Enjoy two activities in one! Making finger paints is a fun and easy indoor activity, while playing with them is a super (and sometimes messy) creative outdoor activity! And, even better, this DIY recipe for kid-safe paint doesn’t contain dangerous solvents that give off VOCs or other questionable ingredients.
Ingredients & Materials
- ⅓ cups cornstarch
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 cups cold water (or less for a thicker consistency)
- ¼ cup Honest Dish Soap or 1/3 cup natural soap flakes (see below)
- A few drops of natural food coloring or juice dye
- Small containers (e.g., glass baby food jars with lids)
- Paint brushes or go utensil-free and use your hands!
Easy Peasy Directions
1. Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a medium sized saucepan, slowly stirring in 2 cups of cold water. Cook over low heat, continuously stirring for five minutes or until the mixture becomes clear and gel-like.
2. Remove the paint base from the heat and let cool. If you’re kids are eager, place the mixture in the fridge to speed up the cooling process.
3. Once the mixture has cooled, stir in the Honest Dish Soap. Scoop equal amounts of the mixture into your small resealable containers (repurpose old baby food or mason jars).
4. Stir in a few drops of natural food coloring (available at most health food stores) or try your hand at making juice dye.
5. Grab your paint brushes or lil fingers and start creating masterpieces for everyone to enjoy!
* These paints are washable for the most part, but we probably wouldn’t chance it indoors beyond a dedicated play space or with your Sunday best. Add less dye to shorten your clean-up time.
How to Use Soap Flakes Instead of Dish Soap
Find a bar of natural hand soap and a cheese grater and start grating! Once you have 1/3 cup soap flakes, bring 1/2 cup water to a boil and stir until the flakes are completely melted. In step 3, add the melted soap flakes in place of dish soap. Christopher Gavigan’s book Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home offers a great DIY paint recipe using soap flakes.