Make Your Own Paint With Water Pages

(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.

Like It? Share it!

Don't miss a post!

Join us and get inspiration and support for connected parenting and smiling more often.


  1. says

    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

    • says

      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!

  2. Machelle74 says

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

    • says

      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 😉

  3. Art4littlehand says

    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!

  4. says

    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! :)

  5. says

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

  6. says

    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!

  7. says

    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.

  8. says

    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.

  9. Reina says

    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 :)

  10. Reina says

    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 :)

  11. says

    @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.

  12. says

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

  13. Reina says

    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 :)

  14. says

    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:

  15. says

    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.

  16. Stream13 says

    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

  17. says

    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.

  18. shawn says

    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!

  19. says

    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 ?

  20. says

    This is a great idea! Use caution when providing this to children who are young enough to want to eat the paint. Tube watercolors are not usually non-toxic. Look carefully at the label. This would probably work well with Guache as well. Guache dries faster, gives more control and deeper colors than watercolors, but is still water soluble like watercolors.

    Info on toxicity of watercolor paint:

    Koi watercolors are certified non-toxic:

    Reeves watercolor tubes are also non-toxic (sold at Joann’s Fabric Store):

  21. Linsey says

    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?

    • says

      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 says

        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!

  22. Melissa says

    This is a wonderful idea! I’m going to use it for my bed-bound residents in a nursing home. Very cool, thank you for sharing!

  23. says

    Hi! You don’t need to post this comment :) I’m reviewing the new QoR watercolors for homeschool use and want to make a casual mention of dot palettes in my review. You have the best instructions and pictures anywhere on the web. May I link the word “dot palette” to this post? I won’t use your pictures. Thank you!

  24. TiffanyKelly says

    This is genius!!  I love to watercolor, and have several, low end tubes and paper that will be perfect to use to make these for the kids. Thank you!!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *