Thursday, June 9, 2011

Homemade Paint

The rainy season has officially started here in the Philippines and what is a cooped up toddler to do? Make a glorious mess at home!

I've been itching to introduce Pablo to paint and have been planning on it for a few days. The bike we got him a few months back came wrapped in craft paper and I saved that knowing it would come in handy for future art projects. I bought a couple of plastic palettes and some inexpensive make-up brushes. I couldn't find any nancy bottles and the squirt bottles at the baking supply store were too big. My solution - plastic ketchup bottles! It's readily available at the nearby supermarket, transparent, has a screw-on nozzle with an attached cap and best of all, it's cheap. You don't really need a bottle with a nozzle and can keep the paint in any old container you have lying around. It's just fun (and a little cleaner?) to be able to squirt the paint out.

We started with the finger paint Pablo received for Christmas. While he was playing with those, I set about trying to make homemade paint. I tweaked the recipe, mostly because I felt like doing a little experimenting myself. I didn't feel like measuring (very strange behavior for a Science teacher) and just eyeballed everything.

You will need:
  • flour
  • salt
  • water
  • bowl for mixing or wide-mouthed jar with a screw-on cap
  • fork or whisk (optional if you're using a jar)
  • food coloring
  • nancy bottles / squirt bottles / ketchup bottles
  • funnel (optional but very helpful for filling the bottles)
1. Decide on how much paint you want to make and measure half as much water into a bowl or wide-mouthed jar (ex. 1 ketchup bottle of paint = 0.5 ketchup bottle of water).

2. Add a few heaping teaspoons of salt. (Salt works as a preservative. The original recipe called for a lot of salt, probably too much for the water to dissolve and would make the resulting paint gritty. You just need enough salt so that bugs will leave the paint alone.)

3. Mix to dissolve the salt. (You can use a fork or whisk or screw the cap on and shake like mad!)

4. Add several tablespoons of flour. Mix, whisk or shake again. Check the consistency and add flour or water accordingly.

5. Transfer the flour mixture to the ketchup bottle/s.

6. Add food coloring, replace the cap on the ketchup bottle and shake to mix.

Easy and absolutely safe for toddlers (and the curious dog that's always hanging around). It tastes awful because of all the salt so if anyone makes the mistake of trying it they're not going to do it again. I'm trying to keep myself from making too many different colors as Pablo just smooshes everything together anyway.

It all sounds so neat and clean but when I was fiddling around with the recipe I tried heating the mixture in the microwave. Not a good idea.

In the evening I put a painting station in the shower (bottles of blue & red paint, palette and brush) and he happily painted the walls. After he was done, he hosed everything clean then let his daddy bathe him.

Next stop, molding and sculpting using homemade clay!

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