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Science Art: Alcohol and Watercolor Painting

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Today I’m going to show you a cool science art project: Rubbing Alcohol and Watercolor Painting. Watercolor paint is a great medium to use with younger kids because it is easy to clean, but can still create amazing art.

This alcohol and watercolor painting technique is so much fun to try and creates beautiful, unexpected art.  When rubbing alcohol is added to paints, it looks as though it pushes the paint away, almost like bubbles. Watercolor paints have chemicals in them that bind the pigments to the paper.  When alcohol is added to the paper, the paint pigments and the alcohol cannot mix, so it repels, causing white spots on the paintings. 

Supplies for the Alcohol and Watercolor Painting 

Watercolor paper
Watercolor paints
Paint brushes
Eye dropper or pipette
Rubbing alcohol
Clean water

How to Do Alcohol and Watercolor Painting

Paint designs with watercolor pigment on your watercolor paper. You can paint it however you like, but you will want the paint to be fairly dark on your paper.

Pour a small amount of rubbing alcohol into a bowl or cup. Use an eye dropper, or a clean paint brush to drip the alcohol onto your wet watercolor paint.  You could do dots with a q-tip or a smaller paint brush as well.

You’ll notice that it will create a lighter color and even some white spots on the paintings. It will make some beautiful designs and interesting textures. The alcohol repels the wet paint. It will create a sort of tie-dye effect!

Paint more!  Try adding the alcohol to your art in different ways such as spray bottles, cotton swabs or even stamps. One more fun method is to sprinkle salt over your watercolor designs. It creates another amazing look to your art!  What kinds of designs can you make?

Try More Science Art Projects

This is part of my Science Art series in conjunction with my book release: Science Art and Drawing Games for Kids

Check Out Some of My Other Science Art Projects:

Science Art: Conductive Paint Circuits

Animal Magnet Face Drawings

Homemade Paintball Bombs (Science + Art)

Homemade Pantograph Drawing Machine


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