little picasso: Cornstarch Spray Paint

This super easy concoction was originally intended to be used outside, but we brought it inside on such a chilly day.  I mean, c’mon, who lets kids have spray bottles of paint in the house?  Ummm…me, apparently ;)  This requires just a couple of simple ingredients that you most likely will already have around the house (a definite plus).  This activity is fun and it also promotes fine motor skills by building coordination, dexterity and strength.  Using a spray bottle also thrills most kiddos, especially when PAINT is coming out of the other end!


warm water


washable tempera paint

spray bottle

plastic mat



easel paper



Fill your spray bottle with approximately 1 1/2 cups of warm water.  Next, add about 3 tablespoons of tempera paint to the water (more or less to achieve desired color).  Then finally, add approximately 2 tablespoons of cornstarch (the more cornstarch you add, the thicker it will be).  Repeat these steps for each color.

Be sure to lay out your plastic mat below your easel.  Now, just a fair warning – this is super messy!  Even with the mat down, I still found paint on my walls, curtains, & screen door after the spray painting was over (it came off with a quick swipe of a wet sponge).  So this is why, unless you bring it outdoors, it is super-duper important to use washable paint.

So without further ado, let your kiddos go to town, and spray to their hearts content, and remember to relax – you used WASHABLE paint, remember?  It will wash out :)

xx m

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  1. What happens if you let the bottle sit a couple of weeks? Does it still work or do you need to dump it so the sprayer doesn’t clog?
    Liquid watercolors might be even more vivid than tempera.
    Love the idea!

    • hmmmmm…not sure…ours got dumped that night, well, what was left of them :) I don’t think you would be allowed to save it, I’d imagine the cornstarch would clog it and thicken the mixture too much. I will definitely have to try liquid watercolors – sad but true, I don’t own any yet! What brand do you recommend? I need to add some to my wishlist! Thanks April!!!

  2. This is such a fun idea, Max would seriously love this! I think I’ll have to set him up outside with some this weekend :)

    • Thanks Tamsyn! Yeah, I feel like it would have been even more fun if they could have gotten down & dirty, but yeah, not happening in the kitchen ;) I’m sure he’ll LOVE it! You’ll have to report back :)

      xx ♥ m

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