From Kitchen to Art Room–Homemade Finger Paints

painting away


I always assumed I’d purchase finger paint, chalk and playdough.  However, I’m learning, not only is making my own supplies easy, cheap and fun, it’s about the only way we will ever have supplies.

We live in the middle of crafting nowhere.  I have cornstarch. I do not have a Hobby Lobby.

We had a blast with homemade finger paints. So much so, I have made my second batch of paints, in as many weeks.  I’d love to say this project is all about Barefoot, but I love finger painting as much as she does. (I’m just learning that I’m a tactile person.  Who knew?)


½ cup of cornstarch (Yea! Finally, a use for that box in the back of my cupboard!)

4 tablespoons of sugar

2 cups water

Assorted food coloring

Pinch of salt

I let Barefoot help me combine all the ingredients into a large saucepan.  It looks like clumpy milk.

Clumpy milk

Whisk and heat clumpy looking milk, on medium heat, for about 10 minutes.  You’ll know when it’s done, because it suddenly turns into semi-translucent goo.   It’s really cool!

Achieved consistency


Take pan of semi-translucent goo and throw into a snow bank.  (I have many virtues; patience is not one of them.) You could also let mixture set on stove for 30 minutes.

I learned the hard way.  It is VERY important to let semi-translucent goo cool completely.  Otherwise, it will burn the crap out of your finger, and it’s very difficult to wipe off quickly.  (Did I mention I’m an impatient, tactile person?)

Separate goo into different bowls and dye with food coloring.  Since my husband is a child of the 80s, we love the neon food colors.

Finger Paint colors

However, the green looks like the telltale sign of a bacterial sinus infection.  Ewww!


We purchased this bib from IKEA (2 for $4.99,) and it has been a blessing for messy crafts.  We love how it completely covers her arms and collects runaway paint in the pocket.  It’s machine washable, as far as I can tell.  (The tag is in 16 different languages, and I can never find the English washing instructions.  However, it’s survived multiple washings.)


Then play!  I gilded the lily, the second time, by pouring glitter into the finger paints.  Both mother and daughter deemed this a successful addition.

After finger painting completion, we hung our masterpieces in the shower with picture hooks, and we started cleaning up.

Hanging to dry

This paint cleans up like a dream!  Table wiped up nicely.  Barefoot wiped nicely, and CSI, or my mother, could not find any evidence of our painting adventures.

As added fun, we turned Lexi’s finger painting project into a magnet.  These magnets will be a belated birthday gift for Grandma.  (These will be a true surprise, as they are exceptionally late.  I’m sorry Mom.)

Finger Print Heart magnents

Project Bonuses:

1) I love the creative freedom that finger painting allows.  Children don’t have to worry about holding a pen/paper correctly.  They scoop a glob of paint and make masterpieces.

2) Finger Painting teaches color blending, creation and theory.  Barefoot was amazed when pink and blue made purple.

3) Projects open the door for teaching and expressing creativity.  Barefoot kept saying the glitter was “fishie food.”  I have no idea what made her think of fish food.  We do not own a fish, but we quickly painted one to enjoy our glitter food.  When Barefoot decided the blue paint looked like the sky, we painted a moon and talked about her Good Night Moon book.  Hopefully these special moments will help her develop her problem-solving skills later in life.

4) Project is nontoxic. Since we discovered Barefoot’s soy intolerance, I’m not willing to risk another sleepless night, because someone decided to lick her painting. If I make the paints myself, I know what’s in them, and I know if they are Barefoot approved.  Now with the exception of cornstarch possibly dating back to a prehistoric, or at least pre-Barefoot era, the paints are safe.  I know, because I tasted them. If you’re curious, they taste like badly sweetened, country fried steak gravy.  Kid tested, second-rate diner approved. That’s what I call a successful project.


3 Responses to “From Kitchen to Art Room–Homemade Finger Paints”

  1. Wisconsin fans

    Love it! My fridge is waiting for some beautiful art!

    • lunarliterations

      Thank you!! You might need a second fridge for all the artwork. We love finger painting. 🙂

  2. 21 Blogs Making Fun Homemade Mixtures for the Kids to Get Their Hands Into » National Nannies

    […] From Kitchen to Art Room—Homemade Finger Paints Using edible ingredients you probably already have around the house you can whip up these finger paints for your kids to squish around. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s