Credit to Trish Kuffner for this lovely Cornstarch Paint that I made two weeks ago! The link to this particular recipe (and five other paints to try with your kiddo) is here.
I've made cornstarch paint before in the form of, well, basically coloured oobleck a.k.a. liquid sidewalk chalk. My problem with it is that it separates when left overnight and is a little difficult to shake and mix the following day because of the settling.
I like this recipe because the fact that it's cooked blends everything together perfectly. It becomes more of a coloured goo and the texture is fantastic!
First off, this: the recipe said it makes 4 cups of paint but I actually got 4 1/2 cups out of it and the best part was that the squeeze bottles I use fits a 1/2 cup measurement precisely.
I have to admit that while I was heating the mixture, I freaked out a little bit once the goo started to form. I just kept mixing and adding the water that was required so I got a good, fingerpaint-worthy mixture.
Here's the base recipe before I added any food colouring to it:
And the same bowl of mixture after I'd added some blue food colouring.
I used a plastic pipette to add the dye; I think this was six drops of McCormick Food Colouring to get this bright blue.
It stays quite hot for a long time. I separated the mixture by half cups and added food colouring in stages, using just one bowl unlike what the recipe instructions said to go ahead and split each measure into containers before adding in the dye. Because of that, I had to mix it every so often to make sure there were no globs of goo that had solidified at the bottom.
This one on the left is an extra shot I took because it made a pretty pattern.
I managed to get away with using just one bowl by doing the mixtures in the sequence of primary-secondary-primary. I hate washing too many dishes. ^_~ So when I made the paints, I went in the sequence of blue, purple, red, orange, yellow, and then green.
Since I had excess paint (remember, this makes more than three cups and that's what I'd used up so far) I tried using some of the pre-made McCormick green and violet food colouring. The difference between the pre-mix and the mixture I made myself was minimal: the purple turned out a little brighter but mostly because I hadn't quite mastered how many drops to put in to get the correct shade.
I ended up with nine squeeze bottles of cornstarch paint for my son to get messy with out on our driveway. And just to showcase how pretty everything looked by the end of the goopy mess I had to clean up, here are pictures of the plastic pipettes immediately before rinsing, and the finished product:
In case you're wondering why I've been making such an effort to create and prepare all these sensory play things for my son, remember that I'll be primarily busy with a new little one so I wanted him to feel that his mum made something for him to busy himself with whenever he misses being the centre of my attention. ^^;
It wasn't until two days after I'd made this that my son was able to enjoy it.
It was a very hot Sunday morning so I figured it would be the perfect time to make a mess. I finished up my breakfast and showed my son the paints, inviting him to follow me outside. He's always up for painting, I noticed though I can't say it's a specific interest, given that art and music are the earliest sensory exposures I've given him.
He started out timidly, just sitting beside me and piping out globs of colour. Obviously, the more controlled lines and patterns were by me, hehehe.
I placed all the squeeze bottles of paint next to him and although they looked rather vibrant in the bottle, I suppose it's the translucency of the paints and the fact that we were working on a red brick path that dulled the colour a little. I do still like this a bit better than the original set of paints I made him some months ago (we made liquid chalk) since cooking the cornstarch left the paint intact instead of me having to put muscle behind shaking the mixture to get it back to the right consistency.
This is what happened when he ran out of space near the step where we were originally sitting.
Although I'd shown him earlier that he is allowed to smush the paint into the bricks with his hands, he didn't seem convinced yet and would nimbly tiptoe around his artwork whenever he wanted to get a new squeeze bottle to change colours.
And then this happened.
I should warn any parent trying this at home: the mixture is very slippery! Kiddo's got great balance though and I was nearby to help him keep steady in case he needed my help. (He didn't.)
After figuring out how much fun it was to smoosh (I know it's not a real word--can't find a good one to really get the feel of what he was doing though, hahaha!) everything around, this happened.
We made splat art! And, of course, Mama had to join in.
We did not stop until all the squeeze bottles had been emptied. That's a total of eight squeeze bottles, excluding the white one which I decided to reserve for another round, mostly to see how long this would actually last. The result of the morning's play time--and you can see the empty bottles lying beside the chair I sat on:
I sent him off for bathing immediately after while I cleaned up most of the mess; he'd covered his arms and legs with paint and since it was hot, he needed the bath anyway! The paint was washed off later in the afternoon when our garden plants were watered.
As for myself, well, I did not realise I'd been as much a casualty of art as he'd been:
Thankfully it's very easy to wash off and no stains were left on his or my skin after. He was actually rather upset to see our morning's labours washed away when the garden hose came out. I told him I'll make more paint for him later on that he can muck about with again. I may even try to experiment with this a little to make it slightly more opaque and better suited to our walkway.
Note: I've made this paint twice since that day two weeks ago and while he doesn't always get down on his knees to slop around in the paint or even like getting it on his hands, he's been asking for it every day since that first time we tried it out. I am one very proud Mama!
Full disclosure: Any products I name as the one I use is just to serve as an example of the effect of the product and not a recommendation that it's the specific brand that should be used. I'm not an endorser for any of these things, I swear!