4 Fun Finger Paint Recipes

Creative fun that comes from home -- not from a bottle

homemade finger paint recipes
Homemade finger paint is easy to make and will offer your preschooler hours of creative fun. hmpalassi/stock.xchng

You want to do a craft with your preschooler, but you don't really feel like schlepping to the mall or even spending money on store-bought craft projects. Well now you don't have to, with these easy-to-make finger paint recipes that use non-toxic ingredients right from your kitchen!

Finger painting is a great unstructured play activity for preschoolers because not only does it work important fine motor skills, but it lets them be creative and use their imaginations.

Plus, think of all the wonderful pieces of art you'll have -- keepsakes featuring your child's precious handprint!

Before you make any of these finger paint recipes, lay out all the materials first. And when your child starts the finger painting, make sure it is on a covered surface, such as newspapers or a plastic table cloth. For finger paint containers, you can use plastic cups, bowls, baby food jars, or even muffin tins. And if you have a child with a sensory issue who would rather not finger paint, these finger paint recipes can certainly be used like regular paint with a brush too.

Three of the finger paint recipes listed below are safe to eat (and one is going to smell really good after you make it), but that doesn't mean that your preschooler should! You don't want your preschooler assuming that all finger paints or paints in general are something they can put into their mouth. So make sure they understand that this isn't something they should be licking off their fingers!

For more tips on crafting with a young child, read Making Arts and Crafts with Your Preschooler

Happy finger painting!

Four Finger Paint Recipes

Basic Finger Paint (no cooking required)

What you need

  • Liquid starch
  • Soap powder
  • Water

Directions Mix together 1/2 cup of liquid starch, 1/2 cup of soap powder, and 1/2 cup water until the mixture is thick.

If it is too thick, add water; if it is too thin, add more soap powder.

Edible Finger Paint

What you need

  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Food coloring
  • Containers
  • Saucepan
  • Water

Directions Mix together two tablespoons of sugar, 1/3 of a cup of flour, and two cups of water in a saucepan over low to medium heat. Keep mixing until the mixture is thick. Remove from heat. Once the mixture is cool, pour equal amounts into your cups or bowls. Add drops of food coloring, mixing colors to make new hues. This recipe can be doubled or even tripled as needed.

Instant Pudding Finger Paint

What you need

  • small box vanilla instant pudding
  • cold milk
  • food coloring
  • containers

Directions Whisk together 2 cups of cold milk with the box of instant pudding. Let it set in the refrigerator until it is cold. Divide the pudding mixture into containers and add food coloring as desired.

Gelatin Finger Paint (Jell-O Finger Paint)

What you need

  • Assorted boxes of gelatin, any brand
  • Boiling water
  • Containers


This one smells so good! Fill your containers with the gelatin powder, one bowl for each color.

Slowly mix in the boiling water until you get a paste-like consistency (you won't need that much). Let cool before finger painting with it.

Finger paint tip! More "less mess" finger painting, fill empty squeeze bottles like the ones from honey, catsup, or mayo with the paint. Your child simply squeezes the paint onto the paper and then paints as usual.

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