Basic Paint Recipe

1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup cold water
2 cups boiling water
Food coloring
1 tablespoon liquid soap (optional)

Combine sugar, cornstarch, and cold water in a saucepan. Pour boiling water into the mixture, stirring as you pour. Cook over medium heat. Stir until thick and clear. Allow to cool and divide into separate containers. Add a different color food coloring to each container.

* This recipe makes very nice, colorful paint. Consistency is great, but paint becomes watery and pastel on paper.


Stir together 1/2 cup Dawn or Joy dishwashing liquid, 8 cups water, and a pinch of sugar.

Bubbles #2

For a fun bubble mixture, combine 10 cups of water, 1 cup of Joy dishwashing liquid, and 1/4 cup light corn syrup.

Bubble Mix - From "Preschool Power 3" video

1 cup water
2 tablespoons dishwashing soap
glycerin (optional)

Basic Egg Dye

Use this recipe to dye hard-boiled eggs. In a cup or small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup boiling water, 1 teaspoon vinegar, and about 1/2 teaspoon food coloring. Dip one egg at a time into the mixture.

Finger-Painting Fun - From "Barney Magazine"

You will need:
3 tablespoons baby powder
4 tablespoons liquid tempera

Pour powder and liquid tempera paint into the bowl. Stir the mixture with a whisk to create finger paint that is thick and smooth. Use your fingers to paint a picture on the paper. Let dry. To store unused paint, use baby food jars with lids or yogurt cups with tops.

Homemade Finger Paint

For an easy-to-make, economical finger paint, mix until smooth 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 2 tablespoons cold water. Add I cup boiling water and stir until smooth again. For color, add powdered tempera paint or drops of food coloring.


Combine 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup milk.

Koolaid Playdough

1 cup flour, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1 package unsweetened Kool-Aid, 1/4 cup salt, 2 tablespoons cream of tartar, 1 cup water

Mix flour, salt, cream of tartar and Kool-Aid in a medium saucepan. Add water and oil. Stir over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes. When mixture forms a ball in pan, remove. Knead until smooth. Put in a plastic bag and refrigerate.

Pasta Dye

1/2 cup alcohol
Food coloring

Mix alcohol and food coloring in a bowl. Add small amounts of each type of pasta to the liquid and gently mix. The larger the pasta, the longer it takes to absorb the color. Dry on newspapers covered with wax paper.

Dyeing Pasta

Put 2 tablespoons water and 10 drops food coloring in a recloseable plastic bag. Add 1 cup uncooked pasta, seal the bag, and shake until the desired color is reached. Pour out the excess water and put the pasta on paper towels to dry.

Playdough - From Kids-Play

2 cups of flour
1 cup of salt
1 cup of hot water
2 tablespoons cooking oil
4 teaspoons cream of tartar
Food coloring of choice

Mix well and knead until smooth.

Playdough #2

5 cups flour
1 cup salt
1/2 cup cooking oil
2 cups water
Food coloring

Mix ingredients well.

Slime - From Kids-Play

2 cups of white glue
1 cup of liquid starch

Work until mixture feels firm and slimy!

Watercolor Recipe

This was my "great find" of last year - easy, fun and works great.

2 tablespoons clear vinegar
2 tablespoons baking soda
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon corn syrup
food coloring

1. Mix the vinegar and baking soda in a bowl (the kids love this!) When the mixture stops fizzing add the cornstarch and corn syrup. Blend together - it will be rather thick.

2. Divide between three containers (I use the lids off of liquid laundry detergent like Tide and Cheer - they don't tip easily).

3. Add colors. Liquid food color makes a pastel paint while the paste food colors give a more vibrant result.

**I always at least triple the recipe. I got a couple of those artist palettes from teacher supply stores and have filled them and it looks nifty but the detergent lids hold more - I only put a bit in the bottom. These can be used immediately or allowed to dry to cakes like the purchased watercolors.

*Tip. When using watercolor cakes add a few drops of water to the top of the cake at least a half hour before young artists start working and the color will come much easier. Another plus to these paints is how quickly they dry, so unless you have a young artist that is totally into the water part, they can go home the day they are created. I hope this works for you!
~ Submitted by Vangi

Bathtub Finger Paints

1/3 Cup clear, mild liquid dish detergent
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
Food coloring

1. Mix liquid dish detergent and cornstarch together in a small bowl until blended.
2. Pour the mixture, in equal parts, into several sections of a plastic ice cube tray.
3. Add 1-2 drops of food coloring to each section of the tray and mix with a small spoon.

*Use Bathtub Finger Paints on the inside of the bathtub to paint pictures and even play games such as Hangman and Tic-Tac-Toe. Bathtub Finger Paints also work well as a traditional finger paint.

~Submitted by Kelly

Squeeze bottle glitter paint

1 cup flour
1 cup salt
1 cup cold water

Mix together well. Pour into plastic squeeze bottles. May add liquid tempera paint before mixing. Good way to use left over small amounts of paint. Squeeze onto heavy construction paper or discarded card board. Has a glistening quality and dries with a textural effect.

~ Submitted by Tara

Tempera and starch paint

1/8 cup liquid starch
1 tablespoon powdered tempera paint

Pour starch directly onto paper. Sprinkle tempera over starch. Mix color in as you paint.

~Submitted by Tara

Tempera and starch paint #2

2 cups powdered tempera paint
1 cup liquid starch

Mix tempera and starch until it is smooth and creamy. Slowly add water until the mixture has a good, thick consistency.

~Submitted by Tara

Wheat paste paint

1 cup wheat paste
3 tablespoons powdered tempera
1 tablespoon soap flakes

Mix together the wheat paste and powdered tempera. Add water until the mixture has a creamy consistency. Add soap flakes for smoothness if desired.

~ Submitted by Tara

Flour Paint

3 cups flour
2 tablespoons liquid soap
3/4 cup water
food coloring or powdered tempera

Combine the first three ingredients until the mixture is a thick paste. Tint with food coloring or powdered tempera

~Submitted by Tara

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