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Homemade Finger Paints | Kids' Painting Ideas

Homemade Finger Paints

Total Time Needed: 1 Hour

Finger paints are like a loud, life-affirming "Yes!" in a toddler's world of "Don't touch." And they're so easy and inexpensive to make from scratch - a good thing, since those little store-bought tubs seem to disappear in the blink of an eye.


  • 1 cup of cold water
  • 1/4 cup of cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon of light corn syrup
  • Washable, nontoxic tempera paint
  • Bowls
  • Finger-paint paper or freezer paper
  • Masking tape


Finger Painting

1. Before you begin: Spread out a plastic tablecloth, keep wipes handy, and wear a smock or old clothes.

2. In a small saucepan, stir together the cold water and cornstarch. Whisk the mixture over low heat for about 5 minutes until it thickens and clears - this will happen all at once. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of light corn syrup, then divide the mixture into bowls and stir a squirt of tempera paint into each one.

3. After the paint has cooled, scoop blobs of it onto finger-paint paper (taped to your table) or let your kids scoop it out themselves -- whichever they prefer - and commence smearing. Leftover paint can be stored in sealed containers in the fridge for a day or two.


Getting Started with Creative Projects for Little Hands

1. Keep it safe. Make sure supplies are labeled nontoxic and are not choking hazards. Discourage kids from putting supplies in their mouths.

2. Set it up. Designate an art area in your home with an easel or a low table where young artists can stand to work (this is usually easier for them).

3. Don't rush. Make sure you allow plenty of time for setup, exploration, and cleanup.

4. Don't stress over mess. Set things up so cleanup is easier for you, then try to relax and let your child have fun.

5. Write it down. Before you forget, write the date on your child's creation and, if she's talking, what she said about it.