How to Paint with Food Coloring

Jean A. Ferraiuolo

There are several ways to paint with food coloring. Face, body and finger paints can all be made using food coloring. Use cold cream, cornstarch, water and food coloring to make face and body paint. Combine cornstarch, water and liquid food coloring to make finger paint.

Mix condensed milk with food coloring to make a bright glossy paint that can be applied to paper or used to paint cookies. Paint outdoors on large sheets of paper with spray bottles, or if you live in a cold climate, paint snow using the spray bottles. The possibilities for painting with food coloring are endless.

Painting With Food Coloring

  1. Spread newspaper or old tablecloth on table.

  2. Decide what kind of paint you'd like to make. For painting cookies or paper, mix ¼ cup of condensed milk with a few drops of food coloring of the desired color. For face or body paint, mix 1 tablespoon of cold cream, 1 tablespoon of water, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and a few drops of food coloring. For finger painting, mix ½ cup cornstarch with 2 cups of water and a few drops of food coloring.

  3. Boil your mixture until thickened, and allow it to cool.

  4. Place each color in a small bowl or container with a lid for storing leftover paint.

  5. Place a bowl of water on the table with some paper towels for cleaning brushes or fingers.

  6. Place paintbrushes, straws and cotton tip swabs on the table in an old cup or can for easy access.

  7. Spread paper out for painting; use large poster-size pieces for finger painting.

  8. If painting outdoors, mix water and food coloring well in spray bottle and shake hard. Use a different spray bottle for each color.

  9. Tip

    According to the experts at Baking 911, “A little of any food coloring goes a long way, so it's best to begin with only a drop or two, blending it into the mixture being tinted before adding more.” If brushes are too messy for little hands, try cotton tip swabs. Use the condensed milk and food coloring mix to paint completely edible Easter eggs. Use the finger paint mixture as sidewalk paint. Drop paint on paper with a spoon or eyedropper and then blow it around the paper with a straw for a different look


    Wear old clothing, or cover up with a smock. Food coloring will stain clothes.

    If you are face painting, do not get paint in or near the eye area. Avoid getting paint in hair as well.

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