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The recipe for making your own watercolors paintings is easy and inexpensive. Only a gum o fruit tree resin and pigments are required.

homemade watercolors paintS recipe

The binder we used is the arabic gum or a cherry, apricot or peach tree resin.

We heat in a saucepan 50% of distilled water with 50% of gum.

Recipes for making Watercolors

Recipe 1

If we want to do the paints in small tablets or pastilles (solid when it’s dry), the materials that we need are:

  • 50% of disolved gum
  • 100% of pigments.
  • 5% of Glycerin*

Recipe 2

If we want to do the paints into tubs (liquid closed inside the tube) the materials that we need are:

  • 25% of disolved gum
  • 100% of pigments.
  • 15 of Glycerin*
  • 15% of honey

* Glycerin: to make our own glycerin we can mix 1 liter of water and 50 grams of sugar, 5 cm3 of hydrochloric acid and 5 grams of ammonium carbonate.


The most pigments colors used are:

  • Yellow colors: cadmium yellow, yellow ocher
  • Red colors: Red Ochre, Mars Reds, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Red. Do not use vermillion pigment becuse it becames very dark.
  • Blue colors: cobalt, cerulean, especially overseas and Prussian blue
  • Green colors: chromium oxides (Emerald)
  • Black colors: black ivory, american Carbon Black, Mars Black

In watercolors there is no white color but to do reserves of the white parts ans shapes. You can also use a little of bleach. There are many techniques. And also we can use the white tempera.

Gouache paint

The recipe is similar to watercolor:

  • 5 cm3 of the gum mix: 100 grams of arabic gum in 1 liter of water.
  • 30 grams of pigments (with 10% of white color pigment).
  • 2 cm3 of sugar syrup.
  • 2 cm3 of distilled water.

*Note: When you have end the watercolors or professional temperas, these small plastic containers can serve us very well to put into our homemade liquid watercolors or temperas. We’ll leave it there to dry and reduce volume. So our watercolors or temperas will be kept in good containers and closed. So, we can save and no need to find and buy the small cans.

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