How to Make Paint at Home (DIY Tempera Recipes & More)

Updated on April 26, 2020
Lily Rose profile image

I am a mom of two beautiful girls (10 & 12). We love to read, play, cook, shop and have fun together. I love to share great products/toys.

Use these DIY recipes to get creative with your children.
Use these DIY recipes to get creative with your children.

Even young toddlers begin to develop creative skills early on. Toddlers love to scribble on paper (or walls!), and some may have even discovered the joy of finger painting. To a child, it’s usually not so much what is created—it’s the process of working with different materials, textures, and colors that counts. Regardless of whether it’s the process or the finished product that holds your child’s interest, the craft materials listed here are essential for fun artwork. You’ll find easy recipes for paint here—and be sure to check out DIY playdough, glue, and paste, too!

The following are nine recipes that’ll produce good-quality paints for your kids to use. The ingredients as well as the preparation differ from recipe to recipe, so choose the one that's the best fit for you, based on the available supplies and time that you have.

9 Kid-Friendly Homemade Paint Recipes

  1. Flour-Based Poster Paint
  2. Cornstarch Paint
  3. Detergent Poster Paint
  4. Condensed Milk Paint
  5. Homemade Face Paint
  6. Halloween Face Paint
  7. Edible Egg-Yolk Paint
  8. Cornstarch Finger Paint
  9. Flour Finger Paint

Homemade DIY paint.
Homemade DIY paint.

Tips for Painting (and Keeping Clean) With Children

When mixing paint, keep in mind the age of your artists—younger children should have thicker paints and brushes. Also, store paints in covered containers; small, plastic spill-proof containers specifically for paint can be purchased. The containers incorporate airtight lids and they hold brushes upright without tipping. They cost just a few dollars and are well worth the price!

1. Flour-Based Poster Paint

Store this paint covered.


  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • Small jars or plastic containers
  • 3 tablespoons powdered tempera paint per container
  • 2 tablespoons water per container
  • ½ teaspoon liquid starch or liquid detergent per container (optional)


  1. Measure flour into saucepan, then slowly add 1 cup of water while stirring constantly to make a smooth paste.
  2. Heat, continuing to constantly stir, until it begins to thicken a bit. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. Measure ¼ cup of the cooled paste into each small container.
  4. Add 3 tablespoons of the powdered tempera paint and 2 tablespoons of water to each container. For a matte finish, add the liquid starch. If you prefer a glossy finish, add the liquid detergent.

2. Cornstarch Paint

Store this one in the refrigerator.


  • Medium saucepan
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • Small jars or plastic containers
  • Tempera paint (dry or liquid)


  1. Measure cornstarch into the saucepan. Add the cold water to the cornstarch and stir them to make a smooth paste.
  2. Stir in the boiling water and place the saucepan over medium-low heat. Continue stirring until it boils.
  3. Boil for 1 minute, then remove pan from heat and allow to cool.
  4. Spoon about ½ cup of the thickened cornstarch mixture into each container, using a different cup for each color.
  5. For each color, stir one teaspoon dry tempera paint or 1 tablespoon liquid tempera paint into the cornstarch mixture (if you want a more intense color, add more paint.)
  6. If the paint is too thick, stir in 1 teaspoon of water at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.

3. Detergent Poster Paint

This recipe makes the perfect quantity for one painting session.


  • Small jars or plastic containers
  • 1 tablespoon clear liquid detergent per container
  • 2 teaspoons powdered tempera paint per container


In each small container, stir together 2 teaspoons of the powdered tempera paint and 1 tablespoon of the liquid detergent.

4. Condensed Milk Paint

This can be stored covered in the refrigerator.

Note: This paint is not intended to be eaten, but should your child decide to make a snack of it, it won’t hurt him or her.


  • Bowl
  • 1 cup condensed milk
  • Food coloring


In the bowl, stir 1 cup condensed milk with several drops of the food coloring to make a really bright, glossy paint.

5. Homemade Face Paint

This paint removes easily with soap and water. Store this one covered.



  1. In each container, stir cornstarch and cold cream until it’s blended well.
  2. Add water and mix well.
  3. Add the food coloring one drop at a time until you get your desired color.
  4. Paint small designs on the face with a small paintbrush.

6. Halloween Face Paint

This also removes easily with soap and water, and should be stored covered.


  • Bowl
  • 1 tablespoon soild shortening
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Food coloring
  • Water (optional)
  • Small jar or plastic container


  1. In the bowl, mix the shortening and cornstarch until it’s smooth.
  2. Add food coloring, one drop at a time, until you get your desired color.
  3. Use a sponge or fingers to apply the paint to a large area, like the entire face. If you want to use a small brush to apply it, you’ll want to thin the paint a little bit with a little water.

7. Edible Egg-Yolk Paint


  • Small jars or plastic containers
  • 1 egg yolk per container
  • ¼ teaspoon water per container
  • Food coloring


  1. In each small container or jar, stir one egg yolk with ¼ teaspoon water and many drops of food coloring.
  2. Use a paint brush to apply paint to freshly-baked cookies.
  3. Return the cookies to the oven until the paint hardens.

8. Cornstarch Finger Paint

Store covered.


  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • Medium saucepan
  • 2 cups cold water
  • Muffin tin (or small cups)
  • Food coloring
  • Soap flakes or liquid dishwashing detergent


  1. Mix the sugar and cornstarch in the saucepan. Turn on the heat to low setting.
  2. Add the cold water and stir until the mixture thickens. Remove pan from heat.
  3. Divide the mixture into four of five portions, spooning it into the muffin sections or small cups.
  4. Add a few drops of food coloring and a pinch of soap flakes (or a drop of liquid detergent) to each portion.
  5. Stir, then let cool before using.

9. Flour Fingerpaint

Store this one covered and in the refrigerator.


  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • Saucepan
  • 1 ½ cups cold water
  • Wire whisk or egg beater
  • 1 ¼ cups hot water
  • Food coloring or tempera paint


  1. Pour flour and salt into the saucepan.
  2. Add cold water and beat with whisk or egg beater until it’s smooth.
  3. Add the hot water and boil until the mixture is thick.
  4. Beat it again until it’s smooth.
  5. Color it as desired with the food coloring or powdered paint.


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    Post Comment
    • Lily Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Lily Rose 

      9 years ago from A Coast

      Thank you - and best of luck to you finding your craft "niche" and being successful at it so you can take that trip!

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 

      9 years ago from West Virginia

      Voted up and useful Lily. I believe this is very cool. Great article. I enjoy all the crafts. I am currently thinking of ideas on what I could make and sell so I can go see my kids this summer. Thanks a million.

    • Lily Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Lily Rose 

      9 years ago from A Coast

      That's exactly why I wrote it - for you and everyone else like you!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks much for sharing these recipes. I will love having them handy.

    • Lily Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Lily Rose 

      9 years ago from A Coast

      Hi Wordscribe - you're back?! I'm glad you found this useful and I hope you have fun with it.

      We did have a great summer - thank you. I'm happy that it's coming to a close, too - I'm ready for it to cool down now! Wow, you have a great memory! I don't even remember where it was that I refered to my inground pool as indoor! So funny!

    • wordscribe43 profile image

      Elsie Nelson 

      9 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

      Oh, my! How fun!!! My kids love painting and are always diving into my acrylics. I am all over this.

      Hope you are well and had a great summer with the girls in your (indoor- hehehe) swimming pool.

    • breakfastpop profile image


      10 years ago

      Once again great ideas. I'll think I'l try a few.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      10 years ago from London, UK

      Another super advice and super hub. Thank you very much


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