Doesn't this look irresistible? It is! And you can get started on this fun activity right away, using supplies that you most likely have in your pantry. Okay, you may not have light corn syrup (I certainly didn't) but you can substitute glucose syrup which you can cook up yourself with some regular old sugar! (Boil 2 cups sugar with 1 cup of water until you have a clear syrup.) And I'm happy to say that I can now cross one thing off the list of things I told you to save for upcoming projects (here), as tea-light holders are perfect little water-color paint pots, practically and aesthetically!
Make the water colors by mixing up a batch of white base, and then add drops of food color to mix the colors of your choice. It's a wonderful exercise in color mixing and the colors look so lovely that it's bound to produce lots of oohs and ahhhs. At least that is what happened over at our place, and we were even without blue food coloring (not commonly stocked in my local store, very smart of them, just that we weren't planning on eating it!)
And though mixing up the colors is great, getting to paint with them is wonderful too. Especially if your kids haven't been exposed to water colors (as mine haven't, gasp!) Just don't make the mistake I did and start by drawing with a pen and filling in! Show them photos of accomplished water color artist's work and encourage free form painting. (Like the one on the upper right, which my daughter did after I showed her my version, below. And she wouldn't believe me that hers is better, mine is much too studied!)
And if even my reluctant artist drew the houses and got as far as painting the roofs (on his second picture), so I can guarantee you this is a winner! I should say that the paints do dry a bit chalky, (and sparkly!) and I really can't vouch for them archivally speaking. If of course a masterpiece results with your homemade watercolors, you may want to consider spraying them with fixative, and as with all water color paintings, do not display in bright light and never in direct sun.
The Homemade Water Color Recipe:
- 3 tbsp baking soda
- 3 tbsp cornstarch (cornflour/kornflor in Israel)
- 3 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp light corn syrup
- food coloring, add sparingly to individual pots
- watercolor paper, you know like that $2 pad you've been saving for 7 years (just like me!)
This batch was more than enough for one mom and three kids, but if you have a bigger group, you may want to double the recipe. You can let the paints dry out after use and add just a bit of water to re-use. You may have to mix the paints while in use, as the white base tends to settle. Enjoy!