How To Use Gouache And Watercolor For Unique Paint Effects

Painting is a wonderful activity that can also serve as therapy. Many people go into it as a hobby, taking online painting classes for fun, while others end up taking it a step further as a way to generate income. No matter why you're doing it, one thing is the same: there's a lot of enjoyment in painting. 

Paint Effects 

One of the most fun aspects to painting is all the experimentation that can be done with it. Intention matters, but sometimes, it's just neat to dive in not knowing exactly what will come out on the other side. Aside from color, there are also other factors like texture which add to the overall experience. The limit, if any, is just how far one's imagination will go.

Read on to find out how to paint with watercolors and gouache for making unique paint effects.

Materials to Prepare:

  • Alcohol
  • Bleach
  • Clingfilm
  • Gesso
  • Salt
  • Silicone
  • Thread

The final product of your painting adventure will depend on the material(s) you choose to work with. In this case, let's go with effects that are based on a water mix. As the name suggests, it's gouache and watercolor mixed with water—nothing fancy or special. You can use tap water without any issue.

Bleach: There are two ways to use this substance for painting-watered down, or as is. It's quite versatile and can be used on dry or wet paint. Color is lost with higher bleach concentration. 

Cling Film: The name for this particular item tends to vary across the globe. Other names include saran wrap and cling wrap. No matter what it's called for you, it's all the same when used for paint effects. Place a strip of it right on top of wet paint that was just laid out. Move it around until you like what you see underneath. Remove it only when the paint has dried.

Salt: This is an excellent way to get a more 2D texture. Sprinkle some onto watercolor while it's still wet, then wait for that to dry. Avoid the usual table salt (because it doesn't tend to work well for this) and look into the likes of flaked salt and rock salt.

Water + Alcohol: The term 'alcohol' in this case applies to either rubbing alcohol or liquor such as vodka. Place the alcohol of your choice in the water mix. It will lead paint to not spread at all.

Water + Bleach: Place bleach in the water mix. There is room to experiment with just how much bleach is used here. The resulting colors tend to feather at the edges and come with a softness.

Water + Salt: Place salt in the water mix. Make sure it's dissolved by stirring the water until the salt has dissolved. It will allow the paint to become granular and spread out more.


Painting is an incredibly fun activity that can also be therapeutic. There are many mediums to choose from, but two of the more popular paints are gouache and watercolor. They're great for creating unique paint effects, especially when combined with elements such as salt, bleach, and alcohol.

In need of helpful oil painting tips? Learn more through the secrets of becoming a true artist by E. John Robinson! Purchase his instructional oil painting lessons today!

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