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Paste Paint!

Natural Kids: Paste Paint!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Paste Paint!

When I taught art many years ago, one of my favorite projects for any age group was paste paint.
Sound too simple? The paint part itself really is.
The recipe is adaptable, so if you don't have a certain ingredient, you can probably find a suitable substitute in your pantry. Besides the paint, you'll need: several small containers (number depends on how many colors you want), heavy paper (drawing or construction paper), a variety of mark making tools (more on that later) and brushes.
Paste Paint
(makes enough for three messy kids - easily halved)
*1/2 c. flour
*2 c. water
*1/2 t. of liquid starch (matte finish) OR 1/2 t. liquid detergent (glossy finish) OR a squirt of glycerine (super gloss - my personal favorite)
*A couple teaspoons of paint, poster, acrylic, tempera, liquid watercolor or even food coloring. If you use powdered tempera, be prepared to add a little more water to the paint.
1. Measure the flour into the sauce pan and slowly add the water while whisking to make a smooth paste.
2. Place the pan over medium heat, and stir constantly until the paste begins to thicken . Seriously, don't walk away from it. The consistency you are looking for is a super thick gravy. If it is clumping all over your stirring implement, you've gone too far.
3. Take it off the heat and let it cool a bit before dividing among containers.
4. Add your color and starch/soap, stirring well. We used acrylic paint for opaqueness - I wanted to use construction paper. We also used laundry detergent because that is what was in the house.
5. Store tightly covered, it keeps a few days.

Once your paint is made, gather the rest of your materials.

Pay attention the mark making tools (shown the paper plate) - they can be anything that will scrape the paint away and leave a line. I like to make "combs" out of cardboard, they scrape wide lines through the paste. I've also added a serrated pie server, and a fork to the pile. In the absence of anything else, fingers are fabulous. Note: we don't usually paint so close to the curtains, but the light was good. Get to work!

Apply the paint to the paper with brushes. and then drag your mark makers through the thick coating to scrape some away making interesting textures and patterns and lines.


The color in the paint stains the paper, so when it is removed, not only does the smooth paper show through the gloppy paint, but there it leaves behind a hint of color. If you don't like what you've made, smooth it out and start over. This works beautifully for surreal landscapes on large paper with older kids. With younger kids, paste paint is a great way to teach color mixing. With 2 year olds, it's a grand, wonderful, tactile mess.


Make bunches: single color, waves of color, brushy ones, striped ones fluffy ones. But be sure to stop before your paper can't take anymore. After your work has dried, you can keep it as is, but you can keep going: transform finished paintings into collages, cards, book covers, place mats if you laminate them. Our paintings are destined to become Easter cards. I'll cut eggs. rabbits and grass from the paintings and she'll glue them to card stock. It's a rainy day here, card making sounds perfect.


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