Puff Up That Paint and Make It Fun

DIY paint that puffs up in the microwave? Sounds like a wild, but simple idea that would be a hit with the kiddos!


I saw this idea first on Pinterest and then I started clicking around and found a great recipe by Happy Hooligans awhile ago and filed away for a rainy day. So that rainy day came and we pulled out the 4 ingredients to made it happen.


Ya'll, can I just say this was so quick and easy and fun!

puff paint

All 4 Ingredients

  • 1 cup self-rising flour (see note below to make your own)

  • food coloring in the colors of your choice (I used these Wilton icing gels)

  • 1 tbsp salt

  • little bit of water (start with 1/4 tsp per color)

  • Cardboard

HOW TO MAKE SELF-RISING FLOUR if you don't have it already

It's super simple, you can make your own by mixing together the following ingredients.

  • 1 cup all purpose flour

  • 1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  1. Combine your flour and salt in a small bowl.

  2. Add a little bit of water and stir until you get a smooth, thin paste (about the same consistency of stirred yogurt).

  3. Add your food coloring, and mix well.

Once you have all of the ingredients together it's time to get to mixing. We started with one cup of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt and enough water to make it the consistency of pancake batter. We divided our mix into four parts and put them into snack size bowls along with some food coloring. Mix - mix - mix. Pull out the cardboard (don't use thin paper, something thick works best) and start painting!


When you’re finished with the artwork, pop the painting into the microwave for 30-45 seconds and watch the paint puff up and grow – so much fun! Normally with paint, you have to wait and let it dry, but this one is dry in a few seconds. As a mom, I think this is my favorite part, no wait, no mess and you can touch it to feel the texture.



We made about 5 paintings that rainy day and we could have done more as we had a lot of leftover paint. If you want to paint more later in the day, just add a little water, mix and paint! Nothing beats cheap entertainment, especially with some fine motor skills practice and a built-in kitchen science lesson!


I'll note that I think next time we will try to put the mix into 4 ziplock bags and snip the tip so my toddler can squeeze it onto the paper to make designs and shapes. I think part of the fun will be squishing it all around to mix up the colors in the bag (just an idea)!


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