Easel Paint Recipes

Some tips:

  • Paint extender is added to decrease the cost of the paint and to give it its ideal consistency.
  • Soap (not detergent) is added to paint to make it easier to remove from clothing.  Soap flakes also make it stick to slick surfaces such as cellophane, glass, aluminum foil, and plastic.
  • Detergent is added to prevent cracking as the paint dries.
  • Alum is added as a preservative, but a few drops of glycerin or oil of wintergreen will also keep the paint fresh.
  • Condensed milk gives the paint a glossy effect.
  • Keep in mind that water should be added slowly; you can always add water to thin the paint, but you cannot add powdered paint to thicken, because it will cause lumps.
  • Glossy paper will accept paint differently than newsprint, which tends to absorb the colors.
  • Paint the outside of jars, then allow the child to roll the jar onto paper.
  • Make stamps with potatoes or sponges, then dip into paint and make repetitive designs.
  • You don’t need a paintbrush to paint – try sponges, cotton balls, popsicle sticks, leaves, toothpicks, Q-tips, or textured materials like seed pods (“spiky balls”).  Also try household gadgets like potato mashers, whisks, and empty berry baskets.
  • If you’d like to make interesting line patterns, wrap a toilet paper tube with string, then dip in paint and roll onto paper.
  • If you are worried about drips and splatters, try making thin paint, then putting a couple of paper towels in the paint, submerging them so that they are fully saturated and remain as the “surface” of the paint.  This way, when a brush or sponge are dipped, they get a small amount of paint only.
  • String Pictures: Dip yarn in paint, then make designs on paper.  If you add Elmer’s glue to the paint, the yarn will harden and stick to the picture, adding a 3-D effect.
  • Crayon Etching: Color with crayons first, then “wash” over this with a thin mixture of dark (black is classic) tempura paint.  You can then scrape fine designs with toothpicks or pencils.  This is great for night and underwater scenes.
  • Spatter Painting: Cut six-inch squares of wire screening, then frame with masking tape to cover sharp edges.  Place over paper to be painted.  Cover the screening with leaves and other objects, then spatter paint over the objects with an old toothbrush.  Remove screen and enjoy the silhouettes of your objects.
  • Marble Painting: Lay a piece of paper in a tray or other container with at least 1 inch tall sides.  Put a marble on a spoon, then dip it gently into a paint pot.  When the marble is coated with paint, retrieve it, then drop it in the tray.  Move the tray around and watch the marble paint for you!
  • Citrus Prints: Use citrus slices that have been partially squeezed or dried to make interesting prints, like one would with a stamp.

Recipe #1: Mix about 1 ounce of powdered tempura paint with 4 Tbsp Vano Liquid Starch.  Thin to desired consistency with water.

Recipe #2: Mix about eight heaping Tbsp paint extender, one pound of powdered paint, 3 cups Vano Liquid Starch, and 2 Tbsp Fels Naptha or Ivory Soap Flakes.  Add water to desired consistency.

Recipe #3: Mix 1 part powdered paint, 2 parts powdered Tide, and 2 parts water.

Recipe #4: One pound of powdered paint, 1/4 c Vano starch, 1/3 to 1/2 c water, 1 heaping Tbsp Fels Naptha

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