Homemade edible finger paint is the perfect rainy afternoon project to do with even the littlest of kids. Babies as young as six months can paint with these homemade finger paints! Older kids can help stir the mixture on the stove, and will love the way the cornstarch concoction goes from liquid to semi-solid in seconds flat.
Although the finger paint isn’t what I’d call delicious, it is made from all natural, edible ingredients, so you don’t have to worry about your little one accidentally sticking it in her mouth. I’ve suggested the optional addition of peppermint extract to make the mixture smell yummy.
Older kids can also help portion the finger paint base into individual jars or cups once it has cooled a bit. They can help add and mix in the food coloring too! This paint need not be limited to finger painting only: we tested it using paintbrushes and it worked great. Be sure to have sturdy finger paint paper on hand; this recipe makes for a thick paint that needs strong paper to support it. Best of all, the finger paint will keep, covered in the refrigerator, for at least a week. Let it come to room temperature before using it. (If it gets too thick in the fridge, whisk in a bit more water, a teaspoon at a time.)
A note about food coloring: We used natural, plant-based liquid food coloring, which tends to create less vivid colors than conventional food coloring. If you want brighter colors, choose standard liquid food coloring. Remember that food coloring can stain little fingers, so we only added a few drops of each color to the portioned finger paint, to make a pastel effect.
What you’ll need:
1 C cornstarch
2 C water (plus more if necessary)
Food coloring (see note above)
Few drops natural peppermint extract (optional)
Small wide-mouthed glass jars or plastic cups
Sturdy finger paint paper
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the cornstarch with ½ cup of cold water, whisking well to ensure that there are no lumps.
2. Put the saucepan on the stove and turn the heat to medium-low. Whisk in the remaining 1½ cups of water a half-cup at a time, whisking constantly. Cook the mixture on medium-low heat until it begins to thicken: this will happen very quickly (approximately 2-3 minutes). The mixture should be finger paint consistency: if it is too thick, whisk in additional water a few tablespoons at a time. Remove from heat immediately and let cool. Stir in the peppermint extract, if you are using it.
3. Portion the finger paint into the jars or plastic cups. Add the food coloring to each jar or cup a few drops at a time, stirring as you go, until the mixture reaches the color you want. You’re ready to paint! Babies and little kids can use their fingers; older kids can use paintbrushes. We suggest that you hang your kids’ masterpieces to dry before you proudly display their artwork on your fridge.
Makes about 1¾ cups finger paint.