Homemade Art Supplies

Studio 5 Contributor Kiersten Blanchard shares some recipes and ideas for some homemade fun.

Finger Paints

These homemade finger paints are easy, always on hand, washable and nontoxic…especially comforting if you’ve ever found your little artist’s art supplies in a mouth instead of on the paper.




Food coloring

Containers for finger paint


In a medium saucepan, stir 4 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 cup cornstarch together; add 2 cups of cold water. Heat over medium heat until the mixture is thick. (Mine took about 8 minutes.) The mixture will further thicken as it cools. Divide into four or more containers, and add food coloring as desired.

Remember to let it cool a little so your artist’s fingers don’t get burned.

Sidewalk Chalk

With a few pieces of homemade chalk, your children can turn the sidewalk into a summer canvas for a colorful mural. Making your own supply of sturdy sticks is simple.


Toilet paper tubes

Duct tape

Wax paper

Disposable plastic cup (large)

Plaster of Paris

Powdered tempera paints

Plastic spoons


Make a mold by covering one end of the tissue tube with duct tape. Loosely roll up a piece of waxed paper and slip it into the tube. This lining will keep the plaster from sticking to the mold.

Measure 3/4 cup of warm water into a disposable plastic cup. Sprinkle in plaster a little at a time, until the powder no longer dissolves (about twice as much plaster as water). Stir slowly and thoroughly with a spoon. Then, mix in 2 or 3 tablespoons of tempera paint. For pastel shades, combine white tempera with a primary hue. Use a disposable spoon, or rinse the spoon under an outdoor faucet or in a jar filled with water to avoid clogging sink drains.

Place the mold sealed-end down on a level surface and pour in the wet plaster. Lightly tap the sides of the tube to release air bubbles in the plaster. Let the chalk harden for a couple of days. Then, remove the tape and slide the marking stick out of the mold.

Tip: You may want to cover your working surface with newspaper for easy clean up…the plaster and powdered paint can be a little messy.

Window Art

Don’t like the scene outside? Then change it! Kids can use this washable paint on windows and sliding glass doors to bring some color to an otherwise gray day.


Clear dishwashing liquid

Premixed tempera paints


For each color of paint, mix about 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid with 1/2 tablespoon of paint (the mixture should have the creamy consistency of house paint). Foil-lined muffin tins or slotted plastic containers work well for holding different colors.

Using a different brush for each hue, paint on the window, being careful to avoid sills and woodwork.

Tip: To remove the dried paint or fix a mistake, wipe it off with a moist paper towel.

Edible Play Dough

Follow the recipe to make easy, edible play dough. Then sculpt critters, animals, people…you decide. To decorate each sculpture or for eyes, ears, tails, and hair, use coconut, chocolate chips, fruit slices, raisins. And the best part…clean up is a cinch, and tasty too!


1 C. peanut butter

1 C. corn syrup

1-1/4 C. powdered sugar

1-1/4 C. powdered milk

Tip: When not using, dough MUST be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated. Next time you want to use it, let it come to room temperature for pliable dough.

Another Recipe:

1/3 c. margarine

1/3 c. light corn syrup

½ t. salt

1 t. vanilla extract

1 lb. powdered sugar

food coloring

Mix first 4 ingredients together. Add powdered sugar and knead dough. Divide and add food coloring.

Tip: You can replace vanilla with flavored extracts to give flavor other than plain sweetness.

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