19, 11, 13

How to Mix Gouache

Amanda and I had so much fun last Friday taking images for the designlovefest classes we decided to make a little video, too. (Well, I can’t really take credit for this video at all – Amanda put it all together)!

I get a lot of questions about using and mixing gouache. I know it can seem a little like unknown territory, but I promise – it’s easy! This video should help guide you.

Supplies you’ll need:

  • Gouache – My favorite brand is Winsor & Newton. Don’t let the series number throw you off, I believe all of the series work really well. You’ll have more brilliant, beautiful colors in a higher series. Your primary colors are in your lower series.
  • Washi tape – to keep that ink pot from knocking over! (I like to buy my washi tape from Pretty Tape on Etsy).
  • Ink pot – you can buy them here. These are my absolutely favorite.
  • Pipette – this helps if you’d like to mix at your desk or work station. Otherwise, you can use water from the sink.
  • Glass of water – again, if you’re working away from a sink.
  • Pen and paper nearby for testing

Watch the video above for the steps of mixing gouache. You’ll squeeze out a decent amount of gouache into the pot. Around 1/4 way full. Then, fill the rest of the pot with water. Leave enough room for trouble shooting. Meaning, if your consistency is too thick, you’ll add more water and if it’s too thin, you’ll add more gouache. The water should go to about 3/4 full in the pot.

Cap off your ink pot really tight then shake it up! Unscrew the top and use the opposite end of your calligraphy pen to give it a stir. Sometimes, the gouache can goop up and you’ll want to break that up with the pen to get the consistency of ink.

Then, test out your ink! Is it writing easily? Is it too thick? Here is where you will trouble shoot and adjust your mixture. Again, if it’s too runny or thin, add more gouache. If it’s too thick and not writing easily, add more water. Once you have a nice ink-like mixture, fill up the rest of the pot with a touch more gouache and water to the top. It will be much easier to work from if the gouache is filled up to the top.

Some things to note:

If you’re working with metallics or white, you’ll need a little bit more gouache than in other colors. More pigment will help these colors be more brilliant and opaque. Also, if working with golds or other metallics, the pigment settles to the bottom quite quickly. Give your pot a shake every 5 minutes or so. Otherwise, the pretty gold sinks to the bottom and you’re left with a more copper solution at the top.

I hope you find this video helps you!

10 thoughts on “How to Mix Gouache”

  1. HOW TIMELY! I was just practicing last night, and I was thinking of buying some gouache to mix up for Thanksgiving place cards! Thank you for making it easy!

  2. Hi Lauren!

    I’ve been following you on Instagram for awhile, and I checked out your blog today. Thank you for posting both your work and helpful how-to’s like this one! I just started following you on bloglovin’ too so I don’t miss out on your posts.

    Thanks again. Happy New Year!


  3. Hello! I’m excited to start practicing calligraphy. I was wondering if you could tell me what kind of pen/nibs you use. Thanks in advance (I’m sure you get this question over and over.)

  4. Hey there!
    I have been searching for about a year for a good tutorial on mixing gouache. I haven’t been very successful on my own. Thank you so much for the beautiful, easy to follow video!

    I’m definitely going to share this.

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