Updated: Jun 25, 2021
Making puffy paint is a fun activity for children of any age who love to paint! This activity is ideal for school-age children and adolescents, but preschoolers can also do this with some help! Puffy paint is different from regular paint because it is 3-D and looks like it jumps off the page! This activity can help children use their fine motor skills and perfect their mixing and measuring skills.
½ cup flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 different colors of food coloring
½ cup water
1 large mixing bowl
4 smaller bowls
cardstock or other heavy paper or a cereal box
Step 1: First, gather your materials and set up your workspace.
Note: if you do not have cardstock to paint on, you can cut the front off of a cereal box and paint on the blank side!
Step 2: Next, measure out ½ cup of flour, 1 tablespoon of salt, and 1 tablespoon of baking powder and dump them into the large mixing bowl. Then, mix them all together using the whisk.
Step 3: Now, slowly add ½ cup of water to the mixing bowl and whisk together with the ingredients from Step 2. Whisk until all of the lumps are gone and the mixture is smooth, like normal paint.
Step 4: Pour the mixture into 4 separate, smaller bowls. We do this because each bowl is going to be a different color of paint. Try to divide the mixture evenly between the 4 bowls, but it does not have to be perfect.
Step 5: Then, stir 3-6 drops of different colors of food coloring into each bowl. You can use whichever colors you want, but I am going to use green, pink, orange, and purple
Tip: the more food coloring you add, the darker your color will be! For example, if you want to make a light blue, you would only use 3 drops. If you want a darker blue, you would use 6 or more drops.
Step 6: Now it’s time to paint! Have you decided what you want to paint yet?
Tip: the more layers of paint you have, the puffier it will be! So, if you use one layer of paint, it will only be a little bit puffy, but if you go over the paint five times, it will be super puffy!
Step 7: After your painting is finished, lay it on a paper towel in the microwave and microwave it for 30 seconds to dry the paint and set it. If it still looks wet after the 30 seconds, microwave it for another 15 seconds at a time until it is dry.
Note: be careful taking your painting out of the microwave, as it may be hot! You may need an adult to help you with this step.
Note: do not microwave your painting for more than 30 seconds at a time, because it could get too hot and burn.
Step 8: Take your painting out of the microwave! Once it cools down, you can feel the paint and how it is raised off the page!
Step 9: Don’t forget to clean up! If you have any unused paint, it is safe to wash it down the sink.
Note at end: I tried the paint on the cardboard and it worked just as well!
Reminder: If you want to make more colors, you can just repeat the recipe! Each recipe will make approximately four colors. Alternatively, you could divide the mixture into six bowls, for example, instead of four. However, if you do this, you will have less of each color paint.
Instead of using paint brushes and painting directly out of the bowls, you can put the paint into zip-loc bags and use them to paint! This method will make it easier to make the paint layers thicker, and therefore more puffy.
Step 1: after mixing your paint, pour it into a sandwich size zip-loc bag and seal the bag.
Step 2: cut a small hole in the corner of the bag.
Step 3: use the bag to pour the paint onto your paper or cardboard.
Note: be careful, it comes out fast!