Easy Puffy Paint!

I’ve seen recipes for homemade puffy paint many times over the years, but I never took the time to make it with the kids until today.

What a shame I waited this long!

The kids had a blast and developed lots of ways to use it.

Even Harry Potter crests and pendants!


The original instructions were to mix one tablespoon self-rising flour, one tablespoon salt, food coloring and enough water to make a paste, once for each color.

Since I made up little cups for four different children (life is too short to listen to “Mom, Alex mixed all the colors into brown!” and “Hey!  Victoria used all the red up!” all day!), I soon realized that it made much more sense to just mix up:

  • One part self rising flour
  • One part salt
  • Enough water to make a paste

and THEN divide it into muffin tins or ice cube trays and add food coloring!

Either way, all you do is give the kids Q-tips or paint brushes and instruct them to dab it on cardboard.

We used recycled Priority Mail boxes for our canvases, cut into small squares.  You want a nice sturdy canvas.

When the picture is finished, microwave it for about 10 seconds (we did 5 second intervals and occasionally needed longer for really thick and wet paintings).

All four kids had a blast using this stuff and they used it off and on the whole day and into the night.



Filed under crafts

28 responses to “Easy Puffy Paint!

  1. Emma T

    That’s awesome! Will save that up for the next time boredom strikes.

  2. I love puffy painting. How utterly delightful & creative your youngins are! I can’t believe the detail in those crests. Well done to all!

  3. jessie

    That looks so cool.We are going to try that tuesday for sure!

  4. woolandchocolate

    We don’t have a microwave. What do you think about throwing it in the oven? Or out in the sun? Hmmmm….

  5. I’ve gotten a lot of questions about what to do if you don’t have a microwave. We’ll experiment with the oven today and report back! 🙂

  6. Pingback: Update: Puffy Paint in a Regular Oven | A Magical Childhood

  7. If I had self rising flour I’d try the sun right now. Maybe later in the week….it’s supposed to be 105+ for the rest of the week here in Austin *as usual* 😉

    • We didn’t have self rising flour either but I found a recipe to make it online. You just add baking powder, I think. It was something like 1 1/2 tsp per cup of flour and a pinch of salt. It sounds like you have perfect weather to try some sun recipes! 🙂

  8. Kirsten

    It’s also great fun in a squeeze bottle 😉

    • I was thinking of that for next time! We don’t have enough squeeze bottles for all the colors we like to use, so I figured I’d put it in baggies and snip off a tiny corner to pipe it like icing.

  9. We don’t have self-rising flour, but Google tells me we can make it ourselves! Anyone tried this in this recipe?

    To make one cup of self-rising flour:
    •1 cup of all-purpose flour
    •1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
    •1/2 teaspoon of salt

  10. K

    Brilliant! I am going to try this with my kids. They’ll love the bright colours!

  11. Tara

    I wonder…would that make a good glitter paint too?

  12. Neat! Now, turn it into a science project for older kids by explaining that Self-Rising flour contains Baking Powder. Baking Powder is a (dry) mix of acid and base that is activated by moisture and heat. When it’s activated, it produces gas bubbles, which are trapped in the flour mixture (and puffing it up). We often teach acid-base reactions by adding vinegar (acid) to baking *soda* (base) for the “wow” effect, but there is no reason not to supplement it with this.

  13. Mistie

    This is way awesome, but we don’t even own a microwave, what would we use instead to “bake” it? Thanks for posting!

  14. Erin

    I was thinking of adding glitter, but wouldn’t that cause problems in the microwave?

  15. katherine marie

    So completely AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!

  16. jessica

    I’ve done ‘puffy paint’ with equal parts glue and shaving cream. I use water colors to mix instead of food coloring (my preschoolers are too young to use the food coloring, but can use the water colors w-out me worrying) and it works great — if mixed properly. If not, too much air gets in and will deflate the puffiness within a few hours. I’ve never tried it with the ingredients you mentioned or the microwave. Will have to give it a shot!

  17. Dee

    Wow! This is cool! Would like to try this out! 🙂

  18. grandma

    Does the paint dry completely, I could just imagine food coloring on fabrics like a sofa.OH MY my daughter in law would no be happy with this grandma if that happened. Thanks for your input on this.

  19. Pingback: 10 Ways to Make Today Magical | A Magical Childhood

  20. Missy

    Does the paint flake or come off of the cardboard? I’m thinking of doing this with my daughter’s 4th grade classroom for Halloween. Thanks!

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