Techniques and Tips

These 6 Watercolor Hacks Will Make You and Your Wallet Happy

These 6 Watercolor Hacks Will Make You and Your Wallet Happy

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Watercolor Painting Hacks Savvy Artists Will Love

Do you love taking time out to focus on your creativity, but you don’t want to do things the conventional way all the time? Save time, be resourceful and give an old item new purpose with these six watercolor hacks! Because easier and more unique are qualities everyone could use in their painting routine.

1. Backyard Mark-Makers

If texture plays any role in your watercolor painting, you probably own some not-so-traditional art tools. Dawn Beedell, art instructor and founder of ARTPAD art studio in Lancashire, England, holds an experimental mark-making workshop to offer artists “a wider repertoire of mark-making techniques” which can add texture and interest to their work.

“These tools were made using twigs and bamboo sticks discovered in the garden and found items such as teasel heads, wool, tinsel, cardboard and herbs, which were then tied to the sticks,” she says. “Some items also can be used just as they are, like lids and toothbrushes.”

2. Non-Masking Paint Remover

The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is a workhorse around the house, but many watercolor artists love it because it can remove paint — even when it’s completely dry — without damaging the paper.

Found in grocery and drug stores, this little sponge can be used to correct unwanted marks or to add detail in the later stages of a painting.

3. Minty-Fresh Travel Palette

Want two great hacks in one? You might have already known an Altoids tin is the perfect size for a travel watercolor palette. But did you know you could place a chewing gum container within it to hold your watercolors?

The gum packaging has to be the blister-packed kind, such as that for Orbit White, Trident White and Dentyne Ice. Then just cut it to size if needed, add a water brush and a sponge, and off you go!

4. Foam Noodle as Brush Holder

This fun floatation device has many practical uses outside of the pool, from preventing children from falling out of the bed to acting as the base for a wreath. It also can act as a great tool for artists, too.

Simply cut notches into the side of a foam noodle (or foam pipe insulation) to make it a brush holder. If using foam pipe insulation, you can also make one cut lengthwise and rest it on the rim of your square or rectangular water container.

5. Kitchen and Medicine Cabinet Helpers

Don’t have a mint tin lying around? No problem! Your next travel palette might be as close as your kitchen junk drawer. Those day-of-the-week pill boxes? They’re the perfect size for travel palette wells.

Also, plastic butter lids can do double duty as mixing areas, and plastic photo film canisters (if you still have any) can be put to new use as on-the-go water cups.

6. Remedy for Loose Hake Brush Hairs

“I love my bamboo hake brush,” says watercolorist Birgit O’Connor. What she doesn’t love, however, are the hairs it sheds, so she has devised a quick fix.

“First, remove as many loose brush hairs as possible,” she advises. “Then apply a little Krazy Glue along the bottom of the bristles just along the bamboo handle. Using a toothpick or needle, work the glue deeper into the center of the hairs. The glue should only travel about one-fourth of an inch up the hair — just enough so it can penetrate into the center of the hair. Let the glue dry thoroughly before using the brush.”


Use negative painting (removing paint!) to get oh-so positive results on your surface! Linda Kemp will show you how! Check out all of her videos, books and instructional guides to explore your love of watercolor even further!

This article first appeared in a past issue of Watercolor Artist magazine. Enjoy more watercolor know-how in this free watercolor demo video!

Well artists, do you plan to put these watercolor hacks to use? Let us know what you think, and be sure to share your own painting hacks in the comments below.

Happy painting — or should I say, paint-hacking!

Watch the video: 6 Bad Habits in Watercolor You Should Never Have (August 2022).