Make your own wonderful watercolors. Kids love making their own materials for art exploration, and this is a favorite recipe of mine. One that combines science and art. And it starts with an explosion of baking soda and vinegar (who doesn’t love that!?).
What you need:
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon corn syrup
- Varieties of food coloring
- 3 milk jug lids
- Small paintbrushes and paper
What you do:
- Mix the vinegar and baking soda in a bowl.
- When the mixture stops fizzing, add cornstarch and corn syrup. Blend together. The mixture will have a cake-like consistency.
- Divide the mixture among the three milk jug lids. Using a paintbrush, blend a few drops of food coloring in each. More drops make for brighter paint.
- Use immediately. Alternatively, if the paint has dried into cakes, swirl in a wet brush. Let the creativity begin!
Why does this work?
When vinegar (acid) and baking soda (base) combine, the vinegar releases hydrogen atoms from the baking soda. That reaction changes the vinegar and baking soda into a new, unstable chemical – which quickly changes again into water and carbon dioxide. The fizzing sound is the sound of the carbon dioxide escaping.
Cornstarch and corn syrup are thickening agents that help the liquid harden into paint cakes.