I had bought poster/water colours a year ago (because of the persuasion of our school) but never had an opportunity to use it, because my previous box of colours were what I used during the whole academic year. Now that I have free time in my hand, I want to paint some drawings I drew in my free time, and those I am currently drawing. However my paint bottles have dried up over the year. Now I don't want to simply throw away the completely filled bottles just like that.

Is there a way to recover those colours? I don't think addition of water alone would essentially help, because I had tried that when I was young with some other colour bottle, but it just made it extra watery and the vividness of the colours were lost.

  • H Dhanishtha, Welcome to Lifehacks. You stand a much better chance finding a workable answer at another StackExchange group such as graphicdesign.stackexchange.com or crafts.stackexchange.com. Even then, it depends on the pigment, the additives, and the kind of liquid. It could be tempera, gouache, etc. Each is different.
    – Stan
    Nov 21 '20 at 17:36
  • @Stan Hello Stan. Thank you. But I think Graphic design site is more technology oriented rather than hand-crafted things, I am not sure though. Crafts.SE looks like a usable link. I might as well try my luck there.
    – Dhanishtha
    Nov 21 '20 at 17:39
  • I hang out at Graphic Design and there are many there who still use conventional material for the effect they prefer for their style.
    – Stan
    Nov 21 '20 at 17:44
  • This is very much going to depend on what type of paints they are. if they're acrylics, for instance, there's nothing you can do to recover them; they don't so much 'dry' as 'cure', which is irreversible..
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 30 '20 at 12:47

Start over. There's no short-cut.

Remove the dried-up colourants and grind the stuff to as fine a powder as you can.

Add the powder to the bottles. Add water, drop-by-drop mixing the powder to a paste, then to a liquid as thick as you wish according to the type of effect you strive for.

The same procedure is true if you have water colours in a tube but the tube will be destroyed removing the contents. You can get replacement tubes of tin from art supply stores with open ends that are sealed by crimping with a pair of pliers.

Good luck.

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