Homemade Watercolors

Homemade Watercolors

One of the values we hold at Intuit is that great art can be made with modest, everyday materials. 

We hope you have been able to make art with your family as you stay home. If you have younger kids in the house, there’s no doubt you have a handful of dried markers hanging around. Marker lids seem to be designed to mysteriously disappear or be forgotten by young artists. What if we told you those markers could be brought back to life? 

Homemade watercolor markers can be made by dissolving old markers in water. Take each color in need of a new life and soak the marker tip in water. Start by using about one third cup of water for each color and letting the marker sit for at least an hour. You’ll notice the water will change color, which lets you know the process is working. After soaking, you will be able to use your marker as a newly-transformed watercolor brush. 

If you are in the mood for a fun challenge, watercolors can also be cooked up in your kitchen.

Purple watercolor by Henry Darger
Storm Cloud Purple watercolor
Photo by John Faier
Yellow watercolor by Henry Darger
Light Yellow or Golden Orange Watercolor
Photo by John Faier

4 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons white vinegar
½ teaspoon Karo light corn syrup
2 tablespoon cornstarch
Food coloring
Ice cube tray


  • In a 2-cup measuring cup, mix baking soda and vinegar and wait for fizzing to stop.
  • Add corn syrup and cornstarch and mix well until corn starch has dissolved.
  • Pour this thick liquid into the wells of an ice cube tray.
  • With a toothpick or popsicle stick, stir in food coloring into each well, and mix well for about a minute.
  • Set the tray in a warm place to set and dry overnight.
  • When paints are dry to the touch, they’re ready to use.

Young artists can mix unique color combinations and personalize each watercolor to their taste.