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Finger painting of red flowers
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Friday Fun

Finger Paint Recipe

What you will make:

Why bother with a brush? Cavemen didn’t mind getting messy in pursuit of their art, and you won’t either with this simple finger paint recipe.

This recipe is based on the finger paint created in Rome by Ruth Shaw, originator of modern finger painting. See the Basics of Finger Painting craft for some of her tips for using finger paints.

Caution: Recipe uses boiling water. Adult supervision is required!

  • Poster paint or acrylic paint
  • Cornstarch (corn flour)
  • Water
  • Optional: Oil of clove or spearmint
  • Small saucepan and tea kettle
  • Mixing spoon
  • Measuring cup and spoons
  • Stove or hot plate

This project is rated EASY to do.

How to Make Finger Paint

Read all of the directions before starting.

Adult or teens only!! Caution: hot water and boiling water can burn.

  1. In a small saucepan, stir 3 tablespoons (45 grams) cornstarch into 3 tablespoons (40 ml) cold water. Stir to make a smooth paste with no lumps.
  2. Add 1 cup (250 ml) boiling water, stirring quickly to prevent lumps.
  3. Continue to stir until mixture starts to thicken and turns somewhat translucent. If needed, place the pan on the stove over low to medium heat, stirring continuously.
  4. Mix in ¼ cup (60 ml) cold water. Place mixture in a screw-top jar and set aside to cool.
  5. Color is mixed into the liquid starch by adding poster paint or acrylic paint on the wet paper. While you can pre-mix finger paint colors in jars, you will get better shading results by mixing the colors into the starch on the paper. For more details, see Basics of Finger Painting.
  • You can add a few drops of oil of clove or oil of spearmint as a preservative. The liquid starch mixture will keep longer with it. Add oil with the cold water in the last step.
  • Any liquid starch mixture will work as a basis for finger paint. A flour and water mixture, laundry starch, or arrowroot may also be used.

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Before you start:
  • Make a place to work.
  • Read all of the directions.
  • Gather everything you need to make the recipe.

Are you ready?
Okay, get started!!!

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