4-Ingredient Homemade Finger Paint: A Fun, Cheap, & EASY Way to Keep Kids Busy

Mar 23, 2021 | Baby and Kids, DIY, Recipes

Are you running out of rainy day ideas? Keep those little hands busy with this homemade finger paint recipe. It is super easy and cheap to make, and tons of fun!

girl playing with finger paint at home, from Fun Cheap or Free

Let's face it. Kids LOVE to make messes… like, ALL. THE. TIME. Instead of watching them destroy the house (again), why not help them channel that energy into a beautiful (sort of) work of art? And we know what you're thinking, but don't panic. We'll even show you how to keep all that paint in a well-contained area, so the cleanup's a breeze.

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It doesn't get much easier than this homemade finger paint recipe. You only need four ingredients, and we bet you have them all, so let's do this, you guys. You're just minutes away from a batch of homemade finger paint that will last for days!


little girl using finger paint, from Fun Cheap or Free

We love to let our older kids help out when we make this homemade finger paint recipe because it is SO easy! While there is some cooking involved, you can have your kiddos help you add ingredients or stir while it's on the stove. Just make sure you supervise closely, so they don't get burned!

If you're worried about letting your more adventurous little family members around the stove, we get that! Let them add in the food coloring once the paint mixture has cooled. Point out how the colors change as you add in more drops of color. It's like a min-science lesson but way more fun! Our kids love to watch the magic happen.


girl using DIY finger paint at home, from Fun Cheap or Free

We can all agree that painting is fun, right? But you know what's not so fun? Trying to get purple fingerprints out of the carpet? Let's spare you the drama! Once you make your homemade finger paint, here are four tips for keeping the messes to a minimum:

  • Use Ice Trays- Place each color into a separate section of an ice cube tray. You could try bowls, but we find the smaller sections of paint keep the mess from getting too out of control. Ramekins or muffin tins work, too! Grab a few the next time you're shopping at The Dollar Tree.
  • Condiment Squirt Bottles, For the Win – Save those mustard and ketchup bottles and keep them with your craft supplies! They make the perfect storage containers for homemade finger paint! Just remember, this paint isn't edible, so make sure little fingers stay out of their mouths! (P.S. we DO have an EDIBLE finger paint recipe here!)
  • Turn Old T-Shirts into Smocks – You know that old t-shirt you've been hanging on to since high school? The one that doesn't fit anymore. Well, it's time for that bad boy to shine! Old clothes make the perfect smocks for budding artists.
  • Take the Party to the Bathtub – Strip your toddlers down to their diapers or undies, and place them in an empty bathtub with their squirt bottles or muffin tins of paint. Now, grab a book, sit back, and relax while they go to town painting the inside of the tub!

This homemade finger paint is completely safe to wash down the drain when playtime is over. Turn on the water to rinse out the tub, then fill it up to rinse off your kids. We like to call that multitasking around here. #MomWin


Are you ready to have some fun? The time is here! Let's make paint you guys. This colorful concoction comes together in a few minutes with just four ingredients. Here we go!

4-Ingredient Homemade Finger Paint

We love how easy this recipe is, and we really LOVE that it's affordable to make. Oh, and did we mention it's a great way to keep your kids entertained? #MomWin


  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Corn Starch
  • 1/4 cup Clear Liquid Dish Soap
  • 2 cups Cold Water


  • Mix sugar and corn starch together in a pan over low heat. Slowly add in cold water.
  • Cook over low heat, stirring often until it becomes like a clear liquid gel. (About 5 minutes.)
  • Remove from heat and let the mixture cool.
  • Once cool, stir in dishwashing liquid.
  • Divide into containers and add food coloring.


We found that putting the mixture from the stove directly into the fridge helped it to cool much faster, making our impatient little hearts happy! Spread it out in a wide casserole dish to allow it to cool even quicker.


finger paint in ice tray, from Fun Cheap or Free

Store leftover paint in an airtight container (or use the condiment bottles with lids) and it will last for weeks. Want to get really creative? Keep your paint in the ice trays, drop in a few popsicle sticks, and let that finger paint freeze. The next time your kids are feeling crafty, pull out those “paintsicles” and let them go to town. Just remember to keep an eye on them because this paint isn't edible!

Pretty stinking cool, huh? We're so excited for you and the kiddos to try this one. Store leftover paint in an airtight container (or use the condiment bottles with lids), and it will last for weeks.

Have you ever made homemade finger paint? Tell us your favorite way to use it in the comments below!

Image with text that reads "4-ingredient homemade finger paint" from Fun Cheap or Free

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Now go let your little Van Gogh paint the town!


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