Watercolor Painted Wall

Amanda C, Hometalk Team
by Amanda C, Hometalk Team
5 Materials
3 Hours
I have been wanting to do an interesting wall paint treatment for a long time, and I like the many options and variations you can get by making your walls look like they are water-colored. I decided to do this for my in-laws kitchen, since they wanted orange accents but didn't want an entirely orange wall. I also added this to my tiny hallway walls in shades of blue. All you need is some paint and water and some good cleaning supplies, cause this can get quite messy!

-A colored paint in various shades of the same color (I got small cans, but truly you only need the samples they sell, which for a limited time are $0.99 at Lowe's!)

-A cup or small container to mix paint in

-Several 2" paintbrushes

-White paint

-A spray bottle (not pictured)

STEP 1: Mix Your Paint

First, you will mix your colored paint, white paint, and a bit of water. The ratio I started with was about 1/4 cup colored paint, 1/2 cup white paint, and 1/8 cup water.

Mix it well.
STEP 2: Paint Some Circles

Paint various sized circles sporadically throughout the wall with the mixture you made in step 1.

Make sure your paint isn't too drippy and doesn't run down the wall, but also not too thick so it's easy to swirl in a circle shape.
At this point your wall should look something like this. If you want, you can make them closer together or further apart. It really depends on what sort of space you are looking to cover and if you want it to burst out or be more of a block print.
STEP 3: Mix More Paint

Once you have painted your first mixture circles you will move on to mix a new ratio of paint, to white paint, to water. For the next shade, mix 1 part colored paint, 6 parts white paint, and 1 part water. This will be a much lighter concoction than the mixture in step 1.

You will paint circles somewhat overlapping the circles you painted in step 2.

Also mix your darker colored paint in the same ratio and paint circles sporadically overlapping the circles already painted.
STEP 4: Mix Even More Paint

Now make another mixture that is even lighter than the last and paint circles again overlapping the circles you have already created.
STEP 5: Paint Over Each Circle With a White Mixture

This step may seem a bit strange, but it will help to fade out the colors and give it a true watercolor feel.

For this part you will mix 1 part water to 1 part white paint. It should be very light and thinner than the mixtures you made previously. It will look kind of like thick milk.

You will paint over each of the circles you already created with the white/water mixture.

Take a step back and you will already see the spots beginning to get that "fuzzy" watercolor look.
STEP 6: Fill in the Spaces

Now add a touch of colored paint to the white/water mixture from step 4 and paint it in the empty spaces that are left on the wall. These should be very light and serve as more of a filler.

STEP 7: Spray Water Over Your Painting

Now grab your spray bottle of water and spritz water over all of your painted circles. This will create a bit of a mess as the dripping paint/water mixture will puddle a bit, so if you need to tape any borders or cover carpet you should be sure to do that before spraying the wall.
Now all you have to do is let it dry!
We put a shelf up and it served as a nice burst of color in the background!
This is just one of the ways that you can make it look like watercolors. Below is an example of how to make a line version. You can also make a burst version. Just kind of have fun with it!
I know I mentioned supplies above, but for the circle treatment I bought too much paint. These are the sample sized paints I was talking about, which was plenty for a small space. If you are covering a large space, you will probably need the larger cans as were used in the circle version.
STEP 1.2: Make a Line Pattern

Another option is to do a line treatment. For this you will be painting lines on the wall in various colors. You do not need to mix water in with your paint for this version, but you could if you want. To start, I mixed my light blue with some white paint to make it a very light shade of blue.

Once you get the shade of your choice simply paint a line all across the wall.

Before the paint dries spray water on it using a spray bottle that has a mist setting. Spray plenty of water until the paint starts dripping down the wall.

Then I made another mixture that was a slightly darker shade of blue and painted line directly beneath this first line and sprayed it with water as well.

Continue this pattern, getting darker and darker, until you reach the bottom of the wall. (I used 3 different colors of paint and mixed various amounts of white to create all sorts of gradients in between each shade of blue.)
Now my hallway looks like an underwater oasis. You can do this with any color though. A nice gray would be lovely!
Now all I have to do is paint all my doorways and borders! Obviously an old apartment that needs some TLC.
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Frequently asked questions
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3 of 15 questions
  • Alice Alice on Dec 12, 2017

    I have the same thoughts as some of the questions already posted. If you start at the top of the wall and make your drips before adding the next color won't the new color cover up the lighter drips so you end up with just stripes?

  • Barb in Texas Barb in Texas on Dec 12, 2017

    Interesting paint techniques, but I especially love your semi-round fish bowl. I used to have one of those, and have been looking for a replacement for a long time now.

  • Patty Patty on Dec 13, 2017

    It doesn't look like the paint goes all the way to the ceiling. Is that right? I love the look you created.

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2 of 98 comments
  • Julie Endlich Julie Endlich on Nov 05, 2022

    I love the circle idea. Now trying to determine where to do it in my place!!

  • Pam Pam on Nov 16, 2022

    I love this, but I don't trust myself to tackle it. It's beautiful. I love orange accents in a home.