After school classrooms must have a lot of art supplies in order to let students explore their creative sides, especially when working with hands-on materials like paint and clay. Unfortunately, these materials can sometimes be expensive, especially when ensuring they are non-toxic and safe to use.

Art is a squishy, sticky, messy process. After school classrooms must have a lot of art supplies in order to let students explore their creative sides, especially when working with hands-on materials like paint and clay. These materials can sometimes be expensive, especially when ensuring they are non-toxic and safe to use. Other times, you may be completely ready to start your activity only to realize you’ve run out of paint!

That’s why MaryAnn F. Kohl includes simple DIY recipes in her book The Big Messy Art Book. These recipes use household materials to create vibrant paints and putties that are safe to use. Whip up a batch before class or make the recipes part of your next art activity!

Baby Lotion Face Paint

Ingredients:

Steps:

  1. Mix the baby lotion, tempera paint, and dish soap in a small dish. Separate into different containers to mix each color separately
  2. Paint on the face with small, clean make-up brushes or paintbrushes
  3. Easily remove with soap and water

Shortening-Cornstarch Face Paint

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon solid vegetable shortening
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Bowl and spoon
  • Separate cups
  • Food coloring
  • Translucent powder and make-up pad
  • Paintbrushes

Steps:

  1. Mix the vegetable shortening with cornstarch. Tint small portions of the creamy mixture with food coloring in separate cups
  2. After applying the cream to the face, pat with translucent powder to “set”
  3. Remove gently with cold cream and soft tissues

Funny Putty

Ingredients:

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • 2 teaspoons Borax
  • 1/3 cup water
  • One-cup measuring cup for dissolving Borax
  • 2 cups white glue
  • 1 ¾ cups water
  • Mixing bowl and spoon
  • Food coloring
  • Play tools like spoons, forks, dull knives, etc.
  • Newspaper
  • Container that closes

Steps:

  1. Mix the 2 teaspoons Borax and 1/3 cup of water in the one-cup measuring cup. Let the Borax dissolve completely
  2. Mix the 2 cups glue and the 1 ¾ cup water in the mixing bowl. Add the borax mixture and stir well with a spoon or hands
  3. The mixture will suddenly, magically, begin to glomb together. Keep kneading the mixture in the bowl. Some moisture may remain, but ignore it
  4. Turn the Funny Putty mixture out on the table. Use kitchen tools and toys to explore the putty. Try picking up a picture from a newspaper or comic book
  5. When exploration is complete, Funny Putty can be stored in a closed container or plastic zipper-closure baggie for about two weeks, or until it begins to have a strong odor

Thick Face Paint

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons solid vegetable shortening
  • 5 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon white flour
  • Small bowl and spoon
  • 4 drops glycerin
  • Food coloring
  • 2 ½ teaspoons cocoa
  • Paintbrushes

Steps:

  1. In a small bowl, mix vegetable shortening, cornstarch, and white flour
  2. Add glycerin and stir to a creamy consistency
  3. Add any food coloring you wish. For brown, add 2 ½ teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder instead of food coloring
  4. Apply with a make-up brush or paint-brush. To remove, wipe face gently with cold cream and tissues or a soft old towel with soap and water

Tattoo Paint

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon cold cream
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Food coloring
  • Mixing cups and spoons
  • Paintbrushes

Steps:

  1. Mix cold cream, cornstarch water, and food coloring. Stir completely
  2. Using a clean paintbrush, create a “tattoo” anywhere on the skin
  3. Remove with soap and warm water

Goop

Ingredients:

Steps:

  1. Dump the entire box of cornstarch into a plastic dishpan
  2. Add the water and mix by hand
  3. Mix and play in the Goop, noting its strange liquid-to-solid-to-liquid behavior
  4. Add other toys and utensils to the exploration
  5. Add drops of food coloring and mix the colors in by hand or with tools. You could mix small separate cups of colored Goop, and then mix them all together in one big tub
  6. Explore the possibilities!