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How to Make Your Own Washable Paint in the Kitchen

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I work full time, but my most important job is my job as a mom and wife.

Learn how to make your own washable paint—perfect for kids!

Learn how to make your own washable paint—perfect for kids!

How to Make Washable Paint

Tired of spending money on expensive paint? Make your own!

Do-it-yourself projects are a blast to do with your children. If you have ever experienced an unexpected rainy or snowy weekend and found yourself strapped for cash, keep the kids entertained by making your own paint for your future Picasso.


  • One cup of salt
  • One cup of all-purpose flour
  • One cup of water
  • Measuring cups
  • One whisk
  • One spoon
  • One package of food coloring1
  • Several bowls2

1. For brighter colors, use food coloring gel

2. If you save margarine, sour cream, or other types of plastic bowls, this is a great time to get them out and use them.

Second, prepare for the fun (and your sanity).

  1. Count the number of bowls you have to use (this determines how many colors you can make)
  2. Get the kids into paint-friendly clothing
  3. Prepare the paint area by covering it with trash bags (this protects your carpet and your back when it is clean-up time)
  4. Get your paintbrushes out3

3. If you don’t have paintbrushes in your arts and crafts kit, you have several options. One, get an old toothbrush out, zap it in the microwave for 30 seconds to kill any germs and you are ready to paint. Two, let your kids use your cookie cutters to make painted outlines and their fingers to finish the project. Third, if your kids have stamps, let them use the stamps, and they can save the ink pad.

Third, get your aprons on and get ready.

  1. Set all the bowls out in a row on the kitchen counter
  2. Add one cup of all-purpose flour to each bowl
  3. Add one cup of salt to each bowl
  4. Fill the measuring cup with one cup of water4
  5. Slowly pour in a third of the water with one hand and whisk the mixture with the other
  6. Continue this process until all the water is in each bowl5
  7. The next step is to add the food coloring6
  8. Use the spoon to mix the color thoroughly7
  9. Continue this process for each of your bowls

4. Warm water works best during this process

5. When adding the water and whisking, make sure you get the flour at the bottom of the bowl. This will help eliminate lumps in your paint!

6. If you want the color darker or bolder, add more food coloring. If you accidentally get it too dark, mix equal parts of all-purpose flour, salt, and water and add it to the dark mixture to lighten it up.

7. Wash the spoon between bowls to ensure the colors do not mix

Show Your Children Math Is Important and Fun With This Art Project

Whether your children are on the honor roll at their school or their math scores need a boost, this is a great way to help them from elementary to high school.

Elementary children start learning about fractions in second grade. Unfortunately, even adults struggle with fractions and measurement. A project like this helps children see the importance of math in everyday life.

Materials Needed

  • As many different types of measuring cups and spoons as you have

Idea for the project:

Show your children the size of each measuring amount (1/8, ¼, 1/3, ½, etc.)

Now begin your measurements

  1. Use one type of measurement for each bowl. Ask your child/children how many scoops of flour, salt, or water he/she will need to make one cup. While this seems silly, several children (and adults) forget a larger number in the denominator (bottom number of the fraction) does not mean a larger amount.
  2. Ask your child what size is the second smallest size. Talk to him/her to see what she thinks. IF he/she says the wrong size, then let them measure the next two sizes. Remember to laugh and joke around doing it. Don’t scold your child, even if they get the answer wrong every single time. Be patient with them. They will learn it better if they are having fun and enjoying themselves.
  3. Continue this process until all the bowls are filled.

Note: If you don’t know the measurements, prepare in advance, or print out the scale and keep it where only you can see it.

  • 1/8
  • ¼ = 2/8
  • 1/3
  • 3/8
  • ½ = 2/4 = 4/8
  • 2/3
  • ¾ = 6/8
  • 1= 2/2 = 4/4 = 3/3 = 8/8

Add a Dash of Science in the Recipe

After you have measured everything up and you are ready to make bright colors that pop, pull out a color wheel to guide you in your color creations. Once you begin adding the food coloring, you can see what colors you need to add to get colors that are not included in your food coloring package. This is a fun and simple way to include education in this fun, do-it-yourself project.


Kelley on October 30, 2016:

Is this really washable? Food coloring usually stains.