Homemade Finger Paints – Mess Free!

Today was one of those days that needed a little something extra. We needed to do something creative!

So while Zander was napping, I cruised Pinterest (my new-found addiction) looking for some quick and easy ideas that wouldn’t require a trip to the grocery store, and I came up with this idea for mess-free finger painting. Awesome!

Next, I searched Pinterest for a recipe for homemade, nontoxic, “edible” finger paints and found the recipe we wound up using below (which I highly recommend and will be using again).

When Zander woke up from his nap, I had the ingredients (all 4 of them–love it) pre-measured and waiting for him. He didn’t need to be asked twice before scrambling up as fast as he could into his learning tower and grabbing a spoon!

Here’s what we used:

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FINGER PAINTS
1/2 cup corn starch
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups water
food coloring – red, yellow, green, and blue

Zander started grabbing ingredients and dumping them into the saucepan faster than I could even take pictures. First, he dumped in the water. Second, the salt. Third, the corn starch. And finally, the sugar.

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With everything in the pot, it was time to stir. I should note that I don’t actually turn on the stove while Zander is stirring. For one thing, I don’t want the burner to catch the spilled ingredients on fire. And for anther, he’s simply still too unpredictable and sometimes makes crazy sudden moves. So we usually practice stirring while trying not to touch the “hot” pot for a little while, and then I scoot his tower a safe distance away from the stove and give him something to munch on while I do the actual cooking.

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I should mention here that we wound up needing to use a metal whisk instead of just a spoon to keep our “paint” from clumping as it thickened. That worked really well. Before long, the “paint” was thick like a pudding and ready to be transferred into our jars:

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We added 50 drops of each color of food coloring and stirred them in with a chopstick:

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This yielded the lovely, vibrant colors below–I am so pleased with the results!

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After letting the paints cool fully, it was time for the mess-free painting part. Yippee!

First, I took a heaping spoonful of each color of paint and glopped them into a large ziploc bag. Then, I carried the bag upstairs to Zander’s table and taped it down using colorful electrical tape. Finally, I grabbed a few Q-tips and set them on the table incase Zander wanted to paint with something other than just his fingers:

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At first, Zander wasn’t quite sure what to do with this contraption, but even so, he knew that he liked it:

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He quickly caught on and began smooshing and spreading the paints around inside the ziploc bag with his hands:

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The paints have a really neat squishy feel inside the ziploc bag, and I have to admit that it was appealing and I had just as much fun playing with this as Zander did.

Before long, he had figured out how to “draw” things using his Q-tips, and he had an absolute blast scribbling into the paints and then wiping the slate clean again with his hand:

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In the end, we were left with the beautiful swirly pattern below, which will be waiting for Zander first thing in the morning when he wakes up–and there was absolutely NO mess for me to clean up! How cool is that? Pretty cool!!

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Thank you, Pinterest! 🙂

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About Kim McCoy

Kim McCoy is a passionate animal and environmental advocate with a B.S. in Business Administration from UT Knoxville and a J.D. specializing in Animal and Environmental Law. She graduated with honors from Lewis & Clark Law School, where she served as Editor in Chief of the internationally acclaimed Animal Law Review and interned with the National Center for Animal Law and the International Environmental Law Project. Kim is a member of MENSA (the “high IQ society”) and previously worked for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in a variety of roles, including Executive Director, Director of Campaigns, and Director of Legal Affairs. Kim is also the former Executive Director of the One World One Ocean Foundation and the proud mother of a healthy, thriving son who has been vegan since conception. Currently serving as Executive Director of Big Life Foundation, which protects wildlife and wild lands in Eastern Africa, Kim remains deeply committed to the defense of animals worldwide.
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