Make: Paint Potions – A Kids Process Art Exploration

Double, double, toil, and trouble…bubble, sparkle, fizz, and blob! Set up your own paint potions mini art lab, then make your own 2D potion compositions with this project that packs a mad process art punch!

Paint Potions Kids Process Art Lab and Project

I consider our paint potion exploration a two-part project and you can stick to part one, try both pieces, or come up with your own clever variations – once you begin playing with the possibilities it’s *truly* difficult to stop.

Our paint potions art lab station setup

Part one is all about encouraging kids to experiment with the different supplies to create their own magic paint “potions”.

Press play on the video to see our paint potions in action…

Part two is a great way to expand on the project (especially for older kids) and present an invitation for children to design their own paper potion bottles (using the painted papers from step one) as well as put together a two-dimensional potion composition.

Our paint potions art lab station setup

For the little mad scientists in your life who love pouring, mixing, and following their curiosity, this invitation is sure to be a hit. And even though it’s perfectly suited to October and Halloween, it is outrageously entertaining whatever the season.

Looking for more kids’ process art ideas to try out? Our artist-inspired process art play tiles, scrap wood sculptures, or hammered flower prints are wonderful projects to explore!

To make your own paint potions art lab you’ll need:

Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains Woodpeckers Crafts, Etsy, Blick Art Materials, and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*




  • Dish soap
  • Straws or a bubble wand


  • Table, rock, or ice cream salt


  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda


  • Cooking Oil

How to Make Paint Potions Art Lab – DIY Instructions:

  1. Fill a tray with your various potion painting supplies

    Gather your potion supplies and set them up on a tray, tabletop, or similar dedicated area.
    our paint potions lab tray
    Our potions lab is really the MOST fun when everyone can go a little crazy and embrace the messiness of it, so make sure you’re working in an area you can easily clean up afterward.

  2. Lay a piece of watercolor paper on a tray

    Grab another tray, an old cookie sheet, or something similar with low sides. Having that bit of a lip is important as it will help to catch any drips or fizz, salt sprinkles, or other potion ingredients that may stray beyond the paper.

  3. Start experimenting with your potion supplies!

    You can watch the process video above, scroll down to see the paint potion recipes we used, OR come up with your own!

    You can also try mixing more than one of the potions together or try them ALL on the same piece of paper. Add empty bowls or bottles to your lab space so ingredients can be mixed together before they hit the paper.

  4. Trace a potion bottle shape over the art and cut out

    Here’s where we start Part Two – our 2D potion collages. Draw a potion bottle shape or use one of our potion bottle templates to trace the shape of a bottle onto your (fully dry) artwork. our potion bottle template sitting on our paint potion art

  5. Design your own potion label

    No magic potion would be complete without a fun name and cool label – come up with a great name or description for your potion and paste it onto your potion bottle art with a glue stick.
    putting a label on our potion bottle art
    You can use our potion label templates or draw/cut out your own label shapes.

  6. Create a composition with your painted potion bottles

    Once finished you can arrange your potion bottles on a piece of paper, then use a glue stick to glue your composition down.

We’ve done it again, Igor! The ultimate experiment….mwuhahahaha!

our paint potion process art kids project

Paint Potion Recipes and Processes

A little intro describing the various options…

How to Make a Fizz Painting Potion

fizzy painting process art

Baking soda and vinegar are often used to demonstrate erupting volcanos (or fizzing pumpkins, this time of year) but you can get the same reaction on paper and turn it into art!

How to Make a Blob Painting Potion

oil painting process art

The blob painting potion and process is my personal favorite! Drizzle oil onto paper and wash with watercolors for an AMAZING effect…!

How to Make a Sparkle Painting Potion

salt painting process art

Salt is the secret to our sparkle painting potion. Typically, artists brush watercolors onto paper first and then sprinkle them with salt for a fun effect, but our potions lab is all about breaking the rules!

Try sprinkling salt on the paper then using an eyedropper to add watercolors over top. What happens?

We used table salt and ice cream salt for our sparkle paintings – experiment with any types you have around the house. Our ice cream salt left shimmery, iridescent outlines when we let it sit with the watercolors for a while, which was a very exciting discovery!

How to Make a Bubble Painting Potion

bubble painting process art

Mix about a tablespoon (or a few squeezes) of dish soap with a quarter cup of liquid watercolors or dyed water.

our paint potion process art kids project

ALL of these ideas are with our free printable kids’ art challenge for an epic exploration of art mediums!

*A note about affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Blick Art Materials, Amazon, Etsy, or Woodpeckers Crafts. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click through to make a purchase we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!

Amanda Eldridge
Amanda Eldridge

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help kids and families discover their creative potential through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. Amanda has a background in graphic design, environmental design, and art curation. When not playing with ideas and designs for barley & birch, she enjoys working in freelance design, art, and illustration.


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One comment

  1. This is one of the most inviting, exciting, creative projects of the hundreds I have reviewed developed, filmed, and narrated by Amanda at her Barley and Birch Company!

    It was great fun just reading through the process; viewing and following the easy step-by-step directions; seeing beautiful, professional-grade paintings as final projects; and having everything needed — and extras! — included in this online package.

    I would love to have framed examples to hang on my walls.

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