Fostering creativity: Kid safe finger paint


There is no doubt that kids love craft. Bo has just entered her first stage of crafting love and will happily sit for half an hour and scribble on paper. Growing up in a very creative house I don’t remember a time where we didn’t have paint and pens and texta’s on hand. It is really important to me that Bo is given the same free access to crafts and colours and things to play with. But there are lots of kids paints that are branded as “non-toxic” but are expensive and still filled with chemicals that I’d rather Bo doesn’t ingest. And let’s face it, toddlers like to eat stuff they are not supposed to. There is no stopping it, but you can make sure that what they are playing with isn’t filled with nasties.

This recipe is cheap, easy and quick to prepare and clean up is easy too… which is a definite plus in my book. You probably have all of the ingredients in your pantry right now, I know I did.


Kid-Safe Fingerpaint recipe:

2 cups of water
1/2 cup of plain flour
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of table salt
Food colouring (I used traditional, but you could also experiment with natural food colourings, like beet juice)

Combine all dry ingredients in a saucepan and then add the water. Using a whisk, stir contiuously over medium heat. As the flour heats it will start to turn into a thick sauce and then a claggy paste. Just turn the heat off when your mixture is the consistency you want. Mine was quite thick this time around, I think next time I’ll get it off the heat a little sooner so that we have a paint that is a bit runnier.

Transfer the mixture into glass jars or plastic cups and then add your colouring. The mixture will be very warm, make sure you let it cool down before you let little hands too close.The paint can be used with pop sticks, fingers, paintbrushes… whatever.

It doesn’t stain skin and is easy to wipe off furniture/the floor. I haven’t tried to keep it for extended periods of time but I’ve read that it doesn’t keep very well for long periods of time. No matter, this recipe makes just enough for a good painting session and clean up is really easy, just run hot water into the jars and the remains should wash away easily. No soaps or chemicals needed.

Enjoy! x

inspired by little monster (those colours!)


Note: There are similar recipes floating around the internet that call this paint “edible” finger paint. It is edible in the fact that you “can” eat it… but you wouldn’t want to. It’s still a good idea to instill a no-paint eating philosophy in your household, but you know that when your toddler sticks the paint his mouth (and he will), that it won’t hurt him.

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  • May 9, 2013 - 6:07 am

    Tasha - I’m always looking for healthy alternatives so I’ll definitely try this with my little girl.ReplyCancel

  • May 9, 2013 - 6:56 am

    endelaney - What perfect timing! I was just thinking today that I needed to find a safe finger paint recipe for my daughter. Love when that happens:) Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • May 9, 2013 - 12:31 pm

    Lila Wolff - That looks like lots of fun, I think we’ll be trying it real soon.ReplyCancel

  • May 9, 2013 - 1:17 pm

    Lilybett - Love… but am wondering… do the sugar and salt serve a purpose here? Do they make the mixture thicken in a particular way or give it texture or is it just ‘flavour’?ReplyCancel

    • May 9, 2013 - 3:13 pm

      Lina - lol! flavoured paint?? why not? could add vanilla essence too hey! bub will love it!ReplyCancel

    • May 9, 2013 - 4:13 pm

      Sash - I’m not 100% sure about the sugar, but the salt definitely helps the thickening process… speeds it along.ReplyCancel

  • May 9, 2013 - 8:10 pm

    Arna - How would it go adding a drop of essential oil – to add another dimension to the sensory experience?ReplyCancel

  • May 10, 2013 - 6:20 am

    This life. | Inked in Colour - […] back into our daily rhythm. Days filled with rain and wind and thunder have kept us indoors. Painting, cooking and drinking tea and to be honest, going a little stir crazy. But I’ve done a fair […]ReplyCancel

  • May 10, 2013 - 11:16 am

    Bee Girl (AKA Melissa) - This is great! Thanks for sharing it!ReplyCancel

  • May 10, 2013 - 5:56 pm

    Gustavo Guerra - I’m sure going to try and use it with my 4 years old daughter! Normally i’m constantly worried about she might eat the paint!!! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • May 30, 2013 - 2:05 am

    Ioana - Wow, this is such a cool idea. Really, instead of supressing the creativity of our babies we should find healthy alternative so we can let they creativity flow. Love it.ReplyCancel

  • May 15, 2017 - 6:25 pm

    Kristen - Just tried this out with my 5 1/2 month old. I wanted a Mother’s Day piece of custom art work to hang at my office and she did AMAZINGLY well with it! Kept most of it on the wrapped canvas (bought at wal mart) and “scratched” it on the canvas (like she does when feeling of her textured board books), cooed and squealed, squished the paint, kicked her feet in excitement, and you were right it did not stain her and I soaked her bloomers right away and the paint came off! I am going to buy more canvases and have her make art for her grandmas now!
    It is so amazing to watch her learn and experience new things!!!ReplyCancel

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