23, 2011 at 10:54 pm

 What a great idea, now I need to get some watercolors like that!


Giggly Girls May 24, 2011 at 7:35 pm

You are so clever!!  And I’m excited because I actually own watercolor paints in a tube!  


Machelle74 May 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm

just want to make sure before I go out & buy the paint – what kind are you recommending? Will any kind do?


Alissa May 25, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Well, I had some tubes of watercolor paint in my cupboard and grabbed those,
I think nearly any tubes of watercolor would work- they all dry down hard
once they’re out of the tube. Generally I like to get high quality art
products when I purchase them so we can really enjoy using them…whatever
you buy will last you for ages, so get colors you like ;)


Art4littlehand June 3, 2011 at 12:56 pm

I just found your blog for the first time and have been looking over all your wonderful posts.  I love this one!  So wonderful.  I never would have thought of this.  Thanks for the inspiration!


Kindra Hayes June 16, 2011 at 5:08 pm

What a great idea. I’m homeschooling my preschooler this year and will be adding these to the activity grab and go bag!


Tanja July 16, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Such a wonderful idea – not only for kids!


Sara July 29, 2011 at 4:18 am

I just stumbled upon your blog (via Tinkerlab on fb) and this is the first post I read and I already know I am going to LOVE going through all your past posts and following your future ones! :)


Julie August 21, 2011 at 8:00 am

These are just awesome! Thanks so much for sharing this.


Brooke @ Let Kids Create September 24, 2011 at 12:47 pm

This is brilliant, so clever! I’m definitely making some of those!


Angelique Felix September 25, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Good idea comes while doing “normal” things!
Love it very much, Angelique


The Activity Mom October 10, 2011 at 5:24 am

Love this idea!


MultipleMum November 2, 2011 at 8:47 pm

You could make uncrafty Mum crafty with these awesome suggestions. I will give these a go! Thanks for sharing your clever ideas x


Melissa @The Chocolate Muffin tree November 13, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Great idea! Love it! Most kids do enjoy tempera paint better (like your son said), but still a wonderful idea !


Alissa November 14, 2011 at 8:56 am

Thanks for the compliments, everyone. Happy painting to you :)


Kristina December 8, 2011 at 10:16 pm

We made some of these this week and we love them! Super fun, portable, and inexpensive!
I found you via pinterest. Thanks so much for sharing your ideas!


jackie January 5, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Alissa, I just found this post on pinterest! I LOVE it!! This would be fun for kids of ALL ages.


Cassie Marie January 7, 2012 at 12:43 am

I think this is a great idea, but I would like to pass on a bit of advice: 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.


Alissa January 7, 2012 at 8:20 am

Thanks Cassie- I’m thinking I might do a follow up post about that, as well as about watercolor paints in tube in general. I’ve had some moms comment that they didn’t realize one could even buy liquid watercolors.


Aleacia January 9, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Amazing idea! We just bought some watercolor tubes recently, we’ll have to try this for sure!


Reina January 10, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Alissa, I tried and the dots of paint elt off the paper when they dried :( Do you have any idea why this could happen? Thanks :)


Reina January 10, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Alissa, I tried and the dots of paint felt off the paper when they dried :( Do you have any idea why this could happen? Thanks :)


Alissa January 10, 2012 at 6:32 pm

@Reina- I’m not sure- My guess would be either the paper was too slick (I used some midgrade watercolor paper. It had a bit of “tooth” to it.) Or perhaps from putting too thick of paint dots? My dots were not really clumps; a pretty small amount of paint.


Toodie January 10, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Perfect birthday present for small children!!!! That and a paint smock! Love this idea and I thank you so much for sharing!


Reina January 12, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Thanks Alissa :) I also used watercolor paper so I guess I was toooooo excited putting paint on it. We will give it a try again in the weekend :)


Alissa January 12, 2012 at 6:23 pm

I hope it works this time! Have a great weekend :)


carmen February 13, 2012 at 2:18 pm

What kind of paint did you use?
Would tempera work?


Mandi February 21, 2012 at 11:06 am

This is such a great idea! I combined it with another idea I saw on Pinterest [masking with painters tape] for a Joy School Valentine’s Day activity. The kids really liked it [4 yrs old]. One thing I did that I really liked was put the paint directly on the tape so they didn’t have the paint pot look on their pictures. I love how the valentines turned out. Thanks for the great idea!

ps. I blogged about it here if you’re interested:


Stacia February 26, 2012 at 8:40 pm

I made something similar w/ printed coloring pages (printed on cardstock). However, some of the dots fell off and most took Forever to dry and stayed sticky/tacky. I’m wondering if I used too much paint.


Sheila May 3, 2012 at 8:32 am

What a fantastic idea!! I’m going to try this today!!


Jessica Taufer May 17, 2012 at 8:13 am

Hey, this is a great idea! It was featured today on One Good Craft:


Stream13 July 10, 2012 at 8:29 am

This is an interesting idea, but wouldn’t it be better just to buy an artists palette and let the paint dry in the wells? It takes a week +/- but then you just need to pull out the palette when your kids want to paint and if they get one colour into a different one all you need to do is take a wet tissue and wipe off the top. Then there’s also a place to mix colours and it avoids paint dots from falling off paper. You also don’t have to spend time dotting and waiting for the paint to dry on the paper. Plus some of the paint on the paper probably gets wasted.

Neat idea though but I’m not sure if it’s as practical or easy as having a palette or two already set up


aneelee July 10, 2012 at 9:19 am

think it is an awesome idea and love that you could potential put a few pages of this in your journals here and there to inspire something fun. may try making strips of these for my kiddo so that she can pick one out of the drawer without my help when she feels up to painting.


shawn July 21, 2012 at 8:24 pm

i teach a high school fine arts survey class and they love to paint. i hate the set-up time. this solves that problem nicely. i can do this ahead of class time and have it all ready to go when they hit the door. bliss!


Leah November 4, 2012 at 4:19 pm

You are a genius. I love this, brilliant!


Emma April 9, 2013 at 7:11 pm

That is the best Idea I love it and my grand kids will too! thanks for sharing


Jess May 19, 2013 at 8:51 pm

This is an awesome idea! Thanks for sharing…


Mo June 8, 2013 at 11:21 pm

Thank you – so going to give this a try! Have tried to introduce my son to painting but he just wanted to tip over the pots and each time resulted in him putting paint in his mouth then crying at the taste. It may be that he was just a little young for it at the time – and I certainly don’t want to force something he’s not ready for – but I’ll be giving this idea a go! Mo ?


Linda Z. June 10, 2013 at 10:41 am

Hey! cute idea for camping! thanks!


Angela June 11, 2013 at 12:54 pm

What a great idea,this is so cool! Perfect for holidays travel….and a painting activity with “limited mess”.


edie hillis January 17, 2014 at 12:05 am

Where do you contain the water when traveling without wster getting spilled


Alissa Marquess January 17, 2014 at 8:43 am

One option is to purchase a water brush like this one, which has a small receptacle in the handle: Pentel Arts Aquash Fine Point Water Brush, Medium (amazon ad)


Angela January 17, 2014 at 5:51 am

Good question :-) I’d use something like this:

But my idea was not to do this in the car but as a distraction activity during breaks, then there is less stress about spilling.
I suppose you could do this in the car, but you’d need to find a way to secure the water cups to the car sear or door.


Linsey March 4, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Love these! I made them as Christmas gifts and they were a hit. I did run into an issue with paint cracking as it dried and, in some instances, falling off the sheet altogether. Any have any thoughts on that?


Alissa Marquess March 5, 2014 at 6:21 am

I found I just have to use a very tiny amount of paint – too much and it’ll crack. Since the paint is only for that one page you really only need a smidge.


Linsey March 5, 2014 at 6:34 am

Thanks for the reply! Yes, I did try to use only a smidge. Next time, I think I will use a paintbrush or some other tool to apply the swirl since I found it difficult to get a super small amount straight out of the tube. Try, try again!


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