Friday, February 18, 2011

Homemade Poster Paints (non-toxic, too!)

I have really wanted to buy some poster paints for my toddler's craft projects. We have watercolors, but they're not the best when you want full coverage. I looked online and came across quite a few, but they were either too expensive for the amount you get or they were made with a ton of chemicals. Neither is a good thing when you have a little one who likes to sample his art supplies every time your back is turned!

So, having the internet at my fingertips, I did what every mommy who needs to know how to do something NOW does, I Googled "homemade poster paints." Now, it took me forever to find a recipe that didn't include powdered Tempra paint. I kept thinking, why on earth would I even need a poster paint recipe if I have the stupid powdered version RIGHT HERE? Am I right? I'd absolutely love to have powdered Tempra paints. You can do a million things with them, but they're a huge expense at the beginning. Look:
Red, Sargent Art Gothic 1# Powder Tempera PaintThis stuff is $4.34 for a 1 lb. jar. Yeah, that'll make a lot of paint, but you need to buy at least one of each: red, blue, yellow, black, and white. And then there's the $4.89 each shipping fee (I got this info from Amazon.com, so you might find it cheaper, but not by much.) Oh, and while it's labeled "non-toxic" you have to ask yourself if you want your kid getting any in his mouth. The stuff reeks of chemicals.

All right, enough complaining... I finally found my recipe that uses stuff you should have in your kitchen at Bukisa from Darlene Michaud. It is not washable, so make sure you use newspaper, old clothes, etc. If you're the type of person who can't deal with your little one running around looking stained for a day or two, this recipe isn't for you!

Here's what you'll need to make about 7 baby food jars' worth of paint:

3 T. sugar
1/2 c. cornstarch
2 c. cold water
Food coloring I used Wilton's gel colors and they worked fine, just needed more stirring
Dishsoap We skipped this - you're using food coloring, soap's not going to make clean-up easier!
Medium sauce pan

Directions:
1) Mix sugar and cornstarch in the pan until well-blended.
2) Add the cold water and stir with a spoon over low heat. I used a wire whisk. It ensures the lumps are annihilated! I also heated over meduim until the water was luke warm, then turned it down to low. *If you have an electric stove, just keep it on low!   
3) Keep stirring until all ingredients are blended and sugar is dissolved. Here's where the recipe gets sketchy. Do you let it thicken? I did it both ways. The first time, I waited until it got pretty darned hot and started to thicken.Made for some great, slick paint but it was better as fingerpaints than poster paint. Just too thick to use a brush with. The second time, I heated and stirred just until I noticed a little thickening, then it came right off of the stove. I stirred and stirred until it cooled enough that it wouldn't burn me when I dipped a finger in. This ensured that it was mixed well and I wouldn't have any surprise lumps later.
5) Divide the mixture into baby food or small jelly jars. Add food coloring until you reach the desired color, then add a drop or two of dish soap. If you're using baby food jars, MAKE SURE THE LIDS FIT SECURELY!!! If not, you'll have paint everywhere during the next step. As I said earlier, I skipped the soap. 
6) Put the lids on the jars and shake well. Each time you use the paint, shake well first. This is where my toddler helped! He was the "shake-it guy" and loved watching the colors mix. This is why I made sure that the mixture had cooled to the touch before I poured it into the jars. The glass can get very hot. This is also why you need those tight-fitting lids!

So, how do they work? GREAT! The paint is thick enough to cover well, yet thin enough to eliminate those ghastly brushstrokes. We've kept our paints in jars on the counter for three weeks now and there is no sign of spoilage that you often find with homemade, chemical-free craft supplies. Do not be alarmed if your paints separate - they're going to. Just shake them up before using them.

 

2 comments:

Leslie said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

You know what I thought about when I read this post... How much I loved the smell of finger paint! Isn't that strange... lol.. Have a great week!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

The soap is actually to make the paint more shiny.. Just a thought..lol