Natural Dyes & Watercolor: Create Your Own Paints From Flowers | Casey Gallagher Newman | Skillshare

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Natural Dyes & Watercolor: Create Your Own Paints From Flowers

teacher avatar Casey Gallagher Newman, Natural Dye and Textile Artist

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Class Project


    • 3.



    • 4.

      Heating Your Flowers


    • 5.

      Extracting Pigment


    • 6.

      Washing Your Pigment


    • 7.

      Drying Your Pigment


    • 8.

      Turning Pigment into Paint


    • 9.

      Final Thoughts


    • 10.

      Bonus Lesson: Choosing Other Flowers


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About This Class

Do you love flowers?

Are you inspired by the beauty of nature?

Do new art materials bring you joy?

If you answered YES! to any of these questions then this class is for you! 

Join Casey (@cedardellforestfarm) who uses her decade of experience as a naturalist and natural dye artist to teach you to make your own watercolor paint using flowers. 

Making your own watercolor paint from flowers not only gives you beautiful and interesting colors to paint with, but it provides a deep connection to the natural world. It’s also just really fun!

In this class you will learn to:

  • Select flowers that make lasting color
  • Heat the flowers to extract their color
  • Collect and dry the pigment
  • Combine the pigment with watercolor binder to create paint!
  • Store your dry pigment and finished paint

At the end of this class you will:

  • have your own natural watercolor to paint to use any way you’d like
  • be able to apply this process to a variety of flowers in your area to create a seasonal palette that’s completely unique to you

This class is for anyone looking for a new way to bring nature into their creative life, regardless of your experience using watercolor paint. Watercolor is playful and fun to use and making your own is a rewarding process that will deepen your appreciation of all the gifts nature has to offer.

Join the class and let’s get started!

Meet Your Teacher

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Casey Gallagher Newman

Natural Dye and Textile Artist

Top Teacher

Hello, I'm Casey! I am a naturalist and a textile artist so it is no surprise that nature has a starring role in all of my work. I dye fabric using all natural dyes - many that I gather and grow myself - and also print leaves onto fabric using only the natural pigments found within each leaf.

I am inspired by living and working at Cedar Dell Forest Farm (@cedardellforestfarm), our farm in the forest on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon. Living on a farm makes me appreciate all the gifts that we receive from the land and our animals. I raise Shetland sheep for their fiber and friendly personalities, gather leaves and natural materials to use to dye fabric, and grow many of my own dye plants as well as fruit and vegetables.

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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Do you love the colors and beauty of nature? Have you ever looked at a gorgeous flower and wished you could bottle it up to keep it forever? In this class, I will show you how to do just that, Extract and preserve colors from flowers, and then use that pigment to create your very own handmade watercolor paint. My name is Casey, and I am a naturalist as well as a natural dye artist. My deep love of nature influences everything about the creative work that I do. I use all natural dyes in my studio to create wearable items, home goods, and even jewelry. I also love using items from nature to make my own art mediums like botanical ink and of course, watercolor paint. My studio is on our farm just outside of Portland, Oregon. We call it Cedar Del Forest Farm. Here I have space to grow and gather a lot of my own de, materials, including the flowers that I'm going to be using in this class today. I teach classes to kids and adults in person. And I am thrilled to be a top teacher here on skill share, where I offer a variety of nature inspired classes. In this class, I will walk you through the process of extracting pigment from flowers and using it to create your own watercolor paint. I will be demonstrating this process using marigolds because they are a very common flower that you may already be familiar with. But I will use my decade of experience growing and using natural dyes to share suggestions of other easy to find flowers that you can also use to make watercolors. At the class, you will have your own natural watercolor to paint with. And the ability to apply this process to a variety of flowers in your area to create a seasonal palette that's completely unique to you. Whether you are an accomplished watercolor artist or someone who like me just likes to play with putting color on paper, than this class is for you. Watercolor paint is so playful and fun to use. Making your own is a rewarding process that will deepen your appreciation and connection to all the gifts that nature has to offer us. I can't wait for you to join me in class and get started making your own botanical watercolor paint. 2. Class Project: The project for this class is to make your own watercolor paint, using the beautiful pigments found in flowers. I walk you through all steps of this process, beginning with selecting flowers that create beautiful and lasting color. To gathering the necessary supplies, many of which you probably already have at home. Extracting pigment from flowers takes just a few steps. The hardest part is patiently waiting for the pigment to settle to the bottom of the container so that you can collect it. I'll share my tips for drying your pigment and at that point, you can store it for a rainy day or follow along. Will they teach you to use your beautiful natural pigment to create watercolor paint? You can use your handmade natural paint on its own or in combination with other handmade or commercial watercolors. Join me in the next lesson where I outline the supplies that you will need for this project. 3. Supplies: In this lesson, I will share the supplies that you need to make beautiful watercolor paint from flowers. And I'll also share some alternatives in case you don't have the exact items that I'm showing. The most important supply, of course, is flowers. I'm going to be using these beautiful sunshiny marigolds. And you are welcome to follow along and use these flowers as well. But there are others that will make some beautiful lasting watercolor pigments. And I have a bonus lesson at the end of this course, where I share some other recommendations with you. You will need a pot large enough to hold your flowers, plus a couple inches of water above them. You will need a strainer to separate your cooked flowers from your E liquid. If you don't have a strainer like this, you can use some cheese cloth or even a thin piece of fabric like a tea towel. Once you strain the flowers from your die liquid, you will want some clear containers to put that liquid into. The pigment is going to settle to the bottom of the liquid and you need a clear container so that you can see that happening. You can use a jar or clear glass bases or even plastic containers that you maybe can rescue from your recycling bin. To extract the pigment from the die liquid, you will need a couple chemicals. The first is alum, and you can find this in the spice ale and many grocery stores. It's often used in pickling, but it is more cost effective to purchase it from retailers that sell natural de, supplies. You can get it in a lot larger quantities. I have several recommended sites listed in the file, in the resources tab. You also will need soda ash, and again, you can find this from Natural E retailers, though it's also used in tie dying. So sometimes you can find it at your local arts and crafts store. The most accurate way to measure these chemicals is by weighing them on a scale. I highly recommend using one if you have it at home. But I do include some conversions in the Resources tab so that you can measure using teaspoons as well. After these chemicals are added, the pigment will settle to the bottom of your jar and to filter it out, you will need some coffee filters and a jar or container that they fit onto. Finally, to turn your pigment into paint, you will need a mortar and pestle, and this will be used to grind your pigment into a fine powder. To turn that powder into watercolor paint, you will need to mix it with a watercolor binder. I'm using the Schmincke brand binder, but you can also find recipes on the Internet to make your own. And I give some information about that and a file in the Resources tab to mix your pigment and the watercolor binder into a creamy watercolor paint, you will need a molar. I highly recommend purchasing one of these, and I share some of my favorites in the Resources tab. But the important features of a molar are that they have a little bit of weight to them and the bottom is perfectly flat. If you have a drinking glass or other small container at home with a flat bottom, then you are welcome to use that molding surface is a heavy flat surface. Ideally, it has a little bit of texture to it, like frosted glass. I picked up this granite cutting board at a discount home goods store for less than $10 and it works just great for me. You could also use a smooth ceramic tile as your molling surface. Usually you can find these for just a couple dollar at a home improvement store. Palette knives are a really useful tool to have when you are molling your watercolor paint. This flat side makes it work really well for scooping up your paint, keeping it in the center of your molling surface. You will, of course, need to test out your watercolor paint to make sure it's fully mixed and looking beautiful. So have some watercolor paper and paint brushes handy during this process. Once your paint is made, you will need some small containers to store it in. You can get ready made watercolor pans which are specifically made for this purpose. And they're nice because they can be added to a watercolor palette that you may already have. There are a lot of creative dishes that you can use to store your paint. I love these little ceramic bowls. They're actually doll house bowls. And I share a link to these in the resources tab. Sea shells make cute containers for watercolor paint. Plastic or metal bottle caps are another creative option that you may already have at home. One nice thing about this project is that you don't have to complete all the steps in one go. In fact, there are several places in this process where you will have to wait a day or two before moving on to the next step. So if you don't have all the supplies you need for each step of making watercolor paint, you can still get started today by heating your flowers and starting to extract that color while you gather the rest of your supplies and the next lesson, we'll get started with heating the flowers and starting to extract that beautiful botanical color. 4. Heating Your Flowers: In this lesson, I will teach you the very first step, which is extracting the beautiful color from your flowers. To do this, you will of course, need your chosen flowers, a pot to hold them in, and some water. I'm using marigolds, which have a very strong odor, so I'm going to heat them on a camp stove outside, place your flowers in the pot, and cover them with several inches of water. How much of each you need is not an exact amount, but to give you an idea of what I'm using, I've weighed out about 4 ounces or 115 grams of marigold flowers, and I'm adding approximately ten cups of water. The flowers do float, so it can be hard to see exactly how much water you have unless you push them down a little, turn your heat on, and leave your dog to supervise. No, just kidding. They are not responsible enough. This is boiling harder than is desirable. You don't want all of your water to evaporate away with a heavy boil. It just needs a low simmer to extract the color. This is looking a lot better and it's only been a few minutes. And you can see that this beautiful yellow color is already coming out of the flowers. Simmer your flowers for approximately 30 minutes and then turn the heat off and leave it to cool so you can strain the flowers from the de, liquid. I usually just wait until I can handle the pot, but it's okay to let your flowers sit overnight and the water, sometimes that can even lead to deeper colors. To strain the liquid, you will need something to strain it into. I'm using this measuring cup because I do need to measure the liquid. But this also has a nice wide opening that I can easily fit the strainer into. Remember, if you don't have a strainer, you can use a piece of cheesecloth or even a tea towel or other piece of thin fabric. Pour your liquid through the strainer and then into another container. This is four cups, which is just shy of one liter. I still have some liquid left in my pot, so I'll set this up again. Any little bits of flowers or dirt that gets through your strainer will also get into your watercolor paint. You want to avoid that as much as possible. I want to get every last bit of dye from the flowers, but don't want to accidentally squish any pieces through the strainer. I'm going to use this small towel and still over the strainer, I'm just going to squeeze. I get all the last bit of that good colorful liquid and I got about a two cup out of it. So I feel like that was worth doing. If your jar of flour dye looks a little brown or murky, not quite a bright, beautiful color that you were hoping for, don't worry. And the next lesson we're going to add alum and soda ash to this, which not only extract the pigment from here, but it also tends to brighten up the colors and bring out some more of those beautiful golden yellows from the marigolds. 5. Extracting Pigment: In this lesson, I will teach you how to take this jar of flour dye that you have made and extract the color from it. For this, you will need your alum and soda ash, A scale to weigh it out on, or a teaspoon to measure it. You also will need something to stir your liquid with. There's not an exact recipe for the step in the process. And to understand why that is, I will share with you what the alum and soda in the liquid. Now that you've heated the flowers, molecules from them are floating around in your container. Alum is the first ingredient added because it will attach to those molecules. Alum is slightly acidic, so when it is added, it lowers the ph. In this slightly acidic state, the alum dissolves easily. The liquid in your jar will look much the same before and after you add alum, because you can't see the alum doing that work of binding to the dimolecules. The second ingredient added is soda ash. Soda ash is slightly basic and you may recall from past chemistry lessons that acids and bases can cancel each other out. The soda ash is used to bring your liquid back to a neutral ph. This will also make the alum turn back into a solid, meaning it clumps up into larger particles. Eventually, those particles sink to the bottom of your container and they bring the flour die along with it. Because the alum and die are bonded together, this solid is called a lake pigment. It cannot be used to dye fabric anymore, because the dye is all wrapped up in the alum. But this is perfect for making watercolor paint. Back to why there is no recipe for exactly how much alum and soda ash to use. We can measure how much liquid we have from the flower dye, and this is 1.5 liters. But that doesn't tell us exactly how much pigment is in here. And the amount of alum that you use will depend on how many die molecules are in your jar. That's impossible to measure exactly. We're going to have to make our best guess. If you look up lake pigments online or in natural E books that you may have at home, you will see the guide line of adding 10 grams of alum and 5 grams of soda ash for every one liter of die liquid that you have. That's a great starting point, but many of those guides are using this process to save the last bit of E that is left in a pot that's already been used to dye fabric or yarn. That means that some of the pigment has already been removed from the de, liquid. This is a fresh off the stow, fully concentrated jar of flour de. There's a lot of pigment in here, so I'm going to start by adding 20 grams of alum and 10 grams of soda ash for every liter that I've measured out. If you're not sure how much alum and soda ash to add to your de, liquid, always start with small amounts. You can always add more. And I will show you that process in this lesson. But adding too much alum can cause crystals to form in your pigment, and that can make it difficult, or even impossible, to turn it into usable water color. Alum is always added first so that it can bind to the die molecules. I have 1.5 liters of die liquid. If I multiply that by 20 grams of alum per liter, I need 30 grams of alum for my jar. You can add it all in one go and then stir it so that the alum dissolves. I recommend letting this sit for 30 minutes, up to a couple of hours, to give the alum p***ty of time to bond with the die molecules before adding the soda ash. Soda ash is always used at half the amount of alum. If I have 1.5 liters of liquid, multiply that by 10 grams of soda ash per liter, which tells me I need 15 grams of soda ash. Be sure there is some room in your container because this is an acid base reaction and can sometimes bubble up a bit, especially if your dye is still warm. Yours might not bubble as much as mine, and that's okay. It doesn't always create this much foam when the alum and soda ash are both mixed into your de, liquid, it's just a waiting game. It takes at least a few hours for the pigments to turn into a solid and settle to the bottom of your container. Usually, at this point, I leave mine to sit overnight and then check it. The next day I'll show you some examples of what it looks like when the pigment settles. This jar of pigment has been sitting for just about 12 hours. You can see the lake pigment settled at the bottom and the liquid on top has very little color remaining. This is about as perfect as it gets, but it doesn't always look like this, especially if it's your first time doing this process. Let me show you some other examples. This jar looks like it has a good amount of alum and soda ash that's been added to it because the liquid here is pretty clear and a lot of pigment has settled to the bottom. But there's also this floating layer still stuck at the top. I don't know why this happens, sometimes it just does. Sometimes the solution is to be patient and let this sit even longer. If you look closely, you can see that there is pigment still floating down from the top and coming through this middle layer. If your pigment does this in the jar, you could let this sit another several hours and see how it's doing. I often get a little impatient with this step and like to help it along. I find that if I gently stir the top layer, being careful to not agitate the whole jar, I think this helps encourage it to settle to the bottom a little quicker. This is what your pigment might look like. If not enough alum or soda ash are added. You can see a line down here showing where the pigment has settled. However, this top liquid still has a lot of color in it. Now there is pigment that has settled to the bottom, so you could collect this and discard the top layer. But there's a lot of dye that would be wasted if I did that. And I prefer to extract as much pigment as possible from my dye. If your container looks like this and you want to extract more pigment from it, add additional alum and soda ash. Just as you did the first time, but in smaller amounts. Remember, you can always keep adding more, but too much can harm your pigment. With this jar, I chose to add an additional 5 grams of alum, 2.5 grams of soda ash, just like the first time. Add the alum and let it sit for at least a half an hour. Then add the soda ash and wait. You should see more pigment settle to the bottom, and the top layer will have less color in it after letting it sit for half a day. You can see that the top layer is much lighter than before adding the additional alum and soda ash. But there is still more color in here than that perfect example I showed you earlier. If your container looks like this and you want to extract more pigment from this liquid at the top, you could again add a little bit more alum and soda ash and then wait for it to settle even more. Another option to get more color out of this top layer is to carefully pour off this liquid into another container and then add some more alum and soda ash to here. And wait for the pigment to settle to the bottom while you move on to the next step with this pigment that has already settled, whether your jar has a clear layer on top or a little bit of color still in here. If you are happy with it, then let's move on to the next step, where I share with you how to wash this pigment to make it as pure as possible. 6. Washing Your Pigment: Now that you have a beautiful layer of botanical pigment settled to the bottom of your jar, I will share with you how to rinse this pigment so that any extra dye or alum is removed from it, making your watercolor paint as pure as possible. The first step is going to be pouring off this top liquid very carefully, trying to not disturb this pigment at the bottom as much as possible. If your liquid on the top still has a fair amount of color in it and you would like to keep that and add more alum and soda ash to get the last bit of color from it. Be sure that you pour it into a jar or container so that you can collect it. I'm pretty happy with the amount of pigment that has come out of the liquid and has settled on the bottom. So I'm just going to pour this top layer off into my sink. The trick to pouring off just the water at the top is to tilt your container as little as possible. You can see I tip it just enough that the water starts to come out. And then I hold it at that angle until the water slows to a trickle, then tilt the container just a little bit more and again, hold it still this way the pigment at the bottom stays in the jar and you can pour off most of the water before the pigment gets close to the edge. You won't be able to pour off 100% of the liquid and that's okay. You can maybe see that there's still a little bit of this liquid still at the top. Some people use a syringe or a turkey baster to carefully suction off that last bit, but it's also okay to leave it at this point. There may be some excess alum or extra pigment that isn't bonded to any alum and that needs to be rinsed off. The way I do this is to fill the container back up with water, stir it around a bit, and then let it settle back to the bottom. This doesn't usually take as long as when you first added the alum and soda ash. The chemical reactions have already happened. Your lake pigment is already formed. It just takes a little time for that pigment to float back to the bottom. Repeat this washing process two or three times. If your water had a lot of color still floating around in it when you poured it off. You should see that each time you wash your pigment, that top layer of water gets lighter and lighter as the loose dye is rinsed away. Here's an example of pigment that has been washed several times. When your pigment has been rinsed a couple times and is nicely settled into the bottom of the container, Pour off the top liquid one final time. Now that your pigment has been washed and you are left with this nice layer of thick botanical pigment in your jar, let's go to the next lesson, where I share with you how to dry it. 7. Drying Your Pigment: In this lesson, I will show you how to separate the last bit of water from the pigment that you have in your jar and how to dry it so that you can turn it into water color paint. Place a coffee filter over a clean jar or other container and secure it with a rubber band. Then pour your pigment into it. Being careful to not overflow the filter, it probably will not all fit. Sometimes a bit of pigment can pass through the filter at first, but as it starts to fill up the little holes in the coffee filter, your pigment will stay put and just the water will pass through. The water will start to drip through much more slowly. As the pigment collected in the filter gets thicker and thicker, add a little bit more pigment bit by bit as the water is filtered through. This is where a second container may come in handy. When I have a lot of pigment to filter, I like to split it into two coffee filters to make this process go a little quicker. It can take quite a while for all of this water to drip through the coffee filter. Now, it's a great time to take your dog for a walk, or watch your favorite Netflix show, or even just leave this to sit and filter overnight. As the water filters through, you will see the pigment and the coffee filter get thicker until you can safely remove it without its spilling. Carefully remove the rubber band and lift the filter with your pigment off of the jar and lay it out to dry. I like to place it on a couple layers of towel. You could also use a clean piece of cardboard. Having something absorbent underneath it will help pull some of that remaining moisture out from the bottom, and your pigment will dry faster. You can test it out on some paper to see the color. And this is looking so beautiful. You could paint with it like this, but it's not water color. It won't behave exactly like paint and will sit on top of the paper and could flake off when it dries. You want your goopy pigment to dry completely. Exactly how long that takes depends on your climate and how thick your layer of pigment is on the coffee filters. But expect it to take several days. You may be tempted to put it outside in a sunny place to dry quickly, but I recommend keeping it indoors. Bright sunlight can bleach your pigment the same way that clothes can fade if left in the sun too long. Also, the outside has dirt and dust, and insects which aren't bad. But anything that finds its way into this wet pigment can stick in it. And then that will also be in your watercolor paint. Even indoors can have some chal***ges. Like my cat, who loves to get in the middle of all of my projects, I'll show you what to expect during the drying process. This is what my pigment looks like after drying for about 12 hours. The towels are damp all the way through these folded layers, so I'm going to switch them out for a dry towel to continue soaking up some of the moisture. You can see that the pigment is starting to clump up a little bit, and when I spread it with the palette knife, the pigment can hold its shape. Now here's that little swatch I painted earlier. And you can see that these thick edges can be scraped right off the paper. It's really worth going through this drying process, so you can mix your pigment with watercolor binder and turn it into true paint. After 24 hours, it's starting to dry into smaller pieces that you can see here in the center, and some of the bits on the edges are looking completely dry. At this point, I take the towels out because there's not enough moisture left for them to help anymore. I can feel that the pigment is a lot stiffer and it's not very easy to spread anymore. This is after 36 hours of drying, so about a day and a half. And you can see that it's really shrinking into smaller pieces. You don't need much pigment to make watercolor paint, so don't worry that your big pile of pigment is turning into what seems like a pretty small amount. I think that lake pigments look really interesting as they dry. I would love for you to snap a picture of yours and share it in the project section for others to see. It's also nice for you to be able to compare what your drying pigment looks like with the color paint that you will make with it After two days of drying, some pieces of my pigment do look like they're completely dry. These larger pieces still have some moisture in them. It definitely needs more drying time. After 3.5 days, my pigment is completely dry. Yours should look something like this. When it's done. When I move it around, you can hear that it sounds really dry and crispy. There's not a hint of moisture left in it, and it looks perfect. Now that this botanical lake pigment is completely dry, let's go to the next lesson where I show you how to turn this into watercolor paint. 8. Turning Pigment into Paint: In this lesson, you will turn your dry pigment into beautiful, creamy watercolor paint. To do that, you will need to first grind it using a mortar and pestle. This makes a very fine powder, and it's not good to breathe in powders, even if it's made from non toxic flowers. So I did not show this in the supply lesson, but I do recommend wearing a mask during this step. Once your pigment is ground up, you will also need the watercolor binder, molar, and a molling surface. Some palette knives, paint brushes and paper to test your paint out with. And then lastly, a little dish of your choosing to store your paint in. To begin, pour your pigment into the mortar, I like to fold coffee filters in half and gently rub it together to get all the little bits of dry pigment off of it. It can be hard to grind the pigment evenly if the mortar is very full. So you may want to do this in batches. I start by pressing down on the large pieces and then grind it in a circular motion. You will want to do this until your pigment is a very fine powder and there are no large chunks of pigment remaining. If you don't want to make watercolor paint out of all of your dry pigment right away, lake pigments can be stored in this state indefinitely. I like to use these small glass bottles and they even come with cute labels and these little funnels so it's easy to get the pigment into them. I have a link to these and some of my other favorite containers in the file, under the Resources tab. I'm going to grind up the pigment on the second coffee filter, and then let's make some watercolor paint. Pour some of your pigment out onto your molding surface, and then add an equal amount of watercolor binder. I eyeball this, but you can measure each one out if you'd like. One teaspoon of pigment would get one teaspoon of binder added. Don't use all your pigment at first because you may need to add a little more later if the ratio needs to be adjusted. I did not add enough watercolor binders. I will add a little bit more now. Use a palette knife to mix the binder and the pigment together so that you can check the consistency. You want it to look like this, like a thick syrup, but not too runny. You will notice that even though the pigment was ground up as finely as possible, this is quite gritty and this is why the paint needs to be mold. Remember that the lake pigment is not water soluble. This dry powder is not dissolving in the water color binder. Rather, molding breaks it apart into teeny, teeny tiny pieces and helps spread it evenly throughout the binder. To make smooth watercolor paint, people have different styles of ling. Some like to move it in a figure eight pattern while I find it more comfortable to mole in a circular motion. Changing directions every so often, you don't need to exert a lot of pressure. The weight of the molar will do the job of pressing down on the pigments and breaking it up. It can take up to an hour of molling to create a really smooth watercolor paint. The exact time will depend on the pigment that you're using. Since each one is a little different, it is very helpful to test your water color periodically throughout this process so that you can see how the paint is developing. This is after just a few minutes of molling. You can see that the paint is very gritty. The wet paint can create a suction between the molar and the surface to lift the molar off without risking splattering your paint. Gently tip it to the side, you'll see that suction release and then you can safely lift off the molar. As the paint spreads out on your molling surface. Use a palette knife every so often to scrape it all back to the center. The paint out on the edges is not getting mold as much as that in the center. So scraping it all back ensures that your watercolor paint will be evenly mold. The second Swatch here shows the paint. After about 15 minutes of molding, you can see that there's still a lot of grittiness to it though it's much less than at the beginning. I'll make another swatch with a little less water on my brush to see what it looks like with a more saturated pigment. The color is looking beautiful, but it still needs more molding. You may find that as you mole your paint, it starts to get a little thicker and doesn't spread as easily as it did in the beginning. This is because it's such a thin layer that it can dry out a little as you mole just through evaporation. Add some more water as needed to maintain a smooth consistency. You can use a spray bottle or dropper, but I like to just use a paint brush since I always have one handy. And I use that to flick some water onto my molding surface and then use the molar to mix it in. Continue mulling and testing your paint. This is after approximately 40 minutes of ling and the paint looks really smooth and creamy. When I spread it with my palette knife, I've made a few swatches as I've been mulling. And it's time to make another because I think this may be done. This looks beautiful. It behaves just like water color. It spreads easily on the paper, and the color looks very even. Be sure to look at your sample swatches after the paint dries, because sometimes they need a little troubleshooting. This swatch shows what the paint may look like. If not enough watercolor binder is added to the pigment, the color looks okay. But when I feel it with my finger, the texture is almost like sandpaper. If your paint looks and feels like this, when it's dry, add a little more watercolor binder and mix it in thoroughly. This example has the opposite problem. It's fairly light colored because it has too much binder and not enough pigment. Another sign that is hard to capture on camera, that when I hold it at an angle under the light, some places look shiny, almost like it's still wet. And that's because of the excess binder. If your paint looks like this, add some more pigment and moll it again. When your watercolor paint looks and behaves in a way that you like, scoop it up with a palette knife and put it into a container of your choice. You can paint with it right away. You can also let it dry out completely and rewet it whenever you want to watercolor. Congratulations on making some beautiful botanical watercolor paint. I hope you love the color that you made and I would love to see a picture of it. Please snap a photo and share it in the project section so that myself and others can see the beautiful colors that you got from nature. You can join me in the next and final lesson for some final thoughts about botanical watercolor, as well as some ideas and inspiration for you to continue your nature inspired creative journey. 9. Final Thoughts: I'm so glad that you joined me in this class to discover the beauty of colors that nature has to offer and the satisfaction of making your own handmade watercolor paint. You have learned how to heat flowers to extract their beautiful color. How to add alum and soda ash to create a lake pigment that will settle to the bottom of your container and how to collect and dry it. Lastly, you've learned how to combine your dry pigment with watercolor binder to make a smooth and creamy watercolor paint. You can use your handmade botanical water color on its own to create beautiful, monochromatic paintings. There is a lot you can do with just one color. Of course, water color b***ds beautifully with other colors. You can use your botanical watercolor with any commercial water colors, or with other handmade paint from other flowers, just like any other water color. It's also fun to use your handmade paint and mixed media pieces. I may be biased with my love of nature, but I think it's so fun to use paint made from flowers with ink that's also made with natural items. And you can find my class to make botanical ink also here on skill share. Flowers are not the only natural materials that you can use to make paint. In my natural dye class, I introduce you to many natural items that dye fabric a variety of colors. Any natural dye that I cover in that class can also be used in the same way to make a lake pigment and then watercolor paint. The possibilities are nearly endless. I would love to see your watercolor paint and any art that you make with it, Even if it's a big, beautiful rectangle on a piece of paper. You can share a photo here on Skillshare in the Project section or share on Instagram and tag me in it. My username is Cedar Dell Forest Farm. If you enjoyed this class, I would love for you to leave a review so that others can know what you thought about it. And I appreciate your feedback as well. And lastly, before you go, follow me here on Skillshare so that you will be notified when I publish a new class. Thank you for joining me and Happy painting. 10. Bonus Lesson: Choosing Other Flowers: As a natural de, artist, my interest is a natural pigments that make beautiful colors and that are very color fast. Meaning their colors will last through time and use and they will not fade or change considerably. These are some of my recommendations. Fire weed is a common roadside plant that you can use to make paint. Fire weed is just about done blooming in my area. These are fairly small examples, but they grow these tall spikes of purple flowers When made into paint, they make this beautiful greenish gold color. Cosmos are one of my favorite flowers to grow in my garden. Bees love them and they are prolific bloomers. They are always just covered in these gorgeous flowers. The paint color they create is very similar to the color of their own petals, which is not always the case with flowers like you saw with the fire weed cosmos, make this gorgeous orange. This is golden rod, which is one of my very favorite plants to use for dye. It's extremely color fast and it makes a beautiful yellow color. It can have a little hint of green to it when some of the leaves are used in, with the dye bath. And if only the flowers are used, then it's a little more of a bright yellow. You can also create a beautiful olive green color with golden rod. This is done by adding a little bit of iron to the dye water and I cover that technique in my botanical ink class. This plant is Reopsis, which is also commonly called tick seed. I grow this here in my yard. It's another prolific bloomer, but you can also find it growing naturally in many areas. They come in a few different color variations. They make a gorgeous warm brown paint. I have a few flowers to show you that I do not have watercolor samples to go along with, but one is Queen Anne's lace. These dainty little flowers commonly grow along roadsides and fields. When they dry, they form these cute little shapes that look like bird nests. There are some look alike flowers. But you can identify Queen Anne's lace by this tiny dark colored flower that's usually right in the center. Queen Anne's lace flowers make yellow paint. Dahlias are some of my very favorite flowers, and they come in a whole range of colors and a variety of shapes and sizes as well. Regardless of the color of the dahlia flower, they all make a beautiful yellow paint. You may have noticed that there are a lot of flowers here that make yellow and orange dyes. Even flowers that maybe aren't themselves yellow or orange. Why is this? Flowers often contain a variety of compounds in them that make different colorings. A common category of flower pigments is called flavonoids. Flavonoids are responsible for yellow coloring and they are generally a very stable compound. The yellow pigments produced by flavonoids hold up to time and use. These are what are used for natural dyes and paint that will last. Anthocyanins are the chemicals responsible for red blues and purples. They are gorgeous colors, but not very stable. These pigments fade over time, often to dull gray colors. Does this mean you should not use them? The colors made from anthocyanins are really interesting and pretty, and I think they're fun to play with, even if I know they won't stick around. If you have red roses or purple flowers and you don't mind impermanence, go ahead and make paint from them. Just know that they will change significantly over time. So please don't sell works made with them to unassuming customers. Now go choose some beautiful flowers in your area and make some watercolor paint.