Art Materials: DIY & Safe for the Mouth

As seen on Danielle Pranger’s Blog

Toddlers love to paint with their entire bodies, including their mouths. They taste test everything, it’s part of their exploration process. I’ve complied a list of art materials that are safe if taste-tested and that you can make right at home.

First, a word about food coloring. Lots of recipes call for food coloring. Unfortunately, lots of food coloring, especially the cheap brands, are made of harsh, artificial chemicals that can be very dangerous to our little ones. You can read more about the dangers of artificial food dyes here. Fortunately, there are many companies out there that are now providing safe, natural, plant derived or food-based dyes and colors. Here are links of the safest ones I’ve found: Color Garden, India Tree, Natural Candy Store, and Natural Food Colors. Or, you can simply make your own using fruits, veggies, and spices! Here are links to some great DIY recipes:  Nourishing Joy, and From Scratch Club.

DIY Watercolors

1/2 cup baking soda

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup white vinegar

1 teaspoon corn syrup

food coloring

Very quickly, whisk together baking soda, cornstarch, vinegar, and corn syrup. Pour combined mixture into an ice cube tray. Mix in food coloring to each portion until you reach your desired color. Let the colors dry for 2-3 days. When ready to paint, dip a wet paintbrush into colors and paint!

DIY Tempura Paints

egg yolks, one yolk per color

food coloring

Separate egg yolks from whites. Drop the yolk into the container. Add food coloring until you get desired color. Whisk until blended. Paint! Keep refrigerated for up to 2 or 3 days.

Powdered Milk Paints (similar to Tempura paints)

2 parts powdered milk

1 part water

food coloring

 Mix together powdered milk and water. Separate into containers and add in food coloring for desired color. Paint! Keep refrigerated up to 4 days.

DIY Finger Paints

3 cups water

1 cup cornstarch

food coloring

 In a medium saucepan, bring water to boil. Whisk in cornstarch and stir constantly until thickened. Remove from heat to cool. Divide mixture into containers and add food coloring to create desired colors. Paint!

DIY Puffy Paints

1/2 cup salt

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup flour

food coloring

plastic sandwich baggies

 Blend salt, water, and flour together. Diving into plastic sandwich baggies. Add food coloring to create desired color. Squish the baggies to blend up color. You may need to add a bit more water if it’s too thick. Cut a corner off the baggie. I like to pour the mixture into squeeze bottles and paint from there.