Kid Safe Homemade Finger Paint

It doesn’t have to be complicated for kids to love finger painting. Using simple ingredients, you can make nontoxic paint that is safe for your little ones and the environment. Plus, it’s so easy! So let them get creative with their artistic freedom in this fun activity.


Finger painting is a wonderful method for children as young as 6 months to experience the excitement and satisfaction of making something new. It does not need any specific skills or equipment. It also promotes hand-eye coordination and creativity and the ability to hold children’s attention for extended periods (always a plus for busy caregivers). Commercial finger paints, especially those claiming to be harmless, may include ingredients you don’t want splattered all over your loved one’s delicate skin and lips. Let’s look at some of the ingredients that may be included in commercial finger paints. Then keep reading to find out how to make simple DIY finger paint.

Store-Bought Finger Paint

Crayola, one of the most well-known suppliers of art materials for children, guarantees customers that common allergies are never utilized in its products. Peanuts, tree nuts, and eggs are among them. Even yet, a number of them do include wheat. While finger paint producers aren’t obliged to disclose what’s in their goods, wheat/gluten, mannitol, polyethylene glycol, sodium benzoate (a preservative), mineral oil, different artificial food colorings, and synthetic smells are all potentially hazardous substances.


Cooking starch with water results in a thick liquid or gel. Many water-based paints, including finger paints, may be made using this. However, gluten may be present in the paint if wheat or rye starch is utilized. Having such paint on their hands or accidentally consuming any of it might cause a response in a youngster with gluten sensitivity or wheat allergy.


This sugar alcohol is used in foods as a low-calorie sweetener and as a urination-inducing medication. It’s also been demonstrated to boost the absorption of other drugs via the skin.

PEG: polyethylene glycol

This synthetic compound is a byproduct of converting crude petroleum and natural gas into fuels. It’s found in harmless antifreeze and is used to give foods, cosmetics, and other items a smooth, creamy feel. The water-soluble additive is considered safe by the FDA, and it is definitely safer than some of the substances it has replaced. However, there are many unanswered uncertainties concerning its health impacts, particularly for newborns.

Sodium Benzoate

This antimicrobial preservative stops bacteria from breaking down the product or making you or your kid sick. But unfortunately, it has the potential to become a carcinogen under certain circumstances.

Mineral Oil

Mineral oil is derived from petroleum and is utilized in various goods due to its low cost and lack of rancidity. However, it may also produce rashes in those who are allergic to it.

Colors Manufactured

Every year, millions of pounds of artificial food dyes are used in meals, drinks, cosmetics, and other consumer items in the United States. Unfortunately, many of them have been found to aggravate skin rashes, asthma attacks, and behavioral issues in children, such as hyperactivity and ADHD. Some of them have even been related to malignancies in children.

How to Make Your Own Finger Paint at Home

Now that you know what’s in that tube or bottle of brilliantly colored “nontoxic” finger paint be assured that making homemade finger paint without any of those substances is simple (and affordable).

Everyone benefits from homemade finger paint, but it’s particularly crucial if your kid has allergies or delicate skin. It’s also useful to know since you probably already have everything you need in your pantry to manufacture at least a handful of colors without having to go to the shop.

All you need is a starch (corn starch or all-purpose flour if gluten isn’t a problem), a pinch of salt, and some natural color. The starch granules absorb the water and expand when dried starch is combined with water and cooked. Gelatinization is the term for this procedure. It results in a thick, gel-like consistency.

Total Time: Approximately 3 Cups

Serves: 3


  • 1 cup cornstarch OR 1/2 cup cornstarch + 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 quarts liquid
  • 1 tablespoon salt (fine)
  • Organic food coloring
  • 1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid (optional)

Salt aids gelatinization and prevents water from separating from the final product. In addition, distinct starches provide different gel textures.

  • Cornstarch forms a smooth, transparent gel that adheres to the slippery paper.
  • All-purpose flour generates a more opaque gel with less flexibility than corn starch because it includes gluten, fiber, and starch. However, for finger painting, both gels work nicely.
  • When cooked with water, other gluten-free flours and flour blends will all form gels, but you may need to add more or less water to reach the desired texture. If the gel is too sticky and stretchy to function as a finger paint, you may need to add a few starches, such as arrowroot. You’ll have to experiment a bit to discover how your favorite gluten-free flour performs.

It’s simple to make your own finger paint. In a saucepan, combine the dry ingredients. Then carefully drizzle in cold water, constantly whisking to create a silky, milky liquid. Cook and stir regularly until the liquid thickens and becomes translucent. Fill tiny dishes or jars with basic gel. Add a few drops of liquid dish soap and a few drops of all-natural food coloring (for easy cleanup later). If the gel is too thick, add a bit more water.


  • If your paint is too thick, add a little water at a time until you have a thick, creamy paint that spreads smoothly and doesn’t drip. If it thickens after cooling, repeat the process.
  • For distributing and storing homemade fingerpaint, empty plastic squeeze bottles are ideal.
  • A few drops of liquid dish detergent added to the paint makes it shinier. It also speeds up the cleaning process.
  • Add a teaspoon of fine sand to give one color a rough feel and offer variation to the sensory experience.
  • Use newspaper or a wipeable tablecloth to cover the table. Give your youngster an old shirt or a paint smock to make cleaning simpler.
  • Finger painting is best done on glossy paper. It’s ideal if you have a roll of parchment paper on hand.
  • Keep any leftover paint in the fridge.
  • Instead of boiled starch, use vanilla pudding as a basis for edible fun (a white plate makes a good canvas for this project).
  • Mix a few teaspoons of corn starch with a few tablespoons of your favorite gel soap or shampoo to form a thick paste for bathtime fun. A few droplets of color may be added. Then, before washing out, let the youngsters paint themselves and the tub!
  • Put a couple of teaspoons of paint in a big zip-lock bag for no-mess enjoyment. Squeeze out the air and securely close the bag. Without ever touching the paint, little hands may have a lot of fun moving it about.

Food Coloring Alternatives

Look in your cabinet for food powders with bright colors:

  • Turmeric is a vivid orange-yellow color.
  • Goji powder is a reddish-brown powder.
  • Purple is created by using acai berry powder.
  • Greens powder produces a yellowish-green color.
  • Annatto seed powder (achiote molido) makes a brilliant orange color.

You may also produce your own food colorings by extracting the pigment from colorful vegetables like beets or spinach by boiling them in water. For example, to produce one color of homemade finger paint at a time, replace the water in the recipe with juice or cooking water. Alternatively, boil the juice or cooking water to form a concentrate to add to the cooked gel. For detailed instructions on making your own food coloring made from organic ingredients, see this post on SuperFoodly.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I make my kids paint-safe at home?

A: The best way to make paint-safe is by using a respirator and wearing gloves.

How do you make edible finger paint for babies?

A: To make edible finger paint, one should first mix together a thick paste of cornstarch and water. Then add food coloring to the mixture until it reaches desired color intensity. One can also use sugar syrup or glycerin for different effects. Finally, one can dip fingers in this mixture before pressing them on paper plates that have been dusted with flour

How can I make finger paint at home?

A: Finger paint is made of water, glycerin soap or liquid detergent, food coloring, and corn starch.

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FDA Compliance

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.


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