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Homemade Edible Paint for Kids

Great for babies and grown-ups and every age in between, this homemade edible paint is velvety smooth and made with only four ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. In case you missed it, this is the recipe we used in our popular messy play shower curtain process art project.

This edible paint was my go-to back when I was a working gal running the infant room at a daycare. Part of my job was coming up with art activities for the twelve to eighteen month old babies, but when you think about it there aren’t too many things infants can actually do art-wise so that was a challenge.

Tiny humans don’t have very good scissor skills and they aren’t very good at squeezing a bottle of glue, but one thing they are REALLY good at is finger painting. And eating paint. So we did a lot of finger painting. And A LOT of eating paint. 😉
Super gloopy gel paint is totally perfect for little paint-tasters because it’s made with all food ingredients, but it’s also great for artists who aren’t into eating their mediums because it works great on paper, tabletops, or even the bathtub and it’s texture is second to none.

Supplies for Homemade Gel Edible Paint:

  1. 2 tablespoons sugar
  2. 1/3 cup cornstarch
  3. 2 cups water
  4. Food coloring or liquid watercolors — definitely food coloring if it might end up in a tiny mouth

Directions:

  1. Put the sugar, cornstarch, and water in a medium saucepan and heat it up over medium-high heat. Keep a close eye on it and stir it pretty consistently, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan.
  2. While it’s heating up, set out one container for each color you’d like to make.
  3. After a few minutes, it should start transforming from a milky liquid to a hair gel-like consistency and be almost translucent. Once it gets to that point, don’t cook it much more, otherwise it will be really hard to paint with.
  4. Scoop the gel out of the pan and divide it evenly amongst the containers you set out.
  5. Add the food coloring or liquid watercolors and stir them up well.
make edible paint
Once it’s cool enough to touch comfortably, you are ready to paint!
 
If you are using this paint on paper, you will probably want to use a ton of food coloring or liquid watercolors. I always quit adding color when it looks bright and saturated, but when it dries it never ends up very vibrant. If you use more than you think you need and apply the paint super liberally, you’ll probably have a brighter end result.
play with homemade edible paint
Another great thing about this paint is that cleaning it up on any surface, or even skin, is a breeze with just a little soap and water. It’s never stained a shirt or tiny hand in my experience.
play with homemade edible paint
One last tip: you’ve gotta use this gel paint the day you make it because it does NOT store well. It all turns into a hard gunk chunk which I guess would still be pretty rad for sensory play, but paint-wise, not so great.
play with homemade edible paint
There you have it! Happy squishing…and tasting! 😉
feet with homemade edible paint

More DIY Paint Recipes

Popular Homemade Paint for Preschool, an inexpensive paint that kids can “waste”
Homemade finger paint with flour and water

About Cara

Cara Huff is a homeschooling stay-at-home momma of one with a passion for picture books, hands-on learning, & ALL things creative! If you like this project, you can find all of Cara’s other rainbow-colored ideas on Instagram, her blog RaisingKinley.com, and on Facebook.

easy edible finger paint

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5 Comments

  1. Wow a very nice activity for my toddlers who has just starting to explore messy play activities, Thanks a lot for an activity that will makes my children love it at the same time explore and be creative on learning while playing.

  2. Great recipe! My baby and my preschooler loved the finger paint so much I wish I’d made a triple batch! We will definitely be making it again

  3. I’m looking forward to trying out the recipe! Would it work as well with potato starch instead of corn starch?

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