Homemade Finger Paints.

A quick aside before we talk paint: the survey responses from yesterday's post are so much fun. Thanks for all the good words! If you haven't participated yet please do so! I'll leave it up for a few more days. And I'll address the many questions and suggestions you made in the coming weeks.

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Recall, if you will, the scent of store-bought finger paints (or tempera paint). Can you remember that smell? Like third grade? To me they smell of synthetic pigments, preservatives, and other mysterious ingredients found nowhere on the label.


The "Nontoxic" seal loses its punch when I smell that paint. And so I have never bought finger paints for either of my kids.

This week I got a bug to figure out how to make my own. There are loads of online recipes. The one I found here seemed very straightforward. I chose a recipe that included soap because… well, I'm a soapmaker. But I also surmised that cleanup would be easier since the pigments would be less likely to stain skin if soap was in the mix.


We stole a bar of soap and some corn starch from the LuSa Soap studio
and got cooking. We raided the fridge, freezer, and spice cabinet for
our colors. The process was very simple. Grate some soap, whisk into water, stir in corn starch. Then add your pigments. 


We made three colors: Beet Juice Pink, Tumeric Orange, and Blueberry Blue Grayish-Blueish-Uglyish. (Blueberries, it appears, are fickle.)


The textural results, as you can see, varied greatly by color. The beet juice paint was too juicy (we just poured some beet juice off of some canned beets in our fridge) and the white was very thick but with some finessing I think we'll have it nailed.


It was quick and easy and Lupine loved painting with it, especially with a brush. (Finger painting proved far too tactile for both of my kids.)


As for the finished product, the blueberries became even grayer with time. The paint dried rather thick and flaky but it was still a wonderful process. (We don't save allot of artwork around here – we're more process than product – so it wasn't a big deal to recycle the finished product.)

8 thoughts on “Homemade Finger Paints.

  1. Kara says:

    this looks like it would be kind of fun for body painting in the bathtub, too 🙂

    I love that I can come here and you’ve always got some creative, fun, natural idea going on. fabulous!

  2. angelina says:

    i agree: i used mulberries once to dye muslin for a hammock and it was fickle too. seems bark, onion skins, any spices, all work better for dying than fruits. awesome!

  3. renee @ FIMBY says:

    Great stuff. The kids and I did something similar a couple years ago with beets and tumeric and make watercolor paints with beautiful results. Those paintings of my children are some of my favorites.

  4. navine says:

    Love your blog. We are homeschooling our 4 years now and she has wheat and dairy so we pretty much make our own stuff. I will try this out. I know they have fun with it.

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