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Homemade Edible Finger Paint

Homemade Edible Paint - Safe for Babies and Toddlers

Homemade Edible Finger Paint is perfect for babies aged 6-18 months , toddlers and children who are more likely to place paint covered fingers into their mouths. It is also a great paint for their ‘first’ painting experiences when you are unsure if bub is going to try and consume the paint.

This Homemade Edible Paint Recipe is super easy to make and uses regular items found in the cupboard. It is safe for children to put into their mouths but bland and not tasty to discourage eating the paint.  It is not a sweet or sticky paint and has a wonderful smooth texture….perfect for finger painting sensory play!

What you will need?

Ingredients to make homemade paint


4 Tablespoons of corn flour (corn starch)

Cold water

1 Cup of boiling water

Liquid food colouring


I have played around with this method a few times and find this process the most successful for me in get a great consistency for the homemade paint.

  1. In a medium saucepan, mix the cornflour with enough cold water to make a paste. (Not too runny).
  2. Pour in 1 cup of boiling water and stir thoroughly so there are no lumps.
  3. Turn on medium heat on the stove and mix. The mixture will start to change and you will notice some clear streaks forming in the mixture. Once you see this, turn off the heat and continue stirring. It will start to thicken and turn into a wonderful, custard-like consistency.
  4. Spoon equal amounts into empty jars, cups or containers and add food colouring. Mixing until completely combined. For each colour, we added 3 drops of yellow, green, red and blue. To make orange, we added 1 drop of red and 2 yellow and to make purple, we added 1 drop of blue and 2 red.
  5. Store in the fridge covered with cling wrap for up to 2 weeks. This paint recipe does not have any preservative in it, so it is important to check that the paint has not expired before giving it to children.

Tip: If the mixture has harden from being in the fridge, adding a little bit of boiling hot water or leave the paint our for a few hours will return to its smooth consistency.

Let’s Play

Homemade Finger Paint

One of the things I really love about this Homemade Finger Paint is that it washes out of clothes easily and is so easy to clean up.

Let’s Learn

Easy to make homemade finger paint for babies

This activity is great for babies, toddlers and children of all ages and abilities as it is open-ended and unstructured. It provides an opportunity to explore the paint safely and freely.  Children will enjoy using their fingers to make marks with the paint in their own way.

Learning Opportunities

Homemade Edible Finger Paint

Homemade Edible Finger Paint encourages learning and development in a number of ways:

  • Creativity and expression
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Hand-Eye Coordination and Control
  • Cause and Effect
  • Concentration
  • Language development
  • Exploring the senses and discovering new textures

44 thoughts on “Homemade Edible Finger Paint”

  1. Patricia Streatfeild

    I am a day care mum the instructions were easy but maybe my cornflour is heavier needed more water.
    but made 9 different colors and the kids loved it. I was still warm so the little ones loved to run their fingers through it. Will make it again. Great activity to promote imagination experiences, tactile sensation and so many more learning areas.

  2. Help! I must hv done something wrong. My paint hardens when cooled and it’s more like a jelly than a smooth paint. What did i do wrong? Too little water? Insufficient cooking?

    1. Hi Faith,

      I am not sure what has happened here but when we made our paint, the mixture only required a little bit of cooking. The timing of it can be a bit tricky. Sorry, I am not much help…good luck!

    2. I did the same thing! It was because I didn’t add enough cold water at the beginning. That made it even thicker which made it dry like jelly. It says not to make it too runny but I made it too thick trying to avoid that

  3. What is the shelf life? I work in a daycare (2-3 years) and this would be great if I can make it at home the night before and then bring it to work for my class.

    1. Hi Kristina, I have not needed to store the homemade finger paint, so I am unsure what to advise you. I have only ever made a enough for that day’s activity. I am sure you could store it in the fridge and add a little warm water to soften the paint when you would like to use it again.

      1. Hi Janice, when I made this my fingers were really stained and it didn’t wash out, making me very hesitant to let my little one loose on it! Did I use too much food dye maybe?

        1. Hi Orla, Thank you for your question. It may be possible that too much food dye may have been added and I understand your hesitancy. You may like to make another batch of paint (without food dye) and mix/dilute the coloured paint you have already made. I hope it all works out for you and your little one. All the best. x

  4. I used your homemade paint recipe on our Thankful Tree since my 1 year old LOVES to eat paint and it worked like a charm! I linked back to you on my blog post. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  5. I love this! definitely going to be useful for my child development activities and i hope my child will enjoy it 🙂

  6. I love this! definitely going to be useful for my child development activities and i hope my child will enjoy it 🙂

  7. When my kids were small I made edible paint with vanilla instant pudding and colored it with vegetable based dye.
    They loved it.

  8. Love this idea. My recipe didnt come out so good, it was more jelly and chuncky but she still had fun. We painted pumpkins today. Not sure if the jelly well stick and stay on. It was still fun. My babies first paint experience.

  9. Just made one myself. It turned out beautiful. I used small bags of corn flour and quite a lot of water. It was quite runny and cooked in a small fire stirred all the time until all mixed. Will see tomorrow when I played my toddler group . Will post again. Thank you for the recipe!

  10. Awesome idea!! I’m wondering how it dry out on paper cards. Have you tried using this paint on cards yet?

  11. This was great! As a stay-at-home mom, I’m always thinking of or looking for something to do with my 20 month old. This was perfect since she’s never really used paints before. The one time that we did, she tried to eat it. This recipe is great for that! She tasted it and said, “yucky” and didn’t care to do it again. That will teach her to not eat it. Also, No big mess afterwards, we just did a simple wipe down. Thank you! We will do this regularly until she’s old enough to use other paints!

  12. Where can I find those cup stands that you’ve used? My 15month old loves to spill everything out and inspect everything! Those cup holders are a must to have a proper activity. Please guide.

    1. HI Sophia, The cup holders I used during this post are paint palettes. If you search ‘kids paint palette’ you may be able to find what you are looking for. They are great for little fingers and spills. Good luck and thanks.

  13. Hi Janice,
    If my baby used this to paint a picture, would the picture survive long term??

    I’d love to keep her first ever ‘paintings’ but I’m worried that the home made paint would fade away over time?

  14. Thanks so much for this! I made it for my 9 month old nephew and it turned out great! I made it thicker (more like gel) since he’s so little!

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Picture of Hi and welcome to Learning 4 Kids!

Hi and welcome to Learning 4 Kids!

My name is Janice and I am an Early Childhood Teacher in Australia.

I have a strong passion and love for teaching and creating meaningful learning experiences for my students. What I love most is watching children discover in those amazing light bulb moments. I hope Learning4kids brings you some useful ideas.

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