How to Make a Watercolor Chart

Have you ever felt lost with knowing how to mix certain watercolors together?  Or remembering which color mixtures you like and which ones you don't?  I definitely have.

A blogger friend asked me how I made my Watercolor Chart, and I thought it would be a great idea to share.  

It's a handy tool that takes the guess-work out of mixing your watercolors.

They're a bit time-consuming to create (it took me about 2 hours in total to make mine), but making them is therapeutic. 

Plus, they turn out pretty!

I'm sure that there are other ways to make these charts, but here is how I make mine.  

Before you begin

Tools you'll need:

  • Watercolors, tubes or pans
  • Watercolor paper
  • Paintbrush (round, size 2 or 3 is what I use)
  • Jars for Clean Water & Dirty Water
  • Ruler
  • Pencil  
  • Calculator (or a scratch pad if you like math)  

How to Make a Watercolor Chart

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Step 1:   Gather your watercolors & count them.  Set them aside in ROYGBIV order.  

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Step 2:  Measure how wide you want your chart to be.  

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Mine is 8 inches wide.  Leave enough space (or "margins") on the sides of your paper.  This will give you room to later label the names of your watercolors.   An inch or two is usually enough space, depending on your handwriting size.

Step 3: Calculate how big your squares need to be.

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Take your measurement in Step 2 & divide that by your number of watercolors.  I divided 8 inches by my 25 watercolors.

Step 4:  Plot out your squares.  

Based on the math exercise above, I knew my vertical and horizontal lines had to each be spaced .32 inches apart.

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Step 5:  Label each row horizontally & vertically with the names of your watercolor colors.  

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Tip:  Keep your watercolors in order.  Whatever order you go vertically, you will need to follow the same order horizontally.   (Like your X and Y axis in math class.  :-))

Step 6:  The fun part!  Paint in your colors.  

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Begin with your first tube of watercolor.   Find where you have labeled that same watercolor on the horizontal and vertical lines of your chart.  Where they intersect is where you will plot your color...  like in the games, Bingo or Battleship (I loved Battleship!)

Dip your brush in clean water, load your brush with that one color and paint in the square.   Clean your brush and repeat for each tube of watercolor.

Then, start mixing.  Mix each watercolor with one other watercolor.  Plot that mixture on your chart.  Rinse your brush.  Repeat with one other color.

ie.  Let's say I start with Thalo Blue.  I will mix Thalo Blue with Thalo Red.  I'll find where those colors intersect, then I'll paint in that mixture.  Then I will rinse my brush, go back to Thalo Blue and mix with a new color, Cadmium Red.  I'll plot that mixture out and repeat with the next color in line.  

  • Thalo Blue + Thalo Red(rinse)
  • Thalo Blue + Cadmium Red (rinse)
  • Thalo Blue + Permanent Rose (rinse)
  • Thalo Blue + Cadmium Orange (rinse)

Tip:  Keep your mixtures nice & clean by rinsing your brush and paintbox after each mixture. 

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There you have it. :-)

Your very own customized watercolor chart!