Non-toxic Homemade Finger Paints for Outdoor Amusement

This week’s Works for Me Wednesday has a theme: “Mom, I’m Bored!”  This summer will be the perfect time to bust out some homemade finger paint to keep my restless toddler amused.  Even very young babies can express themselves with finger paint–with a little assistance, of course.

A few months ago, I included this picture of Joy’s son Roscoe in our Eco-Valentine’s post.  I knew exactly what Andy would say when he saw Roscoe on Joy’s kitchen floor, wearing nothing but a cloth diaper, finger painting.  “What a mess!” he said, shaking his head.  I have to admit I felt the same way, and I marveled that Joy was definitely turning into the “fun mom” while I’d be forever known as the “uptight mom.”

You know what might work for me this summer?  Outdoor finger painting!

Here are some recipes to get you started.  Some are more eco-friendly and natural than others.

Basic recipe with food coloring

Finger paints with homemade natural dyes

Finger paints using juice for dyes

Easy corn syrup finger paint

With the warm weather ahead, I’m looking forward to making a batch of finger paints and letting my daughter go wild out on the driveway.  Clean-up will be a snap: I’ll simply hose her off when she’s done.


  1. I spend a lot of time in preschool classrooms and corn syrup is amazingly fun, messy, and sticky. Any corn syrup pictures on paper should be dried flat because it will ooze its way of the paper and land in your hair- not that I’m talking from experience or anything.

  2. I am absolutely loving this- and the play dough – keep ’em coming!
    A friend and I are desperately seeking activities for our 12 and 18 month olds this summer. This should bring us some messy, summer fun.

    Thank you!

  3. Thanks for the link! These other links look cool too, I’ll have to check them out.

  4. Ooo, I’m excited to try these. I’ve been wanting to do finger paints with my girl but hadn’t gotten around to looking up how to do it non-toxically. Thanks for making it easy on me!

  5. I have a memory of finger-painting with pudding when I was in preschool. I have never tried it with my own kids and they are pretty much out of the finger painting phase. Sara, the finger paints you buy in the store ARE non-toxic, but I’m sure you can do better making it homemade. If you are trying finger-painting for the first time, make sure you use some heavy duty paper, because it kind of melts the ordinary paper. In fact – it is a great way to recycle cardboard!

  6. What a fabulous idea!!!

    I’m looking for a fun party idea for GRasshopper and her friends, and I think these paints might just have to star in it.

    Thanks for sharing!!

  7. You have some lovely ideas in this section. The idea of making your own finger paint is wonderful. I love making playdough and it’s lovely to mix in a drop of lavender essential oil or some cinnamon during the winter months. I’ve made the latter for toddler friends Christmas presents in the past and it’s always gone down well 🙂

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