How to Paint a Watercolor Disco Ball

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Learn how to paint a watercolor disco ball. This fun painting looks difficult, but it’s actually easier than you think. This step-by-step tutorial breaks it down into simple steps so that you can paint your own disco ball painting.

If you’re new to watercolors, be sure to check out these other watercolor posts.

teal watercolor disco ball painted with watercolors

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After seeing a million disco balls painted with acrylics, I decided to paint one in watercolor and share my process.

It looks intimidating because there are so many details, but it’s pretty easy. I find the process really relaxing and addicting. I’ve painted four so far!

Painting a disco ball can take several hours. So put on a podcast or audiobook and enjoy yourself.

A Few Words of Encouragement

If you’re new to watercolors, it’s easy to feel discouraged. Remember that the beauty in watercolor is the imperfections. Just take your time and enjoy the process. You can do this!

Disco Ball Basics

I love taking complex subjects and simplifying them. And a disco ball is pretty complex. Except, it’s really easy to simplify. It’s a shiny ball filled with a grid of squares.

The light parts are where the light is shining. All of the other areas are dark. The parts where those areas meet are mid-tones.

For the sake of simplicity, we’re using this basic shape as our guide. We don’t want it too perfect, though. Have some random spots for the best results.

disco ball template

Download the template at the end of this post.

Color Choices

It’s best to choose a main color and a few accent colors. I chose teal as the main color for my disco ball and used pink and lime green as accent colors. The accent colors represent random stuff that is being reflected.

I also used a few blue and lavender colors to bridge the gap between the teal and the pink.

Once you choose your main color, ensure you can mix various colors in that shade. You need darks, light, and midtones.

watercolor paint swatches

The more colors, the better. This is where a large paint stash comes in handy. Mix your colors if you don’t have a large paint stash. If you have colors that granulate, these colors make really beautiful mixes.

How to Paint a Watercolor Disco Ball

Supplies Needed:

  • Watercolor Paper
  • Watercolor Paints in the colors described above
  • Pencil ( I like these pencils because it blends in and doesn’t smudge)
  • Kneaded Eraser – This eraser won’t damage the paper or paint
  • A bowl to trace (or a compass)
  • Watercolor round brushes (I used a size 6 for the base coat, a size 2 for filling in the squares, and a size 00 for the details)
  • Mixing Palettes (I like to use these dishes to mix large amounts of paint)

Normally, I’m a big fan of using what you have, but I recommend using a tiny brush for the details. Larger brushes look sloppy, and you won’t be as happy with the details. Trust me, use the 00 or even the 000 brush!

Getting Started

My photos show two different paintings in progress. The process is the same and so is the outcome. But the base color is different in each one.

  1. Use your pencil to trace a circle in the center of the paper. I used a bowl. Use a color that blends with the background color. Draw lightly so that a harsh pencil line isn’t visible.
  2. Mix up a large amount of the diluted color you chose for your main color. This base layer needs to be very pale. light blue painted circle
  3. Paint the circle and let it dry completely.
  4. When the paint is completely dry, draw gentle arcs on the circle using the pencil. The rows in the center should be a bit thicker and get smaller as they get close to the top and bottom. circle with arcs drawn on it
  5. Add the vertical lines to create the squares. Try to stagger the squares as you go. This looks more interesting. drawing lines on a circle for a disco ball
  6. It’s okay if they are slightly different sizes.
  7. The edges should be very small and angled.

Painting the Mirror Squares

  1. Start painting the darker colors.disco ball painting in progress
  2. Paint one square at a time, skipping around.
  3. Try to spread your colors around in the dark areas. The colors should be dark but still have a nice amount of water mixed in. We’re not going for opaque.
  4. Continue filling in the dark areas, staggering the edges a bit.teal disco ball painting in progress
  5. Leave a few spots unpainted.
  6. I like the edges to be painted in both dark and medium colors.
  7. When you have most of the dark area painted, add your accent color to the unpainted areas and a few others. These are accents, so don’t go overboard. I wouldn’t add more than 5 or 6. disco ball painting in progress
  8. Paint a few spots with a color that bridges the two. For my disco ball, I used blues and lavenders.
  9. Paint some squares with a midtone of your main color.
  10. Use the diluted paint that you used for the background to paint the lightest area. (You will probably need to add more water at this point.) disco ball painting in watercolor
  11. Try to vary the tone a bit.
  12. Finish painting any unpainted squares.

Painting the Final Details

  1. Let the paint dry completely.
  2. Make sure that your painting is facing the right way. (I painted one with upside-down shadows, and I was very upset.)
  3. Choose your shadow color. I chose to use a darker version of the colors I used, so I used a dark teal and a purple (for the pinks and lavenders.)
  4. Use the tiny paintbrush and start painting lines on the bottom and one side of your painting. If you followed my guide, the shadows should be on the left side. painting shadow lines on disco ball painting
  5. Work on one side at a time. You can move your paper as needed to get better access to areas. Just be careful not to touch wet paint. disco ball painting
  6. When it’s done, you can leave it as is, or you can add a background.
  7. If you add a background, tape the edges. The areas near the disco ball are painted lighter with darker edges to make the disco ball look like it’s glowing.watercolor painting of disco ball in progress
  8. Use a kneaded eraser to erase any stray pencil marks.
teal watercolor disco ball painting
Painting 1
disco ball painting with purple background
painting of disco ball

Download a Disco Ball Template

These downloads are for personal use only. Please do not redistribute or sell.

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Disco Ball Painting Template

Other Watercolor Painting Tutorials

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teal disco ball painted with watercolor

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