Several years ago, I tried my hand at handmade watercolors. I thought it would be very cool to make my own, and pre-mix some of my favorite colors to use right out of the pan.
Turns out, the recipe was geared toward making watercolor paints with kids, and I abandoned the idea and moved on. I tend to give up easily.
Lately I have been seeing an explosion of people making their own watercolors and selling them, and the best part about this is that they sell out super quickly! Some people sell out minutes after they drop a fresh pour of their handmade watercolors.
It feels like it elevates watercolor painting – art making – from a fun pastime to more of the sacred art activity it is. It creates superfans who are buying something much more interesting than the latest iPhone. It supports creative small businesses and forms a tribe of like-minded arty people.
And now let’s take a gawk at some of the handmade watercolors you can get your hands on (if they aren’t all sold out.)
IUILE – If you’re looking for handmade watercolors on Etsy, you’ll no doubt find Iuile. These handmade watercolors are magical. Like unicorn sparkly fairy dust magical. Iuile makes iridescent and color changing (!) watercolors that look as amazing on black paper as white. There are so many options and color waves, you won’t know which to choose.
I love a good color swatch, so here’s the cutest shot of 4 of her color charts from the Mica series of watercolors.
Greenleaf & Blueberry
We started off with a bang, but most people making handmade watercolors are going the more natural color route. Greenleaf & Blueberry makes small batch watercolors, specializing in natural pigments.
Greenleaf & Blueberry are couple Matt (science background) and Jess (art background), and they mix their colors in small batches of highly pigmented watercolor paints that I want to get my hands on immediately.
They also make hand-carved brushes, lovely sketchbooks, and more!
Bloom Studio is a French handmade watercolor paint company, and I could vaguely understand her site. Here’s what I can ascertain:
Her name is Jennifer. She makes beautiful watercolor paints. There are some metallics in her collection. I learned a new French word: aquarelles = watercolors. Her watercolors are vegan. She has a cute grey rabbit.
Also, I’m always fascinated with which colors resonate with different people. Which of these two watercolor swatches do you like better? I’m partial to the one on the right. She’s got lots more, so go peek!
31 Purple Fish
31 Purple Fish is a little bit of a mystery, because I don’t know who they are or where they are from or anything abut them, really. Except that they make watercolor paints, and pretty much sell them out the moment they release them.
I am all about the color swatches on the left, and the right image is a still from a video by Julia at The Paint Box Letters using their watercolors.
Update: adding her Instagram account in here! (Thanks to a new commenter.)
Reves D’Aquarelles is a French watercolor paint maker. Oh, these palettes! The colors are so lovely – and they sell little tins to put your watercolor pans into. Oh, and if looking at color charts make you weak in the knees, go stare at their color swatch page. OMG.
Aloha Watercolors are from – you guessed it – Hawaii! These handmade watercolors come in shimmers, regulars, and neons, and are made with organic honey by Keiko, and I kind of want her life now. Keep checking back if she’s sold out of products – there were paints available when I first started writing this post, but she was all sold out by the time I hit publish!)
Stakiwi sells handmade watercolors, plus pigments, tins, and more for you brave people who want to try your hand at making your own watercolor paints. Stacey is based in New Zealand and also runs a watercolor forum through her blog that looks like an active and fun and highly addictive place for watercolorists.
Stacey also teaches a course in making your own watercolors here!
This Italian watercolor paint maker has the most stunning website and packaging. These are handmade, honey-based watercolors, and, yep, there’s a not one the site that the paints usually sell out within minutes of being released.
I saved this one for last, because if you are interested in handmade watercolors, I think you will want to linger on her site, reading about the history of pigments, ogling over her photography and videos, and dreaming about visiting the showrooms in Asisi, Florence, or Soho.
Want to Make Your Own Watercolor Paints?
Natural Pigments has a step-by-step tutorial on making your own watercolors here.
Stakiwi offers a homemade watercolor course.
Here’s a quick tutorial on how to make your own basic watercolor paint.
And a video tutorial – it’s actually part just fun-to-watch paint-mixing, and part the maker’s experiences, tips, and info for making your own watercolors:
Supplies And Resources For Handmade Watercolors
Kremer Pigments – They are a bounty of supplies and information on how to make your own watercolor paints.
Art ‘N Glow – glow powders and pearl pigments
Handmade Watercolor Supplies on Amazon
Handmade Watercolor Supplies on Etsy
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Download this mega-bundle of 16 color charts and wheels (plus 3 bonus vintage color wheels).
Use acrylics, watercolors, colored pencils, crayons, markers, pens, oil pastels, or any other art supply to swatch, mix, test, and track all of your colors!