10 Recipes for Homemade Art Supplies

Image: Stock Xchng

During these cold, snowy, winter days, art projects can be a homeschool mom’s best friend! They are for this homeschool mama. Art projects give us something to do when we are stuck inside, and keep the kids off of the television & video games when they are bored. While it is important to have store-bought, quality art supplies at times, having recipes for homemade versions (especially for my little one) using household ingredients is great because the supplies are inexpensive, and I can keep making more when we run out!

Fingerpaint - In a small saucepan, mix together 1/4 cup cornflour and 2 cups of water. Add food coloring to get to desired color. Boil until mixture thickens, then allow to cool. Pour into lidded containers to store.

Watercolor paint - Simply mix together 3 tablespoons corn starch, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons corn syrup, 3 tablespoons baking soda, and 3 tablespoons white vinegar. Pour into separate containers with lids for use & storage. Mix in a few drops of food coloring into each container to make different colors.

Puffy paint - In a bowl, mix together equal parts of flour, salt, and water. Mix in tempera paint for color. Pour into squeeze bottle for use and storage. {Note: I haven’t made this yet, so I am assuming the tempera paint is supposed to be the powdered kind. Please comment if you know.}

Playdough – Combine 2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup of salt, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, and a cup of boiling water until you get a playdough consistency. Store in a ziplock bag when not in use. You can add a few drops of food coloring for color, or a packet of Kool-aid for color and scent!

Flubber - In one bowl, stir together 3/4 cup warm water, 1 cup of glue, and food coloring to get the color you want. In a second bowl, stir together 1/2 cup water and 2 teaspoons of Borax (find by the laundry soap in the store). Pour the first mix into the second bowl and you have flubber! Just reach in and pull out the chunk of flubber (pour out the extra liquid).

Bath crayons - Grate a bar of soap until you have about 1 cup. Mix with 1 cup of hot water until the gratings are melted and you have a stiff dough. Mix in a few drops of food coloring for color. Press the dough into molds (you can use candy or soap molds from a craft store) and allow to harden.

Lick & stick stickers – Pour 2 tablespoons of cold water into a bowl and sprinkle 1 packet of plain gelatin over it. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of boiling water until gelatin is dissolved. Add 1/2 tablespoon corn syrup and a few drops of flavored extract for taste. Apply a thin layer of this solution to the back of whatever you want to make into a “sticker”. Let it completely dry, and there you have it – your child can simply lick and stick when ready!

Bubble mix - Mix together 6 cups of water, 2 cups of liquid dishwashing soap, and 3/4 cup corn syrup or liquid gycerine. Allow to sit for a couple of hours before using to blow bubbles!

Sidewalk chalk - In a bowl, mix together 1/3 cup quick-setting plaster of paris, 1 tablespoon of powdered paint for color, and 3 tablespoons water. Quickly spoon mixture into soap or candy molds (from a craft store), or into cookie cutters set on wax paper. Tap to remove air bubbles. Allow to dry for 45 minutes, then carefully remove from mold or cookie cutters.

Chalkboard paint - Paint a chalkboard on your wall, a kids’ tabletop, anywhere you want to be able to write with chalk! Mix 2 tablespoons of tile grout for every 1 cup of paint. Apply at least 2 coats of paint to your surface, and when it dries smooth it with 150-grit sandpaper. Before using any chalkboard, its best to turn a piece of chalk sideways and color the entire surface once, then wipe off with a damp cloth. This “conditions” your new chalkboard.

Source: These recipes come from my manilla folder filled with cut-out arts & crafts recipes saved over the last decade of homeschooling! Enjoy!

Need ideas for art projects? I just love Art Projects for Kids. It is a free blog resource that was created by a woman with an arts degree. There are over 500 projects currently on the blog, and she adds a new one nearly every day. The projects are targeted for K-5 (and beyond), and cover all sorts of art projects.

You can find Tanya doing arts & crafts and other homeschool activities over at Homeschooling x3. She is also the food writer for Knoxville Examiner.

This post is linked to Helpful Homeschool Hints, Top Ten Tuesday, and Frugal Fridays.


  1. My only problem is I have SO many things I want to make, I’m not sure where this will shake out on the long list. But I love it so much, I had to share it on my own blog. (Hope that’s okay!) Thank you for gathering this info for so long…

    • Thanks, Trina! Of course it is okay to share, and thank you so much for that. Getting the kids to help make the supplies, not just use them, makes it easier and more fun to get done!

      By the way, I love how you talk about everyone getting the same 24 hours in every day. I say that often to myself, and remind myself that how I choose to use those 24 hours is what makes the difference.


  2. Thanks for sharing these recipes, I am definitely going to make some up with my little one.

  3. Thanks for posting these recipes. Some of these art supplies, I didn’t know you could make at home. I’ve found this post very useful! I’ve linked up to your post on my weekly favorites here: http://play2grow.blogspot.com/2011/01/weekly-favorites-for-january-23-2011.html

    • Thanks for featuring the article in your list, Darcy. What a neat idea for a blog – community for childcare providers. Very neat.

  4. These are great! So many fun things to try. We love making our own supplies.
    Thanks for sharing your amazing finds.

  5. This is great! I’m all for making our own supplies because it means I don’t have to drive all over the place trying to figure out where they’d sell that in Germany :)

    Tweeting this later as txblond!

  6. Great resource. Always nice to know what’s in the art supplies, esp. since they often end up in the mouth.

  7. I LOVE this. What great info to have all in one place. I do feel like we are always trying to fit everything in…a science experiment, crafting, cooking or playing a game. So much fun and not enough time.

  8. Great ideas! I’m so glad I found you! I just had to feature you on my facebook fan page!

  9. I work in a daycare and these are perfect for a tight budget! I also have made puffy paint with glue, shaving cream and liquid water color. I dries nice and puffy, just another suggestion in case you would like to try it too. Thank you for some great new ideas!

  10. Great ideas and so much fun. Karen

  11. marilyn jennings says:

    ty so much. I cannot wait to try all of the homemade art supplies.

  12. Sara @ Mom Endeavors says:

    We made a version of puff paint this winter and called it “snow paint”. It dries soft and puffy. http://www.momendeavors.com/2011/01/snow-paint.html
    Would be totally fun to try it with some food coloring too! :)

    • Thanks for sharing, Sara! Now snow paint definitely looks like something my little one would have a blast with. What a great site you have – so many fun ideas!

  13. These are all such great ideas! I just wanted to say we have made the puffy paint you mention in this post and used regular tempera paint, not the powdered kind. My son LOVED it! It was a lot of fun and I had to make another batch that same day. I think tempera powder would work too, but might make it a bit thicker. Ours was a good consistency, but if you use the powder you could always add a bit more water until the consistency is just right.

    • Ooh, thanks soooo much for clarifying this for us all! I was hoping someone would chime in. I’m glad you had fun! And I love your site – so many great activities.

  14. Thanks so much for these art recipes! Commercial supplies can be so expensive, and these certainly help those of us on tight budgets! Hmmm…I wonder now how I could spin these recipes into science lessons on color and light? :)

  15. So excited to try some of these! How inexpensive and easy they seem! Thanks!

  16. I am going to school to become a teacher, and these are great recipes to have on hand! Love it!

  17. Thank-you so much for these recipes! I’ve seen others, but your list is the most comprehensive and easiest to follow. Thanks again! My babe is only 6 months old, but I can’t wait to share these projects with him. :)

  18. Can someone who’s made the bath crayons chime in? I tried making them and they turned out all wrong. Help?

  19. Hi! Any idea how long some of these items last for? I am looking for party favors for my son’s birthday and was hoping I could make them ahead of time by a few weeks to save myself stress!

  20. thank you for this site!!
    with the chalkboard paint, is there a certain kind of paint or color to use?

  21. Tempra paint may be purchased as a liquid or a powdered paint. We use the liquid kind in my classroom. It is washable and nontoxic.

  22. Awesome recepies! I can’t wait to try these :) Wanted to share one of my personal favorites – Ice Chalk! Perfect for your aspiring artist or budding scientist and lets kids experiment with temperature, color and texture: http://www.sophie-world.com/blog/you-made-it-i-love-it-ice-chalk

  23. Karly - Pullingers says:

    Fantastic suggestions Tanya! Making art supplies at home will not only be easier on your purse but it’s more environmentally friendly. You can also have a lot of fun making them! Thanks for sharing.


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