How to Make Paint for Toddlers with 10 Household Items or Less

Painting is a sort of messy play that is a sensory activity for growing kids, toddlers in specific. I love that there are so many ways to make safe, homemade paint for those little ones who put everything in their tiny mouths.

Homemade paint doesn’t require many ingredients and the best part is that they are mostly safe for tasting. There is an array of paint types that you can make with a few household items such as cornstarch, bicarb, water, food coloring, mixing bowl,  and even Jell-O. 

If you are looking for ideas to keep your little ones busy, be it a stay-at-home parent, for weekends at home, or during vacations, take a look at some of the recipes for homemade paint with a few simple ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.

10 Household items for homemade paint recipes

  1. Baking flour
  2. Bicarbonate of soda
  3. Food coloring
  4. Cornstarch
  5. Vegetables
  6. Jell-O
  7. White vinegar
  8. A blender
  9. Muffin tins
  10. A whisk

These are the main items that you will need for making paint recipes at home. Of course, they may be a few other things that you may need to use, such as water, salt, and maybe some crafting supplies such as glue. You can get as creative as you want with items that you have on hand. The items listed above are the key ingredients that go into many of the recipes and are therefore versatile. 

Using versatile items

If you have ever cooked food or cook food often enough, you will know that a few simple ingredients that can offer you a range of recipes are the best way to go.

The same goes for homemade paint. If you often make homemade craft activities, you probably look for the most affordable options.

The recipes we offer you below use simple ingredients, most of which you may already have in your pantry, and pretty affordable items that you can buy in bulk.

Many of the items, you will already have regular food cooking, so you don’t have to make a considerable effort to go out and buy many things. Since most of the main ingredients are food items, the paints are non-toxic, and as a parent, you will be relieved to know that you don’t have to rush to the Emergency Room if your kid licks the paintbrush.

The benefit of homemade paints

Making your own paint is way more fun than buying store-bought paint, especially when you can get your toddlers is involved in the process. It is inexpensive, and you can adjust the ingredients in measurements to your liking, and best of all, you don’t have to panic if your little one puts some in their mouth – as toddlers do. The majority of the ingredients are edible, and if you use something that isn’t, make sure to watch your kids closely.

Homemade Paint Recipes

1. Sidewalk Chalk Paint

This is the perfect summertime outdoor activity paint to let the kids go wild on your backyard pavement or in your driveway. You can whip this up anytime with only three ingredients, and the kids love this paint!

Ingredients and supplies

  • A section container or tray example, a muffin tray
  • Corn starch
  • Water 
  • Food coloring
  • A whisk

How to mix your sidewalk chalk paint

  • Add a quarter cup +2 tablespoons of cornstarch to each section of your tray.
  • Add a little less than a quarter cup of cold water to each section. For a little at a time to ensure you don’t put too much liquid
  • Whisk until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Water and cornstarch can turn from liquid to solid and back again depending on how much you handle it. You want your paint to be thick enough that it can drizzle from the whisk.
  • Add the food coloring and still well.
  • You are now ready to hit the sidewalk all your driveway and make some colorful fun art.

How to use

You can use a mini paint roller or paintbrushes as usual. Let your kids draw patterns and paint colorful pictures.

Things to note

If you let it dry in the sun, you may need to use a garden broom along with a hose to get it off, although that is unlikely to happen. It typically comes off with a quick run. However, if you want to avoid the possibility of any stains, it would be best to rinse off directly after playing.

2. Finger paint

Several finger paint recipes are out there, but only a few of them are really worth trying out. This one does not stain the kids’ fingers. Some kids are not major fans of painting because they don’t like their hands getting messy. However, with this one, they can use paintbrushes or sponges too. Each ingredient is also taste-safe.

Ingredients and supplies

  • 2 cups of water
  • Half a cup of cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • Half a teaspoon of salt
  • Food coloring (gel is best)
  • Containers/muffin tin

How to mix your homemade finger paint

  • In a medium-size saucepan, it all the ingredients and whisk until combined.
  • Cook on medium heat, constantly stirring until your mixture seconds.
  • Turn it off and remove the heat.
  • Pour it into separate containers/compartments.
  • Using a toothpick, mix a small blob of food coloring in each pot and mix until combined.
  • Let it stand to cool down, or close the lid to store.

How to use

Let your kids go wild on painting paper or a large cardboard

Use paintbrushes or paint sponges to make patterns.

Things to note

This paint won’t stain your kids’ skin, but clothing safety is not guaranteed. It would be best to put on the overalls or designate a pair of clothing specifically for painting sessions. Keep the kids far from the stove when cooking this paint, or rather do this with older kids while you are right there monitoring.

3. Salt and flour squeezy paint

If your toddler loves paint tubes or you are simply looking for new creative activities, then this paint recipe is one you should try. The best part of it is that you can let your little ones go wild without worrying about them putting it in their mouth. It is entirely non-toxic. It is also pretty versatile and can be used as squeezy paint or with a paintbrush

Ingredients and supplies

  • Half a cup of flour
  • Half a cup of salt
  • Half cup water
  • Mixing bowls
  • Squeezy sauce bottles/clear plastics/sandwich bags

How to mix your homemade squeezy paint

  • Blend a half cup of water with a half cup of salt until combined
  • It’s a half cup of water and mix until smooth
  • Divide the mixture into sandwich bags; it will use about three.
  • Add a few drops of food coloring (watercolor is best for this recipe) to each bag. Close the bag properly in squish around until the paint is well blended.
  • If you would like a thinner paint, add more water.
  • Cut a small corner of the baggie and use it as is, or then squeeze into your squeezy bottles if you have some.

How to use

Make fun art and drawings with this pain by squeezing it onto paper or even a canvas

Edit into muffin trays and paint with a paintbrush.

Things to note

This paint can get pretty thick so add more water if you are having a hard time squeezing it out of the bottles.

This paint does dry quickly, which is excellent, and you get a nice puffy, sparkly texture.

Because of the salt, it is not exactly smooth, and that’s why it’s best for squeezing. If you are using a paintbrush, keep in mind that you will have a grainy texture.

4. Two ingredients edible paint

If you have a toddler right around the age of one and they are still in the phase of putting everything in sight in their mouth, this is the ideal been for them. Beware, though, this one tastes pretty delicious, and they might want to eat it all! It is super fast to make 100% non-toxic.

Ingredients and supplies

  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Food coloring

How to mix your edible paint

  • Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk with 2 to 3 drops of food coloring
  • Stir until well blended
  • Make as many calories as you need

How to use

Paint papers or any art canvas that you would like

You can let your kids paint food items also such as cookies, marshmallows, Jell-O, or even fondant

You can use a brush or spoon depending on what you are painting

Things to note

Because of the condensed milk, this paint is sticky, so be ready for a good wash up after playtime

It is best to use this paint only during playtime and throw away papers afterward if you are painting on them. Since the condensed milk is sticky and sweet, keeping the paintings might collect insects.

If your kids are painting food items, they can enjoy eating them too

If you haven’t introduced the sweeter palette into your kids’ diet, you might want to avoid having them taste it. Condensed milk can be pretty addicting!

5. Fruit and vegetable paint

If you are struggling to get your little ones to eat those fresh fruits and especially vegetables like broccoli because they would rather eat paint, then you can get the best of both worlds with this recipe. Yes, you can make paint with actual veggies.

Ingredients and supplies

  • Vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, beetroot, carrots, blueberries, etc.
  • A blender
  • A knife
  • Container/muffin tins
  • Food coloring if needed

How to make fruit and vegetable paint

  • Wash and cut each type of fruit and vegetables (do not let the kids get hold of the knife)
  • Put each fruit a vegetable separately in a blender or food processor and blend well
  • Pour into containers
  • If you find the color is not vibrant enough, you can eat some food coloring

How to use

Let your kids paint with their fingers or paintbrushes. They can get really messy with this one.

This paint can be used on a tray, placemat, or large silicone sheet. Get creative

Things to note

This is preferably for one year old or under (6 months +). It is not exactly the most ‘paintable’ paint, but it is excellent for a more sensory painting session.

The tiny kids will probably get some in their mouth, and you don’t have to worry because it’s actually all healthy

If your kids are not dressed in unique painting clothing, you might want to avoid adding the extra food coloring just in case of stains

6. Jell-O pudding paint

Who doesn’t love some Jell-O pudding? The three-ingredient recipe only requires one box of vanilla Jell-O pudding and takes a few minutes to whip up. Of course, it is 100% taste-safe for your curious little toddlers.

Ingredients and supplies

  • One large 5.3-ounce box of vanilla Jell-O pudding
  • Approximately 2 cups of warm water
  • Food coloring
  • Muffin tray
  • Mixing bowl and whisk

How to mix your Jell-O pudding paint

  • Add the 2 cups of water and the dry Jell-O pudding mix to your mixing bowl. Whisk well until combined and smooth.
  • As the mixture sets, it will thicken.
  • Divide the mixture into your muffin tin compartments.
  • Add few drops of food coloring to each and stir well with a toothpick or spoon until combined.

How to use

Set up the paintbrushes and paper and let your kids get creative

They can even paint some premade Jell-O and then enjoy eating it.

Things to note

These Jell-O puddings will take 1 to 2 hours to completely dry once they are dry, they will look bright and glossy, and you can stick them up on your kitchen refrigerator.

7. Jell-O finger paints

Do you know how that one food item always catches all your senses? This paint recipe basically offers a similar concept. We use scented Jell-O powders to make this paint. It will tickle your kids’ taste, smell, and texture senses. It is one of those recipes that is a great first experience painting for your little ones and is super easy to make!

Ingredients and supplies

  • Different flavors of Jell-O mixes Such as raspberry, strawberry, lime, and pineapple
  • Hot water but not boiling
  • Small jars/containers/muffin tin

How to mix your Jell-O finger paints

  • For the powder from the Jell-O sashes into your designated containers
  • Slowly for a little bit of hot water while mixing until it becomes the consistency of finger paint

How to use

Your kids can use this just as they would any other finger paint.

Put large pieces of paper and let them go wild and get their hands messy.

This paint can be used with paintbrushes, too, if your kids don’t like getting their hands messy

Things to note

Since you are using hot water, make sure that it is cool down enough before letting your kids put their fingers in it.

Jell-O can get thick pretty quickly, so you have to experiment with how much water to put so that it doesn’t set. Ideally, you would want to try one first until you get the correct consistency and then move onto the next. Use this process with your kids, especially if they are older, as part of a science experiment.

8. Puffy paint

Puffy paint is easy to make and so much fun, even for adults! It gives us a puffy texture that pops up on your painting and looks super cool! This recipe is not exactly for testing, so keep a close eye on your kids or do it with the older ones instead.

Ingredients and supplies

  • Approximately a quarter cup of white glue
  • Approximately a quarter cup of shaving cream
  • Food coloring
  • A bowl
  • Popsicle stick or mixing spoon that you don’t mind getting slightly messy
  • Separate containers or muffin tin

How to mix homemade puffy paint

  • Pour a quarter cup of glue into a small bowl.
  • Add an equal amount of shaving cream to the bowl.
  • Add a few drops of food coloring and mix to combine.
  • Repeat the process for each color that you want.
  • Keep in mind that as the puffy paint dries, the color darkens.

How to use

You can use a regular paintbrush for this paint.

But the paint will stand out based on paper, flat cardboard, or canvas.

To get the best effects, they have the paintbrush while making your buttons instead of spreading.

Things to note

You can estimate the measurements. The main thing is that the glue and shaving cream should be equal parts. It will still work if it’s not perfect, and it will save you from cleaning glue out of measuring cups.

This paint cannot be stored because shaving cream loses its puffy texture by the next day. If you do store it, you will most likely be left with runny glue.

The puffy paintings will also last for about one to three days. If you want a long-lasting painting with a puffy effect, this might not be your answer; they do start to flatten out a little.

It’s simple and easy to make at home, and your kids can also get involved in the process, but make sure you don’t take your eyes off them, specifically the very little ones, since glue and shaving foam are definitely not safe to eat.

9. Homemade watercolor paint 

These homemade watercolor paints imitate the classic watercolor tray that you get at most stores for kid’s paintings. The problem with the store-bought ones is they finish quickly, and the colors also get mixed up because they are so close to each other and on a flat surface.

Making homemade watercolor paints allows you to put them in preferred containers or a Muffin tray, meaning there is enough space for kids to run the brush around without the colors getting mixed. You can also make a more considerable quantity which means the colors don’t get used up fast. This is also an inexpensive alternative.

Ingredients and supplies

  • 4 Tablespoons baking soda (bicarbonate soda)
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup or golden corn syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • Food coloring (icing gels are mist vibrant)
  • Mini muffin tin or ice cube tray

How to mix your homemade watercolor paint

  • Mix the baking soda and vinegar together in a spouted container (another science experiment for kids to witness) and wait for the fizzing to stop.
  • Add the corn syrup and cornstarch, and mix well until the cornstarch has dissolved.
  • Pour into your containers or muffin tin.
  • Your mixture will be VERY thick. Cornstarch, when mixed with liquid, becomes like oobleck which acts like both a solid and a liquid. The trick to keeping it in liquid form to pour it is to keep stirring it.  As soon as you stop stirring, it will settle back into a solid. If that happens, just dig back in with a spoon, and get it moving again, and it will revert into liquid form. 
  • Grab your food colors and have some fun!
  • Stir your color in with a toothpick or popsicle stick and mix well. If you use watercolors, you may need to add extra drops for deeper color and a pinch of extra cornstarch.
  • Your watercolor paints have to dry completely. This could take a couple of days if your environment is cool and damp. 

How to use

Simply let your kids pick up their paintbrushes and go wild on paper. You can try painting some rocks too; kids love that!

Things to note

This paint glides on really nicely and gives a smooth finish.

There is nothing in the paint that can spoil, so store them when the kids are done painting for the day. It doesn’t need to be covered. The water will evaporate, leaving dry disks of watercolor paint, just as we want them!

10. Fizzy sidewalk chalk paint

We’ve already tackled sidewalk chalk paint. But here’s one that will give your little ones a bigger kick of excitement and a little science experiment too! Your toddlers will love this, and if you have bigger kids, they will get a kick out of too. I can bet that even the adults will get involved in this one.

Ingredients and supplies 

  • 2 cups of baking soda
  • 1 cup cornstarch 
  • Water
  • Food coloring
  • Vinegar

How to mix fizzy sidewalk chalk paint

  • Mix together the baking soda and cornstarch
  • Add a small amount of water and stir together. Continue adding water and stirring until you get the consistency of water paint.
  • Divide the mixture into your designated containers
  • Add food coloring and mix till well blended.
  • Fill a squirt or spray bottle with vinegar and keep it on site

How to use

Let your kids paint the pavements with their paintbrushes, making fun art.

Use the vinegar spray or squirt bottle on the painted art, and watch how it fizzes. The kids and adults will absolutely love this effect!

Things to note

Constantly monitor the kids when using the vinegar because even though it may be safe to taste, you don’t want them to get it in their eyes and end up burning.

You can hose down your yard to get the paint washed off; it should come off pretty easy. If you have a little trouble, use a garden broom and squirt of dishwashing liquid. It will come right off!


If you are looking for easy, affordable, but funfilled activities to do with your kids at home or even as a nanny or teacher at school, definitely try out some of our homemade paint recipes.

These are super fun for kids to get involved in the making process, and then they can enjoy the benefits of their hard work after using the paint.

All the items and ingredients are common household things that most of us already have at home in the kitchen and pantry. They are so versatile, and just making sure you have a few ingredients on hand can get you a bunch of different recipes. Who can say no to that offer?

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