Easy DIY Paint With Water

This is a scheduled post. We’re currently on the move!

One of the things I wanted to buy for the boys to play with during our multi-day, half-way-across-the-continent move was a Paint With Water book. I used to play with those when I was a kid, and they’re great. You get all the fun of painting with none of the mess, plus a little bit of magic as the picture comes alive under your brush. Unfortunately, they’re extremely hard to find! Believe me, I shopped around, and I couldn’t find any for what I considered a reasonable price – especially once shipping charges were applied. Most of the ones I found seemed to be old, out of print copies. Why don’t they make these much anymore? I have no idea.

Fortunately there’s another way.

Easy DIY Paint with Water

You can buy something called Watercolor Pencils (sometimes called ‘Water-soluble colored pencils’) that will allow you to pre-color a picture and then paint it just using water. I bought these. Make sure you print off your picture onto cardstock (that’s what I did) or another heavyweight paper; regular printer paper will NOT stand up to that much water. Then you just apply the colors that you want where you want them! To get light colors, you should apply lightly; to get dark, vivid colors you need to put down a lot more and a lot darker. I would avoid coloring the picture normally, then painting it, because that would be a TON of pigment and would definitely allow the kids to make a bit of a mess.

CAUTION! Do NOT use stiff plastic-bristled paint brushes for this activity. It requires quite a bit of rubbing to make the pigment spread around, and the sharp plastic bristles will rip your paper to shreds. Find a softer paintbrush or maybe even a sponge paintbrush instead.

As you can see, my casual zigzag was plenty to fill in the outlines…remember how Paint With Water books always had those weird patterns made with the colors? Dots all over, or stripes, like we wouldn’t notice the color was already there? Good times. If I were making a fancy one I might try following the outlines on the paper to help conceal the watercolor pencil lines a little bit better, but oh well. Great art it isn’t, but fun it surely is.

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