Make and Play with Puffy Paint (and a Puffy Paint Recipe)

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Make Your Own Puffy Paint

We have internet access on this beautiful farm, so I’m going to post something that I drafted a couple days ago…

Maia and I mixed up some puffy paint recently and she got to paint using squeeze bottles, which was a big hit. This puffy paint recipe was sent to me by Kimberly Stoney, a woman who tests and develops crafts for a children’s magazine. She’s the one who also sent me the recipe for the Rainbow in a Bag color mixing experiment.

Make Puffy Paint Recipe

Puffy Paint Recipe

Not so much about mixing as about colors playing with and off each other.


  • 2/3 cup of flour
  • 2/3 cup of salt
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • 2 squeeze containers from craft store ($1.99 for package of 2 found in craft store-cake supplies)
  • 1 Tablespoon tempera paint (at least 2 colors)

1. Mix the ingredients together in a big bowl. It will yield enough for 2 containers of wet mix.
2. Measure 1/2 of the mix out into a smaller container.
3. Add 1 Tablespoon of tempera and mix well.
4. Adjust the color by adding 1 teaspoon at a time up to 3 extra teaspoons. The consistency will be similar to stirred sour cream.
5. Pour into squeeze bottle. Repeat with another color for the second ½ of mix.
6. Give the child the bottles and watch them go (mantra here — stay on the paper, stay on the paper)

It will settle over days if not used. Store the bottles in the fridge for up to week. Shake and remove the plastic wrap for play.

Make Puffy Paint

Kids might want to squeeze in one place and not move the squeeze bottle. That’s fine or encourage them to move it around a bit. It will just take a little longer to dry if it thick. When it does dry, the salt turns back into beautiful crystals again and the whole thing glitters.

We did ours on foam core scraps and white cardstock- the mix can make paper very soggy-stay away from construction paper (and regular card board weeps leaving a water stain around the art work — which is fine, just so you are forewarned).

Make Puffy Paint Recipe

Note: We used squeeze bottles from the cake decorating section of the craft store as well as one of those plastic icing bags. Both seemed to work well. The puffy paint took a few days to dry completely, but is now very hard.

Make Puffy Paint Recipe

Make Puffy Paint Recipe

Make Puffy Paint Recipe

We also made this puffy paint recipe with the Toddler Art Group.

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  1. says

    Very cool. I think it’s interesting how in both of her pictures she mixed the yellow and blue together in one big mass, then srwiled the red paint all around. Do you think toddlers ever make conscious decisions like that about their art?

  2. says

    We washed the squeeze bottles for reuse. Not the icing bag though, although we probably could have. The paint is mostly flour, salt, and water, so was easy to wash.

  3. Kym says

    I love your little corner of this big old internet! This is my first post but we’ve used several of your ideas in our art projects. This one sounded so fun it prompted me to pass along a link to a friend who teaches first-grade art for her class to try. My son and I just cleaned up after giving it a go today and had a blast! My four year old loved the whole project from start to finish. Measuring and mixing were just as much fun as the painting itself. We used recycled shampoo bottles which worked great. One bottle did have stiffer sides and I noticed he had to work a little too hard for my liking to squeeze the paint out but otherwise perfect. Thanks for sharing this and all the other inspirations you do!

  4. Mary says

    we just tried this. my kids (10, 5, 4, & 2) LOVED it! i used acrylic paint instead of tempera and zip-loc baggies instead of squeeze bottles. when we do this again i’ll make sure to have tempera paints (the acrylic didn’t mix super well) and i’ll get squeeze bottles. i think they’ll be easier for the kids to handle and make less of a mess!

  5. Mireia says

    My first post. Your blog is so inspiring. I’m unemployed and a full time mum of a 2 year old in Spain. We’re now in Uruguay for a couple of weeks(his dad is uruguayan) and it’s a rainy and cold winter day here. Tried just now this lovely project and my son loved it.
    Thank you so much for the great ideas and for the inspiration of becoming a more creative mother!

  6. [email protected] says

    Thank you for all the great ideas, and your Freind Kimberly has one amazing job,very jealous!! ;)

  7. karla says

    me encanta este pagina por original, ingeniosa y divertida, esta actividad nos encanto publiquen mas cosas xfa

  8. Kathja from Jobjoggas says

    Love this!!! defiantly something all kids will love! I can even see myself having a lot of fun with this one!!!

  9. Bernadette says

    Are there any alternatives for tempera paint that will work as well as tempera paint for this puffy paint recipe?

  10. says

    I imagine you could do it with different paints or even with food coloring, Bernadette, although I haven’t tried it myself with any other paints. If you try it, please let me know how it goes!

  11. tracy garbett says

    looks good I am going to try it with my three children during the summer hols. Hopefully it will entertain all of them. ones 9, ones 6 and the little ones only 19mths :)