6 Amazing Watercolor Techniques to Step Up Your Game

Spruce up your watercolor paintings with these simple yet effective and easy to do techniques.

Watercolor paintings are some of the most beautiful pieces, they carry an element of delicacy and sophistication that makes them well loved. 

It’s no wonder many artists have tried to master this method, and add their own spin to it as it’s such a flexible medium.

With watercolor paint you’re able to push the boundaries a bit, you have the options to add other things to it like household supplies, you can layer it and build up on it and so much more!

So if you’re looking to ‘up’ your watercolor game and begin to add all those fancy textures and styles to your work… here are 6 techniques you should try.

Before getting started you will need to draw six circles on a nice sheet of watercolor paper.


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As a recommendation, when you lay down color, you always want to ensure you do a wet wash with water first. That entails getting the area where the paint will be applied nice and wet beforehand. 

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Wetting the area where the paint will be applied allows it to spread with more ease, and create a nice moderately saturated area to work on.


Let's get into it!

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1. Table salt 

So the first technique you want to try involves adding table salt to your paint. In your hand, pour a generous amount of salt and pinch and sprinkle the salt in your watercolor, while it’s still wet. You will need to allow some of the techniques to dry before being able to see clearly, the effects that have been created. 

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When it’s completed you’ll notice that the salt has oxidized and creates an interesting texture. All you have to do is brush away the loose salt granules to reveal it all. 


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2. Masking fluid

For the next technique you’re going to apply a clear or blue masking fluid to your paper. What you want to do is pump the tip of your masking fluid pen to get the fluid flowing.

You can create a galaxy like design with this by drawing little stars, dots and lines with small bursts.

Once you’re through adding the masking fluid, allow it to dry before applying any watercolor over it, while it’s still wet.

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When the masking fluid is somewhat dried you can go back in and add a variety of colors like pinks, purples and blues to complete that galaxy like effect.

You can start by layering the pink in a few areas first, then add some purple over the pink, and then blue over both. This will create random ‘peek-a-boo’ colors through the predominantly dark colors used to depict a galaxy .

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Once dried, just simply remove the masking fluid by rubbing it with a firm pressure. This will allow the masking fluid to ball up like Elmer's glue would, exposing the white of the paper.


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3. Plastic wrap

This technique involves the use of a plastic wrap. As a reminder, before applying paint to the paper, add water to the surface to get it saturated.

You’ll then need to get a piece of plastic wrap from your kitchen and scrunch it up a little, take the scrunched up paper and rest it on the wet watercolor. You can scrunch up the plastic wrap a bit more while it’s resting on the paint and then leave it to dry, with the paper wrap still in place.

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Once it’s dried you can remove the plastic wrap to reveal what looks like a kind of crystallized effect, that’s really cool. 


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4. Vegetable oil

For this technique all you need is a bit of vegetable oil or any oil from your kitchen. Now we all know that oil and water do not mix, so with this method there will be some resistance. 

What you want to do is pour a little of the oil in the cap of the bottle, dip the q-tip in the cap and then place the q-tip onto the watercolor in isolated areas. 

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You can do a lot or just a little depending on what look you’re trying to achieve, and let it dry.


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5. Water drops

In this technique you’re going to be adding different colored water droplets to the paper. Before getting started, get your paper ready by making sure it’s saturated with water and apply your pigment. 

To create these colored water droplets, you’ll use a small or medium paint brush to pick up a color and then set it on the wet area where the color will bleed. The colors will eventually merge and bleed into each other so there’s no blending involved. This will create a really beautiful effect which can be used in many pieces.

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You can also add pigment to the centers of these drops, as they fade in color and are not as bright as how they started out.



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6. Splatter effect

To get the splatter effect, and to ensure it has an even texture without any globs… you want to ensure that your brush is nice and wet, with a lot of pigment and water in it. Next you want to hold it above the area that you want the splatter to be on, and just tap the top of the brush. 

As long as your brush is saturated with water and paint, it’s super easy. If you want it to look even more realistic, you can add white to the mix, to bring it to life.

As a recommendation, to protect the other techniques from splashes, make sure they are dried and then simply use a bit of paper to cover them up.

And there you have it! 6 techniques everyone looking to explore with watercolor paints should explore. You should also create your own techniques as you’d be amazed at some of the styles and textures you can create.

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