How to make your own watercolour paints from natural ingredients
- Containers for mixing and storage
- Pallet Knife
- Muslin Cloth or similar for straining
- non-porous smooth surface
First, you will need to make up the Gum Arabic Binder:
1. Mix 250ml Boiling Water, 125ml Gum Arabic Powder and 50ml Honey ( 5 : 2.5 : 1 ratio ). The Honey helps the pigments to mix smoothly.
2. At this stage you can add a couple of drops of Clove Oil as a preservative if you wish.
3. Leave the solution to stand for 24 hours to ensure the Gum Arabic is fully absorbed.
4. After 24 hours strain the solution through a muslin cloth and store in a jar for future use.
5. It is advisable to store the solution in a refrigerator to avoid mould growth.
To make the Watercolour paint:
6. Mix 1 tsp Honey with 9 tsp Binder mix thoroughly and then add 10 tsp of pigment (1 : 1 binder/honey mix to Coloured Earth Pigment) – we used India Blue. Some colours may need a higher pigment ratio, so you will need to experiment. Start with the 1:1 ratio and then increase the amount of pigment until you achieve the required consistency.
7. Place the mixture on a smooth non-porous surface and blend with a pallet knife to create a smooth finish.
8. If you wish, you can use a muller* to further blend the paint to a superfine finish.
9. The resulting paint can be stored in an airtight container, or left uncovered and allowed to dry, creating a watercolour ‘cake’.
Note: If the paint cake cracks while it dries, try adding a little more gum solution the next time you use that particular pigment. Don’t worry though, a little cracking doesn’t affect the usability of the paint.
*A muller is a glass tool for grinding paint, it is also possible to use a smooth stone or similar.