DIY Clubhouse Watercolors

One of our favorite things to do around here is make paint. From coffee paint to epsom salt paint. From petroleum jelly paint to dirt paint. You name it, we've tried it. Puffy paint? Yes, we did that one too. Providing the Clubhouse Kids with materials they can use to artistically create is always a priority, allowing them to make those materials themselves is always an experience.

4 Tablespoons Baking Soda
2 Tablespoons Vinegar
1/2 Teaspoon Corn Syrup
2 Tablespoons Corn Starch
Food Coloring
I have seen the recipe all over the internet, but the post I clearly remembered when it was time to make our own was this one. Thanks Happy Hooligans!

We got right to work gathering all of our ingredients. I wrote out the entire recipe, something I always do when we're concocting something. Together we follow the written recipe. Literacy, check.

They got right to work, using their tablespoons and teaspoons. When we were short a tablespoon one Clubhouse Kid asked,
"Can I use the teaspoon instead?"
This led to great dialogue. Are they the same size? What do you think would happen if we used one instead of the other? We measured out how many teaspoons give us the same amount of baking soda as a tablespoon (three) and then I did the math on the recipe and some Clubhouse Kids counted out teaspoons instead of tablespoons.

Measurements and math, check.

The first step of mixing the vinegar into the baking soda was a hit, as we all watched our mixtures fizz.

Science, check.

Time to stir in the corn starch, followed by the corn syrup. Stirring that corn syrup into the mix requires some muscle, we remembered that from when we made our corn syrup paint.

Here we stalled. We all mixed, and our concoctions were lumpy and difficult.

"Maybe we need water?" 

Oh how I love what little problem solvers the Clubhouse Kids can be :) More dialogue. Does the recipe have water? Should we add something not even in the recipe? Which ingredient in the recipe is a liquid?


We decided to just slowly add more vinegar until the mix was creamy instead of clumpy. Try, try again is something we're good at around here. Would it work? Only time would tell. We poured our mix into our egg carton and I just let everyone squeeze in their preferred colors and mix it all up.

We used toothpicks to do the mixing.

"If I mix all the colors in this one I can make a black paint."

Once all of the mixing was done, we put the egg carton aside to let the colors set.

We decided we would check the next day, and hopefully we'd be able to paint!

24 hours later (give or take a few minutes):

The colors had set, and they were brilliantly bright! We painted on paper and on on coffee filters (a favorite when it comes to watercolors).

We tested every color.

"My black color worked!!"

"We did it again! We made paint!"

Yes we sure did :)

Literacy activity, measurements and math exploration, observing scientific reactions, problem solving, color blending and ultimately Clubhouse Art.. from scratch. Sure we could have just purchased watercolors at the store. They were even on sale this week.

I prefer the way we did it though. It's why I teach. Preschoolers feeling accomplished. Lessons learned simply while creating something together. Plus, I'm pretty sure this paint is going to last awhile.
If it doesn't, that's even better ;)

Ms. Liz

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