Homemade Watercolors from Fresh Flowers
Today is the final post of Science Fun for Kids week! On Monday we studied weather, on Wednesday we focused on liquids, and the theme for today is flowers. The timing was perfect, because JZ (6) has been studying flowers in science. His first grade science curriculum is made up of Usborne books with hands on experiments. His curriculum for last week included using flowers to make dye. Since we love making homemade paint I thought I would take it a step further and see if we could use flowers to make our own natural watercolors.
We started by choosing several flowers of varying colors from our yard. I encouraged JZ to find flowers with vibrant colors, so we could get vibrant paint.
We separated the flowers JZ picked and made predictions about which flowers we thought would give off the most color. We both agreed that the red would probably give us the best results, followed closely by the orange and pink.
I heated up one cup of water. I didn't want it too hot, but I figured that warm water would help pull the color from the flowers. I put the flowers into ziploc bags and divided the cup of water between the four bags. JZ noticed that the orange flowers bled immediately. I skipped an important step here. I meant to pull off the flower petals and put them in the baggies by themselves.
Next I had JZ use a rolling pin to squish the flowers in the baggies.
Then we left the flowers and water in the bags to sit for a couple of hours.
The results were surprising. As I mentioned above the orange flowers gave off color immediately. The orange remained the most vibrant color. The pink flower gave off a lovely violet color. The blue was a very light blue. The photos make it look richer than it actually was. Especially when painting, the blue was the lightest color. The red didn't give off any hint of red at all. When I realized it wasn't going to change I went in a different direction. Since I had accidentally left the stems on the flowers the bag of red flowers had a green tint to it. I got a new bag and put several stems in it and ended up with a beautiful shade of green. How funny that the color both JZ and I thought would be the brightest did not color the water at all.
Once Peanut and Tank (24 months) were down for their naps I set up an invitation to paint with our natural watercolors. (The little guys love to paint, but they tend to dump colored water. I didn't want to see our watercolors overturned before we had a chance to use them.)
I set out watercolor brushes, but I also set out flowers. JZ and J-Bug (4) really enjoyed painting with the flowers and seeing the results.
Be sure and visit my co-hosts for more experiments with flowers:
10 Flower Experiments and Explorations from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
Flower Pigment Experiment from Coffee Cups and Crayons
Transpiration and Colored Flowers from Inspiration Laboratories
Click the images below for more homemade paint recipes.