Homemade Finger Paint

Anyone who has spent even the shortest amount of time with a 1 year old can tell you that they put EVERYTHING in their mouths. Between trying to find comfort in teething and exploring their bodies, anything that makes it in their hands eventually ends up in their mouth. So when Baby F ended up with a mouth full of blue Melissa and Doug finger paint you could imagine the feeling of angst that overcame me as I rinsed the blue goop from her little toothless grin. I know, I know…I should have known better but that day I greatly underestimated the speed at which a determined 12 month old could move. After being reassured by the overly patient rep at Melissa and Doug that Baby F would not blow up into a blueberry like Violet Beauregard I decided to save myself stress in the future, I’d pack up the finger paint for a few months and just make some homemade paint for the time being. Even non-toxic paint from reputable companies like Melissa and Doug is chock full of all kinds of nasty chemicals. So I hit the internet and after some research I found this recipe to be a safe alternative to the usual kid paint!

Appropriate for:

  • Infants
  • Toddlers
  • Preschoolers

*with help from an adult.

Why we love it: Sure, it’s not exactly like “real paint” but it is completely natural and free of harmful chemicals. It is also a great sensory activity for children, which is a great for brain development!


  • 3 TB sugar
  • 1/2 C corn starch
  • 2 C water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • food coloring


  • Combine all ingredients into a medium size sauce pan
  • As the mixture begins to thicken on medium-high heat begin to slowly whisk to remove any lumps that form
  • Once the mixture reaches desired thickness, remove from heat, whisk once more and allow to cool
  • Once cooled scoop the mixture into separate small containers (I used mini glad containers, but baby food jars would also work)
  • Add a couple drops of food color into each container and mix (Don’t be afraid to get creative when creating colors-I mixed colors to make orange, purple, teal, and lime green!)
  • Store in refrigerator for several days to avoid mold growth. If mixture becomes too thick add a little water, reheat, and whisk out any lumps.

*Even though this recipe is made completely of edible ingredients, aside from the occasional handful in the mouth, try to limit the amount of “paint” that is ingested. I wouldn’t want your little one to get a tummy ache! 


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