How to Erase Watercolor

When it comes to making mistakes with watercolor painting, it can feel like the work is completely ruined. Well, you may be glad to hear that there are several ways that you can erase watercolor and start over so that any mistakes can be reverted. 

This post covers the best ways to eraser watercolor paint based on how dry or wet it is. 

Erasing Wet Watercolor Painting

If you’ve made a mistake and the watercolor is still wet, you can salvage it quickly and easily. 

  • Grab a clean cloth or tissue paper and lightly press on the area where you’ve made the mistake.
  • If you do this quickly enough, the wet paint will absorb into the cloth rather than into the page. 
  • There may still be faint watercolor marks on the area. However, these can usually be covered up easily by using other colors. 
  • This method only works if you absorb the watercolor paint as soon as possible. So, it’s worth keeping a cloth or a paper towel nearby. 

Erasing Watercolor Paint That Isn’t Completely Dry

If the paint has soaked into the page a little more but hasn’t completely dried, you’ll need to simply let it dry completely. 

This in-between stage of drying makes it difficult to simply try and soak up the paint with a cloth. Too much of it has already seeped into the page. Therefore, it’s best to let it completely dry and prevent it from smudging. 

Once it has dried, you can follow the tips below.

Erasing Dry Watercolor Paintings

When watercolor has dried, you can use water to make it wet again. However, it’s best to avoid this method if you’re using oil-based paint or acrylic paint as it’s mostly ineffective.

  • Use a clean brush and dip it into some clean water.
  • Squeeze out any excess water to prevent it from soaking and spreading on the rest of the page.
  • Gently brush over the area that you want to erase. 
  • The water will reactive the paint by making it wet. 
  • You can then use a cloth to soak up the wet paint. 
  • Try your best to blot the area instead of scrubbing it as it can cause the paint to smudge. 
  • It’s also best to start with less water than you think you need. You can always dip the brush back into the water to make the paint wetter if it isn’t soaking up into the cloth. 
  • Too much water on the top layer surface can wash out the watercolors.

Also read: Watercolor Markers How to Use


So, that wraps up our post on how to erase watercolor paints quickly and easily. Be sure to follow the steps mentioned above to erase mistakes without smudging or ruining the rest of the page.

Hopefully, the details found throughout this post have been useful in helping you to erase mistakes in your watercolor art. 


Can you use a Magic Eraser on watercolor paper?

Yes, the Frisk Magic Watercolor Sponge Dipped Eraser can be used to remove a stain from your painted page. You can apply the damp sponge directly to the page, making sure to squeeze out the excess beforehand.

Can you use baking soda with watercolor paint?

Baking soda can’t be used to remove a watercolor stain from paper. However, you can combine baking soda with watercolors to create tempera painting effect.

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Written By Adam Rushton

Adam has made a name for himself in the illustration industry and is a passionate blogger and writer on the subject of art, illustration and graphic design.

His artwork has been featured in countless publications and used for very well-known media projects. As a professional illustrator for over 20 years, Adams media outlets, a wealth of knowledge, and experience enable him to consult and advise artists and illustrators in this country (from York and Manchester to Southampton and London) and all over the world.