Recipes for Art Materials

Here’s a collection of recipes for making your own art supplies and materials. Children will have fun helping with the process!

Art Supply Recipes

Finger Paint

2 cups flour
2 tsp salt
2 and 1/2 cups cold water
2 cups hot water
Mix the flour and salt. Add cold water. Beat until smooth and gradually add hot water. Boil until clear, beat until smooth and add food coloring.

Edible Finger Paint

Pudding made with 3/4 the amount of liquid called for in the recipe, or Baby food, or Whipped cream and food coloring

Soap Paint

1 cup Ivory Snow, Dreft or Cheer
Beat ingredients until like cake frosting. Use enough water to receive the desired consistency. Add food-coloring. Use brushes or fingers to paint on table, aluminum foil or paper.

Silly Putty

1 part liquid starch
1 part elmers glue
Pour glue into starch. Work with hands until it becomes smooth and stretchy and all liquid is absorbed. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


1 cup cornstarch
2 cups baking soda
1 and 1/2 cup water
Combine all ingredients and cook until it boils and forms a clay-like consistency. Knead. Cover with a damp cloth and cool. Form shapes, dry and paint. Keep unused portions in refrigerator covered with a damp cloth.

Bakers Clay

4 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 and 1/2 cups water
Mix with hands and knead 6 minutes (add more flour if too sticky). From shapes and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Soap Crayons

1/8 cup water
1 cup soap flakes (Ivory Snow)
Food coloring or powdered tempera paint
Make a soap paste with water and soap flakes (add more soap flakes if needed) for a pliable clay-like consistency. Add 30-40 drops of food coloring or some powder paint and mix well. Form into sticks and let dry in a warm, dry place until dry to the touch. Use in a bathtub or water table.

Bubble Solution

2/3 cup Dawn or Joy dishwashing liquid
1 gallon water (distilled works best)
1 tablespoon glycerin (optional)
Tip: age the solution for at least 5 days

Modeling Goop

2 cups salt
2/3 cup hot water
1 cup cornstarch
Add salt to water and heat 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add cornstarch, cold water. Stir until smooth, cook mixture until thick.


Food color
Add colored water slowly to cornstarch and stir. Should be solid when held, gooey when released. As it dries add water.

Rainbow Goop

3/4 cups water
1 pkg Knox Gelatin
Stir together, cook over low heat until dissolved. Leave clear or add color.

Rainbow Stew

1 cup cornstarch
4 cups water
1/3 cup sugar
Cook ingredients until thick. Add color.

Sidewalk Chalk

1 cup water
1/4 cup dry tempera paint*
2 squirts dish detergent
2 cups plaster of paris
*You can substitute liquid paint by adding one capful of vinegar.
Make the mold: Cut toilet paper tubes in half. Then use masking tape across the bottom and part way up the side. Mix the water, paint and detergent first; then add plaster. Put the mixture in the mold and let dry, then peel away the tube. To make rainbow chalk, add the water slowly to a mixture of paint, plaster and detergent. Keep the mixture thick and somewhat dry, like the consistency of clay (you won’t be adding a full cup of water). Pack different colors of the mixture in the mold in layers and let dry.

Scented Paint

Mix one-half cup cold water with a three-ounce package of flavored gelatin.

Puff Paint

Mix two tablespoons of washable tempera paint and 1/3 cup of white glue. Add two cups of non-menthol shaving cream. Best used soon after mixing.

Milk Paint

Divide one or more cans of evaporated milk evenly among several containers. Add a few drops of a different color of food coloring to each container and mix. Paint on construction paper.

Glitter Gel

Mix one cup of glitter with 1/3 cup of hair gel. Use glitter gel with a paintbrush. Dries clear and glitter sticks.

Colored Sand

In a plastic container, add 4-5 drops of food coloring to a cup of sand. Add two tablespoons of vinegar and enough water to make the sand mushy, but not watery. Stir and spread the wet sand onto a cookie sheet and let dry.

Magic Crystal Paint

2 cups water
2 cups Epsom salt
food coloring (optional)
In a saucepan, combine the water and Epsom salt, and bring to a boil. Stir the mixture and allow to cool. Add food coloring. Paint on construction paper. Makes clear or colored crystals when dry.

Corn Syrup Paint

Divide one or more bottles of corn syrup evenly among several containers. Add a few drops of a different food color to each container and mix. Dries clear. Requires a few days drying time.

Salt Paint

2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Liquid starch
Few drops of food coloring (3-4 drops)*
Mix ingredients together. The salt gives a frosted or sandy appearance to the paint.
*Tempera paint or liquid watercolor can be used in place of the food coloring, but food coloring works best & makes prettier colors.

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