Beginner Agate Tutorial

If you’ve been on Instagram in the past year, you’ve probably seen agates. They are those gorgeous stones with swirls of different colors. It’s really popular for calligraphers to write names on them for place cards.

In this little tutorial I will show you how to watercolor a simple agate. I tried to make this tutorial as approachable as possible, so even if you are a beginner you should feel confident in watercoloring these little guys!

First, let’s chat about supplies. You will need a palette of different watercolors, watercolor paper, brush, and most importantly SALT. Salt? Yes, salt. We will use it to create texture in our agate.

Step 1, create a blob shape of any color of your choosing. Make sure that you blob is pretty transparent, We will continue to add paint on top of this and if you first layer is too opaque the rest of your layers will be hard to see. You want to make sure that this layer is wet, but not full of puddles for the next step.

Step 2, your paint brush with a more opaque version of the color that you put down in the first layer and dab this around the outside of your first layer. If your first layer is still damp, it should bleed a bit towards the center. If it simply just bleeds all over, your first layer may be a little too wet. To fix this you can blend out the color you just added and wait for the first layer to dry a bit more.

Step 3, once this layer is completely dry, add a second transparent layer of a different shade or color to the inside of your first layer.

Step 4, add more opaque color to the outside of your second layer, just like the first layer!

Step 5, continue this technique again for a third layer. You can create as many layers as you like. My agates were pretty small and I can become a little inpatient with letting the layers dry, so three layers was perfect for me!

Step 6, my favorite step! Add salt to your third layer while it is still wet. I’ve found that if you add salt, wait a bit for it to dry, and then add a little more salt, you can create some really cool textures. The salt absorbs some of the surround paint/water, which creates areas of more and less dense paint.

Once your paint is totally dry, you can wipe off the salt to reveal your final agate painting! Comment below if you have any suggestions or experiences painting agates! Happy creating!

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