Paint the town: Watercolor DIYs

(left to right) Watercolor agate, pillow case, and vase. Photo by Justin Clay | The Signal

Nothing screams summer like cool colors running down a page. So in the spirit of the upcoming season, I have provided four cheap and easy watercolor “Do it Yourself” projects, thank me later.

Watercolor Pillow Case: Lay your head down on a cool summery pillow.

(left to right) Watercolor agate, pillow case, and vase. Photo by Justin Clay | The Signal

Materials: White(ish) pillow case, different colored Sharpies, rubbing alcohol, cotton swabs

Step one: Write a phrase using a Sharpie on the pillow case.

Step two: Next go over the phrase with each colored Sharpie. It doesn’t have to be perfect, you want it to be a little messy when you overlap the colors.

Step three: Dip your cotton swab into the rubbing alcohol, then run it along each letter. This will make the ink bleed on the fabric to give it a watercolor effect.

Step four: Let it dry.

Finished product of watercolor agate. Photo by Justin Clay | The Signal

Paper Marbling: The perfect summer stationery.

Materials: Shaving cream, thick textured paper, food coloring, baking dish, spatula, ruler, paper towels

Step one: Fill your baking dish with a thick layer of shaving cream.

Step two: Next add your food coloring in one drop at a time, you don’t want one color to completely overpower the shaving cream.

Step three: Use your spatula to fold your food coloring into the shaving cream to create the marbling. Be careful that you don’t mix it too much.

Step four: Place your paper into the shaving cream and move it around to make sure the whole front side is covered.

Step five: Take your sheet of paper out, and with the ruler, scrape the excess shaving cream off from one corner to the other in a sweeping motion.

Step six: Dab any leftover shaving cream off the paper with a paper towel.


  • Before placing another sheet of paper in, fold the shaving cream with the spatula again.
  •   If there is too much white, add more food coloring. If there is too much color add more shaving cream.


Water Color Agate: Nothing says summer like a classic watercolor geode painting.

Materials: Water colors, different sized brushes, gold paint, textured paper

Step one: Create your first ring using a lighter color. You want to use a lot of water while creating this so that it is very wet.

Step two: Take a darker color on a smaller brush and trace the outside of the circle. The colors will bleed but that is what you want.

Step three: Repeat the steps moving the rings outward. You also want to alternate between dark and light colors.

Step four: Let the colors dry. Then you can go in with the gold paint and highlight any areas you want with it. You can also add a few gold dots into the center.

Watercolor vases are simple creative solutions for storage needs. Photo by Justin Clay | The Signal

Water color vase: Painted glass with two ways to do it. (Warning: not microwave or dishwasher safe)

  1.     Nail polish Marble

Materials: Plastic bowl, water, nail polish, toothpick, glass vase or mug.

Step one: Fill the plastic bowl with water. But make sure that you don’t fill it up so much that when you place your cup in it, it overflows.

Step two: Dip your nail polish into the water. Quickly use the toothpick to pull at the nail polish to create a design.

Step three: Let the nail polish sit for a few seconds to create a film on top of the water.

Step four: Take your vase and place it into the film covered water. You want to turn the vase in the water to make sure that it gets completely covered.

  1. Alcohol Ink

Materials: Ink, rubbing alcohol, a glass vase or mug, a straw, cotton swab.

Step one: In a small container mix together the ink and a little alcohol.

Step two: Take a cotton swab and dip it into the alcohol ink mixture and dab it into the glass.

Step three: Use another cotton swab and dip it into just straight rubbing alcohol.

Step four: Dab the alcohol swab onto the alcohol ink on the glass to make it run.

Step five: Use the straw to blow on the ink to give it to the watercolor look.

Step six: Let the ink dry on the glass.

Start your summer off with the perfect watercolor DIYs. Enjoy these projects and enjoy your summer.


Watercolor Tricks: Here are a few different household items that can give your water color paints a different look.

  •       Vodka: Gives your paints a spottier and lighter look.
  •       Salt: Adds grit to your picture.
  •       Paper towel: Makes your paints look splotchy and faded when you dab it with paper towels.
  •       Crayons and wax: Allows you to create shapes on the paper before painting and then discolors the shapes when you paint over them.