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Microwave Puffy Paint (and 3 Other Fun Things to Do with a Microwave)


Microwave Puffy Paint for Kids

If you haven’t tried microwave puffy paint with your kids yet, you must.

It’s so easy. So fun. You just might be hooked.

I know your kids will be.

My five year old spent nearly two hours making puffy painting after puffy painting, and then exploring ways to print with the puffy paint.

The next day she did it all over again with a houseful of kids who were all extremely enthusiastic about this art project.

All you need are a microwave and 3 simple ingredients. Ready?

Microwave Puffy Paint in Action

Microwave Puffy Paint Recipe

This post contains affiliate links. INGREDIENTS

Oh, wait, that was four ingredients. I guess I wasn’t including the water in my head count.

Microwave Puffy Paint in Squeeze Bottles


1. First, whisk together flour, salt, and water in a medium bowl. Whisk really, really well so that the mixture is smooth and clump free (otherwise your kiddo may have trouble squeezing the paint).

2. Next, divide your flour mixture between 3-4 cups or small bowls (however many different colors you want to make) and add food coloring or liquid watercolors to each. Mix.

Nancy Squeeze Bottles

3. Finally, transfer your new puffy paint mixture into squeeze bottles. We used these squeeze bottles and thought they were pretty much perfect for this activity, but you could also find squeeze bottles at the grocery store or dollar store (ketchup and mustard bottles work well) or just use a plastic baggie with the tip cut off.

Microwave Puffy Paint in Action



Squeezing Puffy Paint

1.  Squeeze the puffy paint onto your paper/cardboard to create designs, images, or patterns as desired.

Microwaving Puffy Paint

2.  Place puffy paint art in microwave and microwave on high for about 30 seconds. We did a bit more for artworks that had a generous amount of paint and a bit less for artworks that were spare.

Microwave Puffy Paint

3.  Remove, let cool, then touch and admire how the paint puffed up and cooked solid.

Microwave Puffy Paint Art

4.  Repeat.

Microwave Puffy Paint Art in Action

5.  Repeat.

Cooked Puffy Paint

6.  Repeat.

Okay, I think you get the idea.

Printing with Microwave Puffy Paint

After using up the paint in the squeeze bottles, Daphne moved on to the paint left in the cups and use it for some puffy paint printmaking experiments. She did some flower printing, lego printing, fork printing, and more. And then microwaved the printed art, of course, and saw her prints puff up.

More Microwave Puffy Paint Inspiration

Microwaving Puffy Paint

3 Other Fun Things to do with a Microwave

  1. Soap clouds with ivory soap (on Happy Hooligans)
  2. Microwave marshmallow experiment (on TinkerLab)
  3. Make Kool-Aid dyed playsilks

We don’t actually own a microwave and were borrowing one for a friend for some fun art and science experiments so we really packed a lot in to our borrowing time.

Puffy Paint and Marshmallows

We did the ivory soap experiment at Maia’s mad scientist birthday party, we made lots and lots of puffy paint art, we watched marshmallow after marshmallow grow exponentially in the microwave, and we even painted our marshmallows with puffy paint first and then microwaved them. Good times.

Microwave Puffy Paint Collage

  • eileen
    October 22, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    I love the puffy paint creations. Is there a substitute for microwaving as we don’t have one? Thanks.

    • Jean Van't Hul
      October 23, 2014 at 9:23 am

      I suggest that you borrow one from a friend or inviting yourself over to a friends house for a group art project… :)

  • Tanya
    October 22, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    Has anyone ever done this with a gluten free flour or starch?
    I never have regular flour in my house.

  • Katie Harding
    October 23, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Cute, I used to love puffy paint as a kid so I’m sure my boys will love it too!

    • Jean Van't Hul
      October 23, 2014 at 9:24 am

      Yes! I bet they will, Katie!

  • Jennifer
    October 23, 2014 at 10:33 am

    After reading your blog yesterday, we tried this and the kids really enjoyed it! We also did the marshmallows and they had to sample the finished product! :) Such a great idea for kids! Thanks!