How to Make A Watercolor Chart

How To Make A Watercolor Chart

Have you ever wanted a specific paint color but weren’t sure how to mix it together? Have you wasted time mixing together paints only to get colors you didn’t want? One great way to solve these issues is to create your own watercolor chart. I can honestly say I use my watercolor chart all the time. It is an amazing resource. Follow along as I show you how to make your own!

How To Make A Watercolor Chart

SUPPLIES: Below I have attached some links to what I use, but feel free to use whatever supplies you like!

To start your watercolor chart you will use a pencil and ruler to create a grid with vertical and horizontal lines. I made my chart using a 9 x 12 inch sheet of watercolor paper.

Before you begin the grid, you must decide how many individual watercolors you want to add to your chart. I chose 20 of my favorite colors. Because I used 20 colors, my grid squares were quite small. Determining the size of the squares on your watercolor chart will require a little math. Take the size of your chart and divide it by the number of watercolors you will use. For example, my chart was about 8 inches. (This did not include the space I left for the the columns labeling the colors.) I then divided 8 by 20 to find the size of each square.

I allowed a larger space along the top row and far left side row for where I would be writing out the names of the colors.

Once you have your grid drawn out, write out the name of each color along the far left side vertical column. With a few exceptions, I labeled the column in order from warm to cool colors. Then I wrote the names of the colors in the exact same order along the top horizontal column. This is similar to the X & Y axis you learned about in math class. 🙂


Begin your chart by painting the first square on the top left side. For my chart, it was pure Cadmium Yellow Light. There was no mixing for this color. It came straight from the paint tube.

Next, I went square by square mixing Cadmium Yellow Light with each color that intersected with it vertically, from the top of the paper to the bottom. For example, I mixed Cadmium Yellow Light with Hansa Yellow, and filled in the square. Then I mixed Cadmium Yellow Light with Quinacridone Gold and filled in the next square. And so on. Each time I would mix two colors together, I would fill in the square, thoroughly wash out my brush, and then move on to the next color mixing combination. Each square is about 50% paint and 50% water.

I wanted the chart to have a clean look, so I left a small space in-between each square. Patience is key 🙂

I chose to make each square richly saturated with the paint. However, if you want to see a lighter version of each color combination, you can make half of your chart less saturated. Here is an example. 

Creating a watercolor chart may seem like a waste of time, but it will actually save you time, supplies, and a lot of frustration in the long run. Plus, once you complete your watercolor chart you will not only have an awesome color reference, but a work of art too!