How to Create Your Own Watercolor Paper: A Step-by-Step Guide

Did you know that you can create your own watercolor paper using materials you probably already have at home? In this article, we will guide you through the process of making your own watercolor paper, from the materials you need to the step-by-step instructions.

Materials Needed

Before we get started, you will need to gather the following materials:

  • Cotton fabric or cotton rag paper
  • Gelatin powder
  • Water
  • Paintbrush
  • Scissors
  • Large baking tray
  • Large bowl
  • Measuring cup
  • Spoon
  • Blender or food processor (optional)

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Cut the cotton fabric or cotton rag paper to your desired size. It’s best to cut it slightly larger than your finished watercolor paper size, as it will shrink as it dries.
  2. Soak the cotton fabric or cotton rag paper in water for at least 30 minutes to an hour.
  3. While the cotton is soaking, prepare the gelatin mixture. In a large bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of gelatin powder with 3 tablespoons of water. Stir well and let it sit for a few minutes until the gelatin absorbs the water.
  4. Boil 1 cup of water in a pot, then add the gelatin mixture. Stir the mixture until the gelatin dissolves completely.
  5. Let the gelatin mixture cool down a bit, then use a paintbrush to apply it evenly onto the soaked cotton fabric or cotton rag paper. Be sure to cover the entire surface.
  6. Once the gelatin mixture is applied, let the cotton fabric or cotton rag paper dry completely. You can either air dry it or use a hairdryer to speed up the process.
  7. Once the cotton fabric or cotton rag paper is completely dry, you can add a second layer of gelatin mixture for extra thickness and durability. Repeat steps 4-6 for the second layer.
  8. After the second layer is completely dry, your homemade watercolor paper is ready to use!

Tips and Tricks

  • Use high-quality cotton fabric or cotton rag paper for the best results. Avoid using synthetic materials as they may not absorb the gelatin mixture well.
  • Experiment with different gelatin-to-water ratios to achieve different levels of thickness and durability.
  • You can also add pigment to the gelatin mixture for a colored watercolor paper.
  • If you don’t have a large baking tray, you can use a flat surface covered in plastic wrap instead.
  • If you want a smoother surface, blend the soaked cotton fabric or cotton rag paper in a blender or food processor before applying the gelatin mixture.


Creating your own watercolor paper is not only cost-effective but also allows you to customize the thickness and texture to your liking. With just a few simple materials and steps, you can create high-quality watercolor paper that suits your artistic needs. Give it a try and see the difference it can make in your artwork!


Can I use any cotton fabric for making watercolor paper?

It’s best to use high-quality cotton fabric that is free of any coatings or chemicals. You can find cotton fabric specifically made for watercolor paper at art supply stores.

How long does it take for the gelatin mixture to dry?

It can take anywhere from a few hours to overnight for the gelatin mixture to dry completely, depending on the humidity and temperature of your environment.

Can I reuse leftover gelatin mixture?

Yes, you can store the leftover gelatin mixture in the refrigerator for up to a week. Just heat

Can I use this watercolor paper for other types of paints?

Yes, you can use this watercolor paper for other types of paints as well, such as acrylic or gouache.

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