August 9, 2013

Natural Watercolor Paint from Fresh Flowers

Homemade Watercolors from Fresh Flowers

Homemade natural watercolors made from real flowers - This experiment is amazing!

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.  

How to Make Natural Watercolors from Flowers

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.

Natural watercolor made from fresh flowers - how to achieve gorgeous colors using only fresh flowers and water!

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.

Painting with flowers using homemade watercolors made from real flowers!

The brushes were fun, too.  As you can see, the purple, orange and green were rich colors, but the blue remained faint.

For more homemade paint recipes follow me on Pinterest.

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

How to make natural watercolor paint from fresh flowers - hands on art and science for kids

More homemade paint recipes:

Homemade paint recipe for confetti paint. These paints are gorgeous and glossy and only require three simple and inexpensive ingredients.  Total prep time is less than five minutes.  How to make scented puffy paint from common household ingredients - I love this no cook recipe!  Baby and toddler safe edible TWO ingredient paint recipe.  It dries glossy and gorgeous and is fun for all ages.


  1. How awesome is this! My son would flip over making his own paint especially out of flowers. I would be interested to try it with a few more types of red flowers and see if they all behave the same. Maybe the red of that flower wasn't water soluble. {Random guess.}

  2. This looks like so much fun! I have to try it. I have linked your natural paint activity to my science blog.

  3. Beautiful, Allison! We'll have to give this a try. :)

  4. Gorgeous. I'd be interested to give this a go and see the results for ourself. Thanks for sharing :)

  5. Wonderful. I came across your experiment through Pinterest and am going to have to try this with my three girls. They will love it. Do you by any chance know the name of each of the flowers that produced the above results?

  6. I absolutely love this! My daughter and I went out looking for flowers yesterday and will be trying this later today!

  7. This is such a fun idea! I love the idea of creating our own dyes.

  8. Lovely, great idea to create natural paint!!

  9. Brilliant...this goes in tandem with our school topic for Art...Our kids would definitely love this

  10. This is such a fun idea! I am interested why pink flower gave off violet colour?

  11. Hey Allison!
    Your posts are amazing! You're very creative!
    I'm interested in making my own dyes from flowers and so far I've had no luck. Would you be willing to share what types of flowers you used? Would so love to do this with my kids! :)


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