Milk Paint for kids


We've been experimenting with paint around here lately.

A lot.

It's as if I've been reading lots of art books for preschoolers…

such as, First Art by Maryanne Kohl.


She has a great recipe for milk paint. We've been experimenting with different types all week. This batch was made with Wilton's icing colors set. I happened to be at Michael's and this was the only type of food coloring they had. At first, it didn't seem to blend very well, perhaps, due to the small amount of oil in the dye kit?

But, a week later, after being stored in the refrigerator, the paint was nice and thick and the colors blended nicely. The consistency was quite thin when I first mixed it, but after sitting for a week, it's quite thick.


Well, since I didn't want to limit my options, I picked up some food coloring at the grocery store – McCormick's. You know, the traditional stuff that has discolored small children's teeth at birthday parties since they invented red dye #5. This stuff blended quite nicely and although it is still quite thin, I've put it in the refrigerator to give it the same test.

So, on to her recipe:

Homemade Milk Paint
This makes enough for 3 half-filled small baby food jars (those are Earthbound's tiniest jars). Her original recipe calls for double the amount, but for a few paint sessions, you could get six colors out this recipe.

1/4 cup powdered milk
1 tsp cornstarch
small jar for mixing
1/4 warm water
food coloring

Mix powdered milk and cornstarch together in a jar. Add warm water and which until completely dissolved. (This may take a few minutes, but is worth the effort).

Pour the milk into individual baby food jars and then add food coloring.


Some things that I've learned:

1. a jar works better than a bowl to combine the water and milk. Unless it is a very deep bowl.

2. use a whisk. A child-sized whisk works exceptionally well. (I think ours is from an IKEA set).

3. to make red paint, you need to use A LOT of food coloring. (a bit scary when you think of the dyes in Tylenol).

4. this will stain clothing. (Especially when you start to write your blog posting thinking your husband is keeping an eye on the 3-year-old and your husband still thinks you are watching him. And, then you realize that your 3-year-old is experimenting with pouring the paint onto the paper and it spills onto his pants because, of course, we had him take off his shirt).

5. cut-up egg cartons (ours are cardboard) work very well to mix paint or pour out small bits so the colors are not mixed. And, they offer a great lesson in color-mixing and experimentation too.

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