Easy DIY Finger Paint Recipe

Nicole Sanchez on

If you’re a crafty teacher like me, you probably go through a lot of paint with your class throughout the year. Finger paint is so much fun, but it can also be expensive. If you use it a lot, over time, it can really add up. That's why I love making my own. It not only saves me money, but I also get to make my own bright colors and combinations. Today I'm going to share with you my favorite finger paint recipe. I like this one in particular because it requires only a few, common ingredients, and I love the smooth, thick texture.

Tips for Using Finger Paint
Before I share my favorite recipe, I´d like to give you a few tips for using finger paint in the classroom. These tips have helped me to successfully use finger paint in my classroom on a regular basis.

1. Protect everything: Just because painting is messy doesn't mean it has to be hard to clean up. We always cover our tables with thin plastic garbage bags before painting and my kids wear oversized paint shirts to protect their clothing. This makes it much easier to clean up than trying to scrub tables and stained clothing.

2. Use ketchup containers: You know those small containers that you squirt the ketchup into at fast food restaurants? Those are perfect for finger painting in the classroom. To make a finger paint masterpiece, you don't really need a lot of paint, so they are the perfect size, and because they're so shallow, they're easy for kids to dip their fingers in while avoiding spills.

3. Model expectations: I can't stress enough how important it is to model the your expectations for students when painting. When it comes to paint, it's much easier to be proactive than reactive. This helps kids know how to properly handle the paint, what techniques to use, and how to clean up when they are finished before accidents happen. 

DIY Finger Paint Recipe
As I mentioned I love this recipe mostly because it's easy, requires just a few ingredients, and it has an awesome texture. 

4 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup corn starch
2 cups water

1. Combine the ingredients in bowl and stir until the mixture is smooth.
2. Pour the mixture in a pan and cook on low heat until it thickens.
3. Pour the paint into containers and mix in food coloring as desired.
Note: The paint will continue thickening as it cools. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid
When making this recipe there are two common mistakes you want to avoid. The first mistake you want to avoid is not cooking the paint the right amount of time. It can take several minutes for the corn starch to activate and begin to thicken. Also keep in mind that it will thicken just a little more after it cools. If it ends up being too thick in the end you can easily add a few drops of water. The second mistake you want to avoid is adding too much food coloring. The best way I can explain it is that it's like glue in the classroom. "A dot is a lot." The same goes for food coloring. A few drops of food coloring go a long way, so add the coloring little by little until you get the shade you want.

Happy Teaching,
Nicole Sanchez