Finger Paint: A Different Kind of Recipe

April 27, 2012

I wanted to do some finger painting with the children at work, but we didn't have many finger paints to choose from, and I wanted some really fun vibrant colours for Spring. I found this fantastic recipe for making homemade finger paints, and knew that I had to try it out.

You will need:

2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 cups cold water 
1/4 cup clear liquid dish soap -- mine had a slight orange tinge to it, but it didn't make a difference
food colouring or food colouring paste

First, I mixed the sugar and the cornstarch together in a pot, and then I added the water to the mixture. Make sure you add the water slowly and are constantly stirring so that the cornstarch doesn't become clumpy.

Then I stirred it together really well so that the cornstarch and sugar actually combined with the water. You may have a few little clumps, but you want to keep scraping the bottom of the pot to ensure that the cornstarch isn't settling on the bottom.

Cook the mixture over low heat until it becomes a somewhat clear gel, stirring occasionally. The recipe says it takes about 5 minutes, but it took about 10-15 for mine to actually change consistency. At first I had the heat too low and nothing was happening, it wasn't until I turned the burner to 4 that it started cooking properly. 

After you've cooked your mixture and let it cool, that's when you get to add the dish soap. After you've done that, separate the mixture into separate bowls or containers, and add whatever colours that you want. I made five different colours: pink, orange, yellow, green, and blue.

Mix the food colouring in, and -- voila! -- you've got your very own finger paint. I wanted to try out the finger paints before the children used it just to make sure that they would actually work.

The project that I was going to have the children do was Spring landscapes. I think that the paint turned out quite well, and it had a really neat crackled effect when it was dry -- it also smelled delicious while painting because I used grapefruit scented dish soap :)

If you missed it, you can find the original recipe here.


  1. Your 'kids' are so fortunate. I hope that they had fun with the finger painting project. Hopefully that recipe will still be around in a couple of years so that Grammie can make some for a certain little boy to use at our house. I still have the play dough recipe that you and your sister played with while growing up.

  2. This looks like great fun! Thank you for sharing the recipie

  3. Beatutiful pictures and beautiful paint.

    I will try my best to enjoy this moment coming in my life after highschool...thank you for your comment. :)



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