How to Create a Painting with Liquid Watercolors


Historically, watercolor paints have been sold as a set of solid cakes in a plastic pan or as color pastes packaged individually in metal tubes. A new form of paint called concentrated liquid watercolors is available from various manufacturers in a wide array of colors and sizes. Concentrated watercolors can be dripped or squirted directly from the bottle for bold, vibrant images or they can be diluted with water to create a wash effect. Available at local art stores and through online art sources, liquid watercolors offer artists, of any age or ability the opportunity to create in this very moment.

Things You'll Need

  • Masking tape
  • Illustration board
  • Plexiglass (at least 1/8 inch thick)
  • Sponge paint brush
  • Concentrated liquid watercolors
  • Pipettes or medicine droppers
  • Piece of plywood or large heavy book
  • Attach an illustration board shiny side up to a piece of Plexiglass with masking tape to prepare your painting surface. It doesn't matter how large or small your art board is, you just want the Plexiglass to be larger than your painting surface.

  • Brush water lightly across the art board. Don't miss any areas. The water will encourage the flow of color, producing images that have soft and fluid edges. Working without water would result in darker images and harder edges.

  • Apply with a medicine dropper or a pipette one color at a time, beginning with the lightest first and gradually working your way to the darkest. Choose three or four colors with which to create your painting. After dripping a small amount of color onto the art board, place your fingers beneath the edges of the Plexiglass and tilt the painting from side to side, letting gravity affect the flow of color. Continue adding color as desired.

  • Cover the completed painting with a piece of plastic wrap, beginning at the top and moving downward. With the plastic in place, use your hands or fingertips to continue spreading and blending the colors. You can also create texture with the plastic wrap by smoothing it in some areas and creating creases and bubbles in others.

  • Place a piece of plywood or a heavy book on top of your painting, covering the entire surface. The weight of the plywood will establish contact between the plastic, paint and paper, thereby creating a glossy sheen once the piece is completely dry. After 24 hours, remove the plywood, plastic and tape.

Tips & Warnings

  • Illustration board can be found in various sizes and finishes at art stores.
  • Plexiglass is available in pre-cut sizes at most hardware stores. It can be used again. Just spray it with glass cleaner and rinse.
  • Use one pipette or medicine dropper per color so that the colors don't get mixed up in the bottles.


  • "In Harmony With Nature"; Maxine Masterfield; 1990
  • "The Tao of Watercolor"; Jeanne Carbonetti; 1998
  • Photo Credit cold drinks image by vashistha pathak from Blue ink in the water on a white background image by Nadezda Kraft from
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