How to Paint With Dye and Paste

By Prev Info - January 20, 2023

How to Paint With Dye and Paste

Painting is a popular way to express your artistic side. It can be done on a variety of media, including paper, canvas, wood, cloth and metal. However, many types of artist's paints contain chemical dyes and fixers that can be irritating to the skin and even harmful if ingested by small children and toddlers. Make your own paint with dye and paste using household ingredients for a safe, creative experience for kids.


Finger-painting is a popular artistic and recreational activity for children and toddlers. Children enjoy finger-painting because it is a tactile way to draw shapes and letters and color them in. The paint also feels wet and gooey, making it fun and stimulating for young children. When they paint, children learn to create, express themselves and identify shapes, forms and colors. Older children will also learn to combine different paint colors to make new ones.


Paints that can be used in finger-painting or applied with a brush can be made from paste and dyes. Paste adds texture and density to paint and can be made from regular cornstarch or flour. Dye can consist of food-coloring dyes or diluted poster paints. There are several ways that you can make paint with dye and paste. One recipe combines a half cup of cornstarch with one cup of water; add a package of unflavored gelatin to the mix. This entire mixture is stirred into two cups of boiling water to form the paste for the paint. Food dye or poster paint can then be added to give this base paint varying colors.


Painting with dye and paste is similar to using other types of traditional, store-purchased paints. The paste gives the paint texture and can be diluted to vary the thickness of the paint. The dyes provide color; you can make the paint opaque or transparent, depending on how much dye you add. You can paint with dye and paste using traditional paintbrushes, sponge-brushes, cloths or your fingers. Simply apply the paint to the paper, canvas or other nonporous surface to draw or color.

Edible Paints

Toddlers and young children will often learn about their surroundings by experimentally tasting or eating objects. This can be a problem if they put toxic crayons, molding clay, paints and other items into their mouths. Chemicals in paints can also be absorbed through the skin of small children. You can make edible paints for your kids to prevent this problem. One way to make edible -- and delicious -- finger-paints is to use instant vanilla pudding or flavored gelatin and adding food coloring or powdered drink mixes to color it. Your kids may enjoy licking and eating it as much as they enjoy painting with it, but it is safe and nontoxic fun.