Thursday, April 5, 2012

Homemade fingerpaint

Making finger paint is surprisingly easy. It has no smell, it's much less expensive than store bought, is all natural, safe and edible. This recipe only requires 3 ingredients that you probably have in your kitchen.

Begin with 2 tbs cornstarch per cup of water. Mix cornstarch in a small amount of water. Once well blended, add to the rest of the water in a saucepan.

Whisk and cook over high heat. Continue stirring constantly. If you stop stirring, say, to take a picture for your blog, lumps will form. If you find it's getting very thick, whisk in some more cold water.

Bring to a boil and continue cooking and stirring until thick, bubbly and fairly clear. Mine is very thick, so it stayed a little cloudy. If you mix it thinner, it will come completely clear. 

Let it cool slightly. It will thicken as it cools. Divide into bowls, one for each color.

Stir in food coloring. I MUCH prefer cake decorating colors. The intensity is so much greater than the liquid. This recipe used up the last of the set I bought 11 years ago.
These are gel colors, but paste colors work equally well. You can find them at any major craft store in the cake decorating section, at some grocery stores in the baking aisle, or a cake decorating store. For those of you  local to me, the Targil spice factory store has a HUGE selection of very well priced colors.

Mix one color into each bowl. Look how vibrant those are. Don't you want to stick your finger in one? I did.

Portion out the paints for each child. A little goes a long way.
This was a huge batch. All 3 kids used less than a third of the paint. Excess paint can be stored in an airtight container. If the paint gets a bit too thick, revive it with a few drops of warm water. I prefer to store in glass canning jars. Paint will stain plastic containers.

Lay down an old towel, newspaper, or a plastic sheet or tablecloth. This paint will stain. Start creating!

For this project, my kids did apple prints. Slice an apple in half (or thirds if you have an odd kid), dip in paint and stamp on paper.

Gratuitous pictures of my children:

Baby W didn't join in, but he enjoyed observing.

Some variations:
If your child is allergic to corn, you can substitute a TBS or 2 of white flour in place of the cornstarch. The result will be cloudier and a bit grainier but equally effective.

Likewise, arrowroot or any other thickener can be subbed, but I cant' give you amounts, as I've only used flour and cornstarch. Both thickener and water can be added during cooking until desired thickness is reached. Mix thickener with a bit of water before adding to avoid lumps.

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