How to Make Paint From Household Ingredients: Unleash Your Inner Artist!

how to make paintMaybe you have the sudden urge to be the next Picasso, but you’re strapped for cash or too far from an art supply store to stock up on paints. Or maybe your child wants to be the next Picasso, but he or she won’t stop trying to eat the watercolors… which is kind of a problem.

For a safe, natural, easy, and even fun project, consider learning how to make paint from basic household ingredients like salt, flour, and food coloring. You’ll be painting up a storm in no time!

If you want to brush up on your skills first, consider taking a beginner’s course on watercolors or a beginner’s course on acrylics first.

Flour and Salt Paint

flourProbably the easiest recipe for homemade, safe-to-eat (though not recommended) paints is just a mixture of flour, salt, and water.

Paint Base

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/2-3/4 cup water

The amount of water you add depends entirely on the consistency you want. If you don’t want to end up with a grainy paint, you can boil the water and the salt until the salt is dissolved, wait for the mixture to cool, then stir in the flour. This is essentially a recipe for homemade clay, only you don’t cook the flour and so the paint doesn’t thicken too much.

Once your paint base has reached a good consistency, you can separate it into squeezy bottles or sealable storage bags, and add different colors to each! You could do this with Kool-Aid packets or food coloring, if you want to keep it non-toxic, or a dash of watercolors if that’s not a concern. The just mix it up, and your paint is ready to go!

Take note, this isn’t going to be top quality paint. Paintings will become dry and flaky after a while. The paint itself can be stored in the fridge for a few months, but should be shaken up before using, because the water will rest at the top.

Flower Watercolors

shutterstock_160692623Yep, that’s flower, not flour. This is a fun and easy way to make simple watercolors, given you and/or your child aren’t allergic to pollen, and you have free access to a garden where you can pick flowers – like your own backyard!

You’ll Need…

  • 1 cup water
  • Flowers (of your choosoing)
  • Sealable storage bags
  • Rolling pin

After you’ve spent some time in the garden gathering up your favorite colored flowers, take them back into your kitchen (or designated work space) and pick the petals off each one. Make sure not to mix petals up with others, unless you want to experiment with different colors.

Once you’re done, place the petals into separate storage bags, divide a cup of warm water between the bags, seal them, and roll each one out with a rolling pin. Make sure when you seal the bags, they’re free of air, otherwise rolling them out will pop the bag and get colored flower water all over the place!

When you’re done, don’t remove the flowers just yet. Give a couple hours for the water to absorb the color from the petals. Once you’re done, drain just the water out into small cups, and you have homemade flower-based watercolors!

Kool-Aid Watercolors

koolaidpaintThis one is super straightforward. All you’re doing is essentially making Kool-Aid. If you can do that, you can do this!

You’ll Need…

  • Water
  • Kool-Aid packets
  • Muffin tin

Because this one is so simple, you can make it more fun by pouring the Kool-Aid “paint” mixture into a muffin tin – a different color for each cup in the tin. This is an easy way to store homemade paints during art sessions, especially if you have more than one person over painting with you or your kids.

Egg Yolk Paint

shutterstock_116393983This one sounds weird, and potentially gross, but kids will probably find it amusing!

You’ll Need…

  • 1 tsp water
  • 1 raw egg
  • Food coloring

All you need to do is crack an egg, separate the yolk into a small bowl, add the teaspoon of water, and whisk! Add food coloring, and that’s it – egg yolk paint, for those on a tight budget. You can also paint on the surface of sugar cookies before you bake them, to add some colorful designs.

Cornstarch Paint

cornstarchpaintThis recipe requires a bit more cooking than the previous ones, and has a larger list of ingredients. Depending on whether or not you add some of the optional ingredients, it might also be toxic, so only use this if you’re painting with children who are old enough not to eat the paint!

You’ll Need…

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 1 tbs dishwashing liquid (optional)
  • Food coloring
  • Sealable storage bags

First, add the flour, cornstarch (can be substituted with corn flour), 1/2 cup of water, and salt to a sauce pan. Mix it before you turn the heat on.

Once it’s become thick and pasty, turn the stove onto a low heat, add another cup of water, and whisk the mixture to get rid of any clumps, then continue mixing with a spoon or spatula. Remove the mixture from the heat once it’s become smooth. Add more water, about 1/2 cup or more depending on how thin you want the paint, and mix again. Add the food coloring of your choice.

If you want your paint to be thinner, you can put the mixture back on the heat and add small portions of water while mixing until you have a good consistency. You can also add dishwashing liquid for a glossier finish. Remove from heat, and add food coloring.


Now that you have your paints, it’s time to hone your painting skills and unleash your creativity! Learn to draw with confidence in this course, and learn some handy oil/acrylic and color theory skills in this course.

Happy painting!