How to make the easiest DIY liquid watercolor ever!

It’s summer and a rainy day here which is the perfect kind of day for me to sit at my kitchen table and tinker around with new ideas. And that is how I figured out how to make the easiest DIY liquid water color ever.

How to make the easiest DIY Liquid Watercolor ever!

What you need…

You will need a set of colored craft sticks, some clear cups, and water.

Now the kind of colored craft sticks you buy can make a difference in the strength or vibrancy of the color. I used a package by Horizon Group which is the simple colored craft sticks available at most Walmart stores. I tried a more expensive brand and they didn’t work as well. So for this, go with the cheap stuff.

How to make the easiest DIY Liquid Watercolor ever!

Clear cups are not a must have but this is the kind of process that is so much cooler when you can really see the color change in progress.

Water is a must. Just use tap water or bottled water. If you want to make a bunch and store it, then go with bottled water so it keeps its clarity longer.

How to make the easiest DIY Liquid Watercolor ever!

What you do…

Invite your students to help you sort the sticks by color. Yes, this is a great exercise for math, science, and art! Then invite your little ones to fill clear cups with water. How much water is really up to you. I just filled my small cups up about 3/4 full so the ends of the craft sticks stayed rather dry. Then drop the craft sticks in the water and let them soak for a bit. The water will start to turn color immediately if you have nice cheap colored craft sticks.

How to make the easiest DIY Liquid Watercolor ever!

Of course, the more craft sticks you add, the more color you will get but in my case, four or five craft sticks worked fine but then I got carried away and just added the whole bag. And the longer you leave the craft sticks in the water, the more vibrant the color will be. I left my craft sticks in the water all morning but these photos were taken within five minutes from the time I placed them in the water.

How to make the easiest DIY Liquid Watercolor ever!

When you are ready to use your DIY Liquid Water Color then take the craft sticks out and set them on a paper towel to dry. The craft sticks will still be useable after they dry out and still have color.

How to make the easiest DIY Liquid Watercolor ever!

I also found that there was so much dye in these craft sticks, that I was able to even make a whole second batch of liquid water color using the same craft sticks.

How to make the easiest DIY Liquid Watercolor ever!

And that is it! Your DIY Liquid Water Color is ready for exploration.

How to make the easiest DIY Liquid Watercolor ever!

What you need to know…

If you handle the wet colored craft sticks, your hands will turn colors. But the diluted color (liquid water color) doesn’t turn your hands color unless you make the color super duper strong. So just keep that in mind.

What is so cool…

The cool part of this whole thing is that you can do an entire lesson involving the colored craft sticks from counting, sorting, patterning, designing, crafting, and ending things up with this fabulous process. The second cool thing is that you probably have a set of these colored sticks up in a cabinet somewhere but if you don’t, then keep a set handy for one of those days when you just don’t have time or money to go out and buy the expensive liquid water color or you just want to add a quick little water color to your day then you can just grab a few colored craft sticks and you have all the color you need.

How to make the easiest DIY Liquid Watercolor ever!

What you can do with DIY Liquid Water Color…

You can paint with it for starters. The paint will be a little more runny than a tempera paint but it great paint for wood, water color paper, and paper towels…

How to make the easiest DIY Liquid Watercolor ever!

Definitely use liquid water color for adding color to your water play table, shave cream play, or other sensory play ideas. Then there is exploring color mixing. My grand children spent about an hour just mixing colors and dropping color on paper towels. My eldest grandson was determined to make the color black…

How to make the easiest DIY Liquid Watercolor ever!

If you follow me on Facebook, then you might like to see the video I have shared there as well or see below…

Links to Grow On!

DIY Magnetic Craft Sticks

Craft Stick Rainbow Puzzles

Lining Up Colored Craft Sticks


By |2016-06-14T21:52:25+00:00June 14th, 2016|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Trisha Cooper June 15, 2016 at 11:02 am - Reply

    Awesome! I’ve been using markers, and probably still will for more variety and vibrant colors, but this is great too. I love, love, love the idea of a whole lesson with math, science, and art! Also, how did you create your video clip? Is there software for this? Thanks!

  2. Matie June 15, 2016 at 3:11 pm - Reply

    Such a great idea. Thank you for sharing. I LOVE your blog!

  3. Pandora January 15, 2017 at 9:05 pm - Reply

    My 1 year olds stick the craft sticks into their mouth and end up with colored lips. Now I know what to do with them to fade them out a little.
    Thank You!

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