This project is a great mix of science and art that engages children in several S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) principles at once. Children not only get to participate in the science of making the watercolors, but also enjoy the artistic expression of using them after they are dry.

You can extend the science by dabbing your paintbrush into vinegar before dabbing it onto the watercolor cubes to paint. When the baking soda watercolors mix with the vinegar, our homemade paint solution will begin to fizz! This makes for a memorable, hands-on learning experience.



  • Baking soda
  • Food Coloring
  • Water
  • Ice cube tray (or something similar)



  1. Fill each slot of the ice cube tray 3/4 of the way with baking soda.
  2. Add a few drops of food coloring to each slot.
  3. Slowly add water and gently mix each slot.
  4. As you add water, the baking soda will dissolve. Add a bit more baking soda to each slot until you have a really thick consistency with minimal residual water.
  5. From here you can leave the watercolor cakes to dry, or you can pop the tray in the freezer for faster results. Drying out of the freezer may take up to two days, but in the freezer the watercolor cakes will be set in 3-4 hours.
  6. To use the watercolor cubes, dip the paintbrush in water or vinegar and soften each watercolor block.




This is one experiment from the classrooms of The Brainery, the afterschool program at Stepping Stone School. Limited placements are available for fall enrollment. For more information, visit


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