How To Make Watercolor Binder

How To Make Watercolor Binder

How To Make Watercolor Binder In the era before commercial art supplies, artists crafted their own paints and colors using simple methods. The blending of binders and pigments was a common approach. The availability of commercially produced watercolor paint began around 1780, initially as hard cakes that required pre-soaking before use. While modern watercolor options are readily accessible and user-friendly, the allure of crafting homemade paints persists for various reasons. This article delves into these motives while providing an uncomplicated recipe for homemade watercolor paints.

Understanding Watercolor Paints

How To Make Watercolor Binder
How To Make Watercolor Binder

Watercolor paints consist of pigment particles combined within a water-soluble binder, typically gum Arabic. This mixture also incorporates distilled water and other additives to enhance shelf life, stability, and preservation.

Why Craft Your Own Watercolor Paints?

Numerous commercially available watercolor paints employ synthetic pigments, the production of which can adversely impact the environment due to unsustainable processes. Additionally, each manufacturer’s unique paint formulation yields varying results, which may not align with professional artists’ requirements. Crafting your own paint recipe offers the benefits of using natural, toxin-free pigments while granting creative control over paint characteristics.

Crafting Homemade Watercolor Paints: A Step-by-Step Guide

How To Make Watercolor Binder
How To Make Watercolor Binder

Making your own watercolor paints involves a straightforward process that demands time, patience, and experimentation to perfect. The following outlines the ingredients, equipment, and steps required for this creative endeavor.

Ingredients Needed

  • Gum Arabic Solution: This water-soluble gum serves as a binder, crucial for pigment cohesion.
  • Clove Essential Oil: Acts as a natural antibacterial agent and preservative.
  • Honey: Functions as a humectant and natural preservative, enhancing paint moisture retention.
  • Glycerin: Also a humectant, with plasticizer properties, facilitating re-wetting of dried paint.
  • Dry Pigment: The core component providing color; opt for non-toxic earth pigments.

Equipment Required

  • Grinding Slab or Glass Palette
  • Glass Muller
  • Empty Ice Cube Tray or Watercolor Pans

Step-by-Step Instructions

How To Make Watercolor Binder
How To Make Watercolor Binder
  1. Prepare Binder Solution: Combine gum Arabic powder with warm (not hot) distilled water in a 2:1 ratio. Add a mixture of glycerin and honey in equal parts, followed by a few drops of clove essential oil. Stir thoroughly for 10-15 minutes and let the solution rest for 24-48 hours.
  2. Grind Pigments: Mull your selected pigments using a glass muller on a grinding slab until fine.
  3. Combine Pigments and Binder: Place the ground pigment on a dry grinding slab and pour binder solution (equal parts) over it. Mix with a palette knife until it resembles a paste.
  4. Mulling Process: Grind the paste-like mixture in circular motions using the glass muller. Spread thinly across the slab and repeat the process.
  5. Adjust Consistency: If the paint becomes stiff, add more binder solution. Test paint on watercolor paper for desired quality.
  6. Drying: Pour the mixture into pans or an ice cube tray and let it dry completely, which may take up to three days.
  7. Enjoy Painting: Once dry, your homemade watercolor paints are ready for use on watercolor paper.

Read More : How To Make Black In Watercolor

Crafting Watercolor Pigments

If you seek to create your own pigments, explore local materials like clays, minerals, plant juices, dyes, and more. The process involves pulverizing, filtering, and levigating the material to produce finely ground pigments.


How To Make Watercolor Binder
How To Make Watercolor Binder
  1. Storage of Homemade Paints: Store uncovered to allow natural evaporation of remaining water. Once dry, store in a cool, dry place.
  2. Staining: Homemade paints can stain, but being water-soluble, they’re easily cleaned.
  3. Using Food Coloring: While possible, food coloring may yield stubborn stains and is not recommended.
  4. Suitability for Beginners: Watercolors are an excellent choice for beginners due to their accessibility and affordability.

Read More : How To Flatten Watercolor Paper

In Conclusion

Crafting homemade watercolor paints offers a delightful blend of creativity and resourcefulness. While the process demands time and experimentation, the rewards are substantial. By using natural pigments and exercising creative control, you’ll uncover a world of possibilities in your artistic journey. This comprehensive guide equips you with the knowledge needed to embark on this rewarding endeavor. Happy painting!