Tutorial: How to paint a watercolour dahlia

Dahlias are gorgeous flowers! Their petal details are stunning and they light up gardens in the autumn. They’re also really common flowers in a bouquet, so a great one to learn if you’re interesting in painting floral pieces or wedding bouquets.

how to paint a watercolor dahlia

What you will need

  • Some watercolour paper
  • Watercolour paints
  • A round brush, medium size
  • Water jars
  • Cloth or paper towel


  • Dioxazine Purple
  • Opera Rose
  • Sap Green

You can actually use any colours you like for this – I recommend at least one dark and one medium watercolour paint.

Painting a dahlia flower – step by step

  1. Mix up your darkest colour for the centre – for this I’m using the deep purple tone. Use two strokes to make the petal shape, leaving a little white space in the middle. Create the five petals in a star shape.
  2. Mix up a lighter tone and add another ring of petals, touching the darkest centre ones for wet-on-wet effects. Make the petals a little bigger in this ring. Add touches of your second colour – in this case I’m using pink.
  3. Add a third ring in even lighter tones, using more water. Again, make the petals bigger and longer. Allow them to touch and bleed together. Add spots of pink and purple.
  4. Add one final ring with much bigger petals. Make sure you are making these lighter and bigger, leaving rough edges for a realistic effect.
  5. Add the stem and leaves in a dark green – try adding a little purple to your green. Allow the stem and leaves to touch the wet petals. Make sure to leave white space in some leaves to mimic the petals too.

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