Finger Painting Leaves the Bucket List

Last week, I figured out all of the fun stuff that I was hoping to do with my kids this spring.  One of the big ones was that I wanted to work on my own avoidance of things that make messes… and I wanted to let the kids loose on finger painting.

I hadn’t done finger painting since Norton was maybe a year and a half.  It was long overdue.  I approached the idea with Norton while Eudora was taking a nap.  I’d asked him if he wanted to finger paint.  He held up his hands and said, “Mommy, I can’t paint fingers.”  Ha.

I got out a bit of plastic sheeting that was cut to fit the table and spread it across like a table cloth.  Then I set to work on making the finger paints.

I use a recipe that resembles making ooblek (the non-Newtonian solid made of cornstarch and water).  Ingredients are:

4.5 cups of boiling water
2 cups of corn starch
1 cup of cold water
food coloring

Mix the corn starch and cold water together while the water boils.  At first it’s like concrete.  Add the boiling water and continue to stir until it’s of an even consistency.  Then split into containers and add your food coloring.  Since I used Ziploc containers, I just squirted an entire bottle of food coloring in, closed the container, and shook it up.  I ended up with some extra undyed paint that’s sitting in another bucket.

To keep the paints from getting dumped out or mixed into brown (since Eudora loves to pour things from one container into another), I poured a bit of each of the four colors into ice cube trays: one tray per child so there’d be no fighting.  And to minimize the mess, I gave out cotton swabs to use as paint brushes.

As you can see, much finger painting fun was had.

finger-painting-1 finger-painting-2 finger-painting-3

Clean up was pretty easy.  After they were done finger painting, I put them both in the bath.  I took off shirts before the painting started so that nothing was ruined.  I did make one small mistake, though: I left Eudora in her Ella Bella Bum diaper instead of changing her into a Sunbaby.  She did get paint on the diaper, but I was able to get everything out with some warm water and Buncha Farmer Stain Stick in the bathroom sink.

Have you tried finger painting with your kids?  How did you minimize the mess?


About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. We used to finger paint all the time, but got so tired of the cleanup afterwards!
    Scott recently posted…Be Quick or Be SquashedMy Profile

  2. Thanks for the great recipe! My daughter is 11 months old right now, so we’ll be looking to do this in a few months.
    Mindy Grant recently posted…Protect Your Family with Norton by SymantecMy Profile

  3. This looks like a lot of fun! I usually leave the finger painting up to the kids’ preschool so I don’t have to deal with the mess 🙂 But they do love it!
    Laurel Samuels recently posted…Treat Allergies NaturallyMy Profile

  4. I tend to shy away from things that are messy, but the kids love it! I KNOW my kids would love to finger paint. I let them “paint” in the bathtub with homemade bath paint.
    Rena (An Ordinary Housewife) recently posted…Cosmos Creations Oven Baked CornMy Profile

  5. We love to paint at my home. I really like to do it when the weather is nice and we can go outside.
    Kathy recently posted…Quick and Easy Beef and Broccoli Stir-FryMy Profile

  6. So much fun! I want to do this. What a great recipe too, I will give it a go with some organic dyes.
    Krystal Bernier recently posted…The Top 6 Foods You Should Eat During Your First Trimester Of PregnancyMy Profile

  7. Finger painting looks like so much fun! We haven’t tried it at home yet because my baby girl outs absolutely everything in her mouth and I’m also concerned about the mess. Thanks for the recipe. I’d really like to try it!
    Michelle recently posted…Transitioning from an Infant Car Seat to a Convertible Car SeatMy Profile

    • Well, with this you don’t need to worry about what goes in her mouth… and use some plastic sheeting like we did and the mess can be averted. The only clean up I had to do at the end was throw the kids in the tub. 🙂

  8. That looks like so much fun! My daughter would be fine, but I worry about how insane the mess would be with my son (almost 8 months), plus he puts everything in his mouth. Though I guess with this recipe it would be safe (but still messy! lol)
    Not Quite Crunchy Mommy recently posted…Military Monday – A Night at the Movies Care PackageMy Profile

  9. Finger Painting Leaves the Bucket List: Great idea! Can’t wait to try this! So fun 🙂

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