How To Create Scratch and Sniff Watercolor Paint

Remember the fun of scratch-and-sniff stickers? Just think of how much fun your preschool or grade-school age children could have by creating their own artwork that is scratch-and-sniff!

With just a few inexpensive items and a few simple steps, you can make scratch-and-sniff watercolor paint for your children. This activity is not only fun — and perfect for those cold and rainy days when your children are cooped up indoors — but also educational because it can help them learn about the colors.

 To make the scratch-and-sniff watercolors, you’ll need:

  • A variety of unsweetened drink mix such as Kool-Aid. The color of the drink mix will be the color of the paint, so try to have at least the basic colors: red, yellow, blue, green, orange and purple.
  • Warm water.
  • Muffin tins, baby food jars or small cups.

Other items you’ll need:

  • Paintbrushes.
  • Several blank sheets of paper. (Note: Major arts and craft stores and some discount retailers sell paper specially made for watercolors. It is thicker, and therefore less likely to pucker and curl when wet. If you don’t have time to shop or this isn’t in your budget, don’t worry, any unlined paper will work just fine.)
  • Old newspaper or a plastic tablecloth.
  • A smock or old clothing for your child.
  • A small cup or baby food jar filled about halfway with water.
  • Paper towel or dry cloth or rag.


Step 1.
Place the newspaper or tablecloth on the table to protect it from spills.

Step 2.
Put a tablespoon of drink mix and a tablespoon of warm water into a muffin tin, baby food jar or small cup, and stir the paint well. Repeat, using a different drink mix each time until your child has a handful of colors available.

Step 3.
Dress your child in the old clothing, or cover his or her clothes with a smock.

Step 4.
Now it is time to paint! Dab the paintbrush into the scratch-and-sniff watercolors then tap the brush on the rim of the container to shake off the excess. Brush the paint onto a blank sheet of paper.

Step 5.
Before using a different hue of watercolor, dip the paintbrush into the small cup of water and swish it a little. Pat the brush on the paper towel or dry cloth to get rid of excess water. This step will help to keep the scratch-and-sniff watercolors from mixing and losing their color.

Step 6.
Allow the paint to dry overnight before scratching and sniffing.

Most children will have no shortage of ideas on what to paint, but if your children do become stumped, some ideas you might suggest include painting pictures of the family, a pet, a friend, what they want to be when they grow up, a hide-out or a character in a favorite story. You could also make this activity even more educational by teaching them to paint numbers, the alphabet or their name.


Share this article!

Follow us!

Find more helpful articles: