Edible Finger Paint Recipe for Toddlers

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If you’re looking for an easy and fun activity to do with your toddler, try making our edible finger paint recipe. Children of all ages (even adults!) love it not just toddlers.

It’s no secret kids love to touch and to make messes. I think that’s why they love finger painting so much. It’s like getting permission to the break rules and get messy. Either way, my daughter loves it and we try to get artistically messy a couple times a week.

Finger painting for toddlers is a fun activity where they can express themselves through art. It’s fun and creative and helps develop their motor skills. It’s also a great bonding experience between parents and children. 

But finger painting with traditional mediums like acrylic, oil and even some store bought finger paints for kids isn’t always safe. Kids can easily get paint on their fingers and then lick their fingers clean.

If you want to try finger painting with your toddler but don’t want to worry about the mess, here’s a recipe for edible finger paint that’s easy to make and safe for kids to ingest. 

How do you make homemade finger paint?

We bought a few varieties of finger paints and liked them all well enough but last night we decided to make our own. I found a few recipes online and had quite a few duds.

homemade finger paint recipe

But after some tweaking, I came up with this easy, edible finger paint recipe that is the perfect consistency. Our recipe uses non-toxic ingredients commonly found in your kitchen – like food coloring, corn starch, sugar and salt. 

Because it uses ingredients I almost always have around the house, it’s super inexpensive to make.

What kind of food coloring should I use to make finger paints?

We love Wilton Gel Colors (they have fun neon colors too!) for the best vibrancy and colors, but we only had the old school regular food coloring drops this time. Icing coloring is an excellent option as well.

Any of them work and when your daughter wants to paint, she’s not going to wait for the Amazon delivery in 2 days.

How much food coloring I do use?

The general rule for food coloring is to start small. Very small. A little goes a LONG way so I recommend starting with just one drop and then mixing thoroughly. If the color isn’t quite dark enough or the right hue, add one more drop and mix again.

homemade finger paint recipe

But in toddler world, especially when they are helping – any amount is fine. In the photos we (and I mean she) went a little overboard with a squirt instead of a couple drops. Oh well, our fingers were stained over night but that’s okay!

How do I mix other colors from Primary Colors?

The proper way to mix different colors of paint is to do so with just the colors you are mixing (for instance red and blue to make purple), before adding it to your base. You can do this with small amounts in a spoon or a paint palette. Of course, kids will be kids and if they want to mix the colors right into the finger paint base instead – feel free!

The most basic sets of paint will include the primary colors – red, yellow and blue. From these three colors you can theoretically get all other colors! Here are some recommended mixtures to use as a guide for making finger paint colors.

How to make secondary colors

There are three secondary colors – green, orange, and violet. They are made from mixing two primary colors. Their hue is basically half way between the two primary colors that were used to make them.

  • Red + Yellow = Orange
  • Red + Blue = Violet (Purple)
  • Blue + Yellow = Green
color wheel

How to make tertiary colors

There are six tertiary colors – red-orangered-violetyellow-greenyellow-orangeblue-green and blue-violet. They are made by mixing a primary color with an adjacent secondary color.

  • Red + Orange = red orange
  • Red + Violet = red violet
  • Green + Yellow = yellow green
  • Yellow + Orange = yellow orange
  • Blue + Green = blue green
  • Blue + Violet = blue violet

To make Black mix all three primary colors in equal amounts Red + Yellow + Blue.

To make brown mix Red + Green.

If you want to make lighter colors like pink, just use less red coloring or you can mix in white.

How long can you store DIY Finger Paints?

Your finger paints will last 3-4 days at room temperature in an airtight container.

homemade non toxic finger paint recipe
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What should I use as containers for the paints?

Since they may get knocked over, we recommend using plastic bowls or short cups for this project. This is also a great spot to reuse things you might normally just throw away.

For instance, we like to save up used plastic food containers, especially the ones with lids – think sour cream, butter, deli meats, salsa, etc. You don’t have to worry about staining them and the lids make them easy to put away for later.

What are the baby wipes for?

What are baby wipes NOT used for? Non-parents always seem to associate baby wipes only with diapers, but after you become a parent you realize how multi-purpose they are, right? You transcend from wiping bottoms to wiping hands and faces, toys, car seats, to your own armpits (come on, be honest).

homemade finger paint recipe

You don’t necessarily¬†need¬†the wipes for this project. But even though my daughter no longer is in diapers, I keep them around for a quick chemical-free clean up. I find that they are especially useful during craft time.

More fun crafts to make with your kids

Edible Finger Paint Recipe

It paints on paper just like store bought but twice the fun since we made it together! Did I mention it’s also equally as messy? She ended up with it all over her hands, face and even the counter and floor. With it’s simple ingredients I didn’t have to worry about the dogs or her eating it.

I’d love to see the masterpieces you make! Please tag us on Instagram @CraftsandPrintables so we can reshare.

how to make homemade finger paint
Yield: 2 cups

How to Make Edible Finger Paint

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $5

If you're looking for an easy way to get creative with your kids, then this edible finger paint recipe is perfect for you. It's super simple to make and requires only four ingredients.


  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Food coloring
  • Baby wipes (for clean up!)


  1. homemade finger paint recipeMix all of the ingredients together except for the food coloring...and the wipes, of course, directly into a sauce pan.

    TIP: I kept the burner off so that Maddilyn could take part in this step too.
  2. homemade finger paint recipeOnce you've mixed all the ingredients together, give yourself a thumbs up. You just accomplished the hardest part and you didn't even make too much mess. (Ahem, again the wipes are really handy here.)
  3. homemade finger paint recipeCook the mixture over low heat between 10 and 15 minutes. Just until it starts to thicken.

    NOTE: It's important to stir continuously because the cornstarch will settle to the bottom. 
  4. You'll know when it's finished when it forms this sort of petroleum jelly-like consistency. Basically, very goopy.
  5. homemade finger paint recipePour the homemade paint into some small bowls to cool. It helps if you pre-decide how many colors you'd like too make so you can set out the appropriate number of bowls and containers. 
  6. homemade finger paint recipeDepending on the size of your bowls, add a couple drops food coloring to each and stir to mix creating the colors you want.
  7. homemade finger paintThat's it! You're ready to paint. Have fun!

Did you make this project?

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