There are so many things to love about homemade finger paint. We use a lot of it, sometimes a whole packet or tub in one go, it's so much more affordable to make it yourself. With Otto at 11 months I want to know that the paint is safe, often paint labels don't list all of the ingredients and to just say non-toxic isn't enough. Also it's fast to make, if we don't have any left I like to be able make some up in just a few minutes!
The problem I have with a lot of recipes for baby finger paint is that they taste yum! I want to avoid Otto liking the taste of the paint. So we don't use yoghurt or condensed milk. I've used pain flour before and that's worked fine. Most often though I'm using a recipe with cornflour.
1 Cup Cornflour, add a small amount of cold water (I use around half a cup of room temp tap water) in a saucepan and whisk together. The cornflour will mix with the water and will be really smooth, with no lumps. I then put the saucepan on low heat and keep on whisking, I don't stop. Once the cornflour and water have cooked or come together, I take it off the heat and slowly add a little more of the tap water to thin it out just a little. It has a really nice texture, a little gloopy and perfect for finger paint. If it goes too thin I put it on the heat and cook for a little longer, if it's too thick I take off the heat and whisk in a little more tap water.
I let it cool a little and add my colourings. Above and below I have used:
- beetroot - normally I make the beetroot juice but this one is from a carton and is really bright.
- turmeric - you don't want your child to eat a lot of this.
- spinach - I use our cold press juicer to juice the spinach, it took a few minutes to do and wasn't the fastest or cleanest process, the green is so vibrant though I think it's worth it.
- blueberries - I put some frozen blueberries (just because that's what we had) in a small glass of water for a few minutes, squished them around and then drained the juice.
The texture of the natural colours is lovely. When mixed together these turn brown and I wouldn't have been able to keep this as artwork. The colours are beautiful!
Using artificial food colourings is a lot faster. I've used gel food colourings here as I've heard the colours are more vibrant (thank you to Carine for the tip). The colours are a lot less natural but are true 'red', 'orange' and 'green'.
These could easily pass as store-bought finger paints, I think they are even better.
Sometimes we use finger paint in a tray, it's finger painting on a smaller scale, it's easier to contain the mess, easier to clean up.
This isn't a good photograph but the finger paints using the gel food colouring dry nicely into a soft pastel colour, artwork used with these could be kept.
A few things to note. All of the finger paints I've made wash out, but I can't guarantee it. I put Otto's clothes, painting smock and all (white) cleaning cloths in the washing machine as soon as we are finished and they miraculously don't stain. I put Otto in the bath straight away and he doesn't stain. We get paint all over our table top (pictured above, I think it has a laminate surface) and it doesn't stain. Otto is usually a very oral child (puts most things in his mouth) but I wouldn't allow him to eat the paint - a little in the mouth to explore is ok, but eating paint is not. I don't keep the paint made with the natural food items but I do keep the paints made with the gel food colourings. I have kept them for a few days in the pictured airtight containers, they just need a quick stir before you use them again. When fingerpainting we always use the heavier watercolour paper, usual printing paper is not thick enough and will often tear as soon as it gets a little wet. For Otto at 11 months, I tape the A3 size paper to the table so it doesn't move, and I use tape or blu tack the white tray to the table to keep it in place. If you like this post you might also like my previous post Fingerpainting with a Baby - is it worth it?