Homemade Finger Paints

On one of my Pinterest boards I have this recipe from Raising 4 Princesses. Given Eli’s recent interest in painting it seemed like the perfect time to give it a try. After being disappointed by the set of natural food colors I went ahead and picked up a pack of conventional food colors for this project. There are other interesting finger paint recipes out there, but I wanted one that while still non-toxic would definitely not taste good as I don’t go to great lengths reading every label known to man only to serve up a heaping dose of artificial coloring to Eli in the tempting form of delicious art supplies.

With no further ado, here we go. You won’t believe how crazy quick and easy this is!


2 T. sugar

1/3 c cornstarch

2 c. water

Boil until it forms a gel. It doesn’t take long at all. It will look like this (except it will still be in your pan.)

Add 1/4 c. liquid soap

Not only does it now taste bad but it is washable too!

Divide into separate containers. Add a few squirts of food coloring.

After this test I did add a little more dye to the green paint.

Stir, et viola… cheap, easy and washable finger paint!

If you click through on the link to my source for this recipe you will see that she let her kids go crazy with this stuff outdoors all over a bed sheet. Amazingly, she found that it all washed off afterwards with a hose!

Before giving this a go I decided to do a test on the dishtowel I’d already splattered a bit while making the paint. (Adult sounding excuse… but really I couldn’t keep my own fingers out of it. This stuff just begs to be smeared!)

After washing the paint off the towel under the tap I was still left with a pink stain. Perhaps with a stain treatment and a proper laundering this will come out. Even so I added a bit more soap to the container of red paint. Red is the one you’d want to taste particularly bad anyway! (If only I had some essential oil of something Eli would find truly revolting, like lettuce, avocado or cantaloup… but actually I don’t have much of a problem with him putting non-food items in his mouth anymore.)

The first time I let Eli have a go with these paints he didn’t want to touch them at all and practically had a meltdown demanding a brush. I gave him the brush , of course, as I certainly don’t want painting to become some form of chore or torture, but it really did defeat the purpose of it becoming a sensory ¬†activity. I have noticed a growing sensitivity to having messy hands with Eli. To address this I will be bringing more of these gloppy sorts of activities into his sensory diet.

So Mama got to scheming… A few days later I asked Eli if he would like to go outside, and paint, with his FEET! The suggestion was greeted with a “Yay!” by a toddler who had never before been in such a hurry to change his clothes.

I decided to just use a large sheet of paper instead of trying out the bed sheet painting activity. I was just not in the mood to create more laundry today.

As our sidewalk is on a bit of an incline and the paint is somewhat slippery I think doing foot painting on a textured piece of cloth may be a bit safer.

After a while a nervous Mama suggested he squat down and try using his hands. By now he didn’t think twice about not wanting to touch the paint, although he did then keep asking me to wipe his hands off. I just showed him how to try to wipe it off himself using the paper. We made some progress with his tolerating the feeling of the paint on his hands, but he soon decided he was done.

Clean up is always great fun when it involves a hose, especially when there are bubbles involved!