Edible Paint for Babies & Toddlers

With Mother’s Day having been coming up, I had been trying to come up with cute gift ideas for my son to give his grandmothers.  He’s the first grandchild on both sides of the family so this year’s Mother’s Day is extra special for the new grandmommies.  Originally, I was geared up to do a sweet craft involving Bug’s handprints.  However, between trying to do foot prints for Christmas cards and his daddy’s Valentine’s card, I’ve learned that it’s not very easy to get a squirming infant to cooperate when stamping his hands, especially when paint is involved.

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My former dance instructor, who will be forever known as Miss Rachel to me, had her sweet one paint cards for Valentine’s day.  She used tempera paints with her daughter, but my bug is too little to not eat the paint.  Yet, I loved the idea of painting cards so much that I went out in search of edible paint recipes.  Many of them involved cornstarch, which I did not have on hand.  I finally settled on this recipe here.  The recipe on the blog lists “salt” under its ingredients, but the blogger never says how much to add.  I guestimated and used 1 tablespoon.  The research I did suggested that the salt really just helps speed up the boiling process.  If I make this paint again, I’ll start with 1 teaspoon because the paint turned out incredibly salty and my love doesn’t need so much extra sodium (he only actually tried it once–I don’t think he liked the way it tasted).

It was fun to watch my cutie paint and it was a good sensory activity as well.  I think it’ll be even more successful when he gets a little bit bigger and even more aware of the bright colors.

Here’s the recipe:

In a pot, whisk 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 cups water until smooth.  Bring to boil, stirring continuously.  Remove from heat as mixture thickens–think tempera paint consistency.


Separate into containers.  I save the baby food containers from the little girl I babysit; they were the perfect size and could be closed and stored for later.  Add food coloring and stir until well mixed.  I was worried that the food coloring would stain Bug but, thankfully, it didn’t!



I stripped my little fellow down to his diaper (he LOVES naked time) and put him in his chair.  I found that using masking tape to hold down the paper worked best.  I dribbled paint here and there and let him go to work!


getting excited to paint!




there he goes!


studying the colors on his hands


so much fun!


he had to taste it




when he was done, he was done. end of story.


good thing it was bath night


his masterpieces


inside of the card that we made with the paintings

look at that, I did a handprint afterall =)


3 thoughts on “Edible Paint for Babies & Toddlers

  1. How long does the paint keep? Would I be able to make it the night before and still be able to use it the next day with no worries about my kiddo putting some in his mouth?

    • Since none of the ingredients are quickly perishable, I think you’d be fine keeping it overnight. I tried storing mine in the refrigerator but found that the paint congealed quite a bit. Perhaps if I had allowed it to warm to room temperature it would’ve been fine, but I ended up tossing it because I hadn’t planned to use it in the near future. I’m sorry I can’t give you a definite answer, but I think that as far as “edible safety” goes, you’d be fine overnight.

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