Easy Homemade Paint Recipe

We have made this easy homemade paint before, about 6 months ago now, and it was time to try it again with some new, delicious, candy colours! This time Pop was able to get in on the action too and it made for a nice combination of mixing and concocting, creativity and sensory investigation.


  •  1 cup water
  •  1 cup plain flour (all purpose)
  •  1 cup washing up liquid (dish soap)
  •  A big squeeze of food colouring per colour required


  • Start by mixing the flour and water in a big bowl until it’s completely smooth and no lumps are left
  • Stir in the washing up liquid
  • Pour the liquid into as many different containers as the number of colours you want. We used 4 jam jars
  • Add a big squirt of food colouring to each individual jar and mix it up!
  • It will be all frothy and bubbly to begin with, but settles down soon.

 Please note:

  • The nicer the washing up liquid brand, the better this seems to work. Eg last time we used Ecover (which has no SLS and therefore creates few bubbles) and that worked much better than this time, when I used a cheap supermarket own brand that was VERY bubbly! Still lots of fun but not as smooth and liquid-y. Experiment and see what happens! After all, that’s part of the process of investigation and learning!

 We took this outside, in the stunning 28 degree C late September weather (what on earth?!) and the girl had a fabulous time colour mixing and laying down the paint with paint brushes and old toothbrushes.

 Pop demonstrating the double-handed painting method. Fantastic for cross brain training!

And then they found some pine cones and started decorating those too, just for fun.

The paint is foamy and light, smells delicious and is very easy to make. The more colour that you add, the better it will show on paper. It looks lovely in the jars but I have found it doesn’t stay thin and ready to use for long. Perhaps adding a bit of hot water and giving it a vigorous stir after a couple of days would work? Try it and see!

Edible non-toxic paint recipe

If you would like to try our edible, non-toxic paint recipe instead ( suitable for babies from 6 months) then see this post!

Learning Links:

Creativity: colour mixing, exploring patterns and textures using a paint medium
Knowledge & Understanding of the World (Science): mixing substances together, talking about liquids and bubbles, investigating using the sense of touch and smell
Maths: measuring out cup fulls


  1. Anonymous says

    Love this Anna. I will try it soon with my children. Is it safe for a 7 month old baby. I am wanting him to join in the fun with his big sister but I worry he might taste ordinary paints etc.

  2. Anonymous says

    This is a neat idea! Is “washing up” liquid a dish soap, laundry soap, hand soap…? Thanks.

  3. says

    First anonymous poster: if he will taste it then no, you probably want to wait a while as it’s very soapy. But I have added a link at the end of my post now to our non-toxic and (potentially!) edible finger paint recipe that’s great for little ones. Enjoy!

  4. says

    We’ve used this as finger paints before, but I didn’t think to add brushes. I love your colours! Also LOVE the painted pinecones. We’re so used to seeing pinecones either au naturel, or in christmas colours, but your pastel pinecones are gorgeous!! We’ll definitely make some!

  5. says

    i’ve noticed in several of your painting posts your daughter’s cute smock. can you tell me how to make one or where you purchased it? in this post she is the one wearing a green-yellow barret & painting w/ two hands. that smock is adorable! of course i need one for my son, but we’ll see what you send me.

    • says

      I know!! It’s gorgeous but alas it was made by a friend who hasn’t got the time to make them to sell on Etsy (even though I’ve asked her to!) I can tell you how she did it if you like? She cut material in an A-line shape and lined the front with a thin shower curtain material! (genius) Then she added arms. She made the neck elasticated and added a few poppers so that it could be adjusted. This has lasted both girls since age 2 so far.
      Sorry not to be of any more help. If she ever goes into business I’ll let you know!

  6. kari says

    thanks so much for this recipe i did this with my 4 yr old and we both loved it her bc she loves to paint and me bc its so easy and it got her out of my hair for a lil bit and i got many “masterpeices” lol thank you so much :)