How to Watercolor: Textures

Welcome to the second week of my How to Watercolor Series!  I hope you are all having fun with this so far...... I know I am!

Watercolor Textures

One of the funnest parts of watercoloring is creating textures!  I really really love to just play around with these.  There are so many possibilities.  Adding texture really adds interest and personality to a painting.  

Watercolor Textures

 I've made a tutorial for you to try out 8 different textures, but do not feel limited by these.  Go ahead and try anything you can think of.  You can combine methods or use kitchen utensils to get some really cool textures.

Watercolor Textures Tutorial

Large sheet of watercolor paper
Masking Tape
Watercolor Paints
Epsom Salts- if you don't have any on hand you can even use rock salt or table salt
Plastic Wrap

Set-Up:  Use masking tape to create 8 equal sections on a large sheet of watercolor paper.  Also tape the paper down to a table or drawing board. You'll be trying out a different method for creating texture in each space- so at the end you will have tried 8 different textures.

Watercolor Textures Chart

Load up some paint on your brush and hold it close to your paper.  Use a finger to quickly lift up the bristles of the brush a little at a time.  This quick motion flicks the paint all over the paper and creates a spattering or spraying effect.   Pretty cool!

Watercolor Splattering

For this method you'll want to load up a lot of paint and a lot of water on your brush.  Then you can hold your brush directly over your paper and let the paint drip from your brush down onto the paper.  You can even tilt the paper in different directions while the paint is still wet.   It's fun to watch it run.

Watercolor Paint Drips
Watercolor Textures Chart

Brush on a quick and fairly wet wash of paint.  Immediately sprinkle epsom, table, or rock salts on top and let it dry.  Once the paint is dry you can scrape off the salt.  I love the texture this creates.  The salt soaks up water leaving cool little dots all over.

Salt on Watercolor Texture

Plastic Wrap:
Brush on a wash of paint and place a piece of wrinkled plastic wrap on top.  Press down with your fingers and let dry.  This will create shapes wherever the plastic wrap is touching the paper.

Watercolor Plastic Wrap Texture
Watercolor Textures Chart

Water Dripping:
Paint on a wash of watercolor and then with a clean brush, drip spots of water onto the wash.  The water washes back into the paint creating what artists call a backwash.

watercolor paint backwash

Lay a wash of paint down on paper and scrape through it with a fork or butter knife.  This will create lines in the soft paper allowing the paint to collect in the indentations.

(A word of caution on this one- Please only use an old fork or knife that will not be used for eating with later.  Watercolor paints can have toxins in their pigments- so designate this utensil only for painting with, not eating, after this project.)

watercolor texture fork scraping
Watercolor Textures Chart

Dip a clean sponge in some wet paint and dab it onto the paper.  You can play with layering several colors this way.

watercolor sponge texture

Apply wet paint to a stamp with a brush and press the stamp onto the paper. You can mix colors and layer with this method. It's really fun!

watercolor stamp texture
Watercolor Textures Chart

Leave the tape on the paper until the paint is dry and then gently pull it off.  You are done!  You can label each texture technique with a pen if desired.

Watercolor Textures
Watercolor Textures Chart


  1. Very cool post and an amazing tutorial. I'll be giving these techniques a try. I love tutorials and learning new things and you do them so very well :)
    Thank you.
    Your blogging sister, Connie :)

  2. I love this exercise - I will definitely do it with my four-year-old

  3. Thank you! This is very simple and easy-to-follow. Great for art journal backgrounds. :)

    It never occurred to me to use rubber stamps with watercolors. Ink, markers, even acrylics, but never watercolors. I'm looking forward to trying that one, especially!

  4. at least wash your fork

    1. I know my fork looks dirty in this photo and that is because it is my designated "art fork". It has dried paint on it from previous projects. I wouldn't use a normal fork that I was going to eat off of later for painting. Watercolor paints can have some toxins in the pigments, so thanks for pointing that out for me!

  5. Thank you for sharing! Been a long time since I last played with watercolours. I'll have a go using your techniques and see where my creativity takes me.

  6. Wow!!! Thank you soooo much for this great blog post.


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