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20 Recipes for Homemade Art Supplies

Homemade Art Supplies - Get Recipes at BetterBudgeting

Living a Better Life® (from the editor's desk)
by Michelle Jones

This article is for all the moms, dads, grandparents and childcare providers who are trying to stretch their dollars and still provide fun activities and supplies for the kids. Below you will find 20 recipes for homemade art supplies including play dough, modeling clay, paint, slime, goop, glitter, sidewalk chalk, papier-mâché and multi-colored crayons. Have fun!

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Making Art Supplies at Home

Along with a good supply of crayons, markers, chalk and lots of paper, the kids will love playing with these homemade art supplies and games. You can purchase many of them at the store, but why not save some money and show the kids how to be even more creative by making their own supplies?

Children love seeing how things are made, and they love the time you will be spending with them while making these projects. If you don't have kids at home, try making up a batch of something just for yourself, I promise I won't tell anyone.

I collected these recipes back in the 90's when our kids were young and I managed a home daycare. Many of my recipes are scribbled on scratch pieces of paper. Aren't you glad I saved them for you!


Mix together 5-6 drops of food coloring and 1/2 c. salt, stir well. Cook in microwave for 1-2 minutes or spread out on a piece of waxed paper to air-dry. Store in an airtight container, as with all of the art supplies in this article.

Sidewalk Chalk 

1 c. plaster of paris
1/2 c. water
2-3 T. tempera paint

Mix plaster of paris and tempera paint, then add water and mix well. Pour into molds and let dry for 24 hours. Remove from mold and let air dry for 2-7 days depending on size. You can use paper cups, plastic butter tubs or food trays, candy molds, muffin tins, or even toilet paper tubes covered with foil on one end.

Finger Paint 

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2 c. cornstarch
3 T. sugar
2 c. cold water
Food coloring
Dishwashing liquid
White shelf paper

Soak gelatin in 1/4 c. warm water and put aside. Combine cornstarch and sugar in medium sized pot. Gradually add remaining water and cook slowly over low heat, stirring until well blended. Remove from heat and add gelatin. Divide into containers, adding a drop or two of d/w liquid and food coloring to each.

Read "Fantastic Frugal Finger Paints" for 9 more homemade recipes!


1 c. liquid starch
6 c. water
1/2 c. soap powder
Food coloring

Dissolve soap powder in water, add starch and food coloring.

Edible Peanut Butter Play Dough

This recipe is especially good for toddlers because they can play with the dough and then eat it. (Be sure to wash hands and work area!)  It's also one of my favorite candies, when made with peanut butter and powdered sugar!

1 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. honey
1 c. plus 1/2 c. powdered milk

Mix ingredients and roll into balls.

Play Dough (cooked)

1 c. flour
1/2 c. salt
2 tsp. cream of tarter
1 c. water
1 T. oil
food coloring

Mix first three ingredients together and then add last three. Cook on low heat, stirring constantly, until it forms a ball and becomes dull.

Kool-Aid Play Dough (no cooking required)

3 c. flour
1/2 c. salt
1 pkg. unsweetened Kool-aid
1 T. alum
2 c. boiling water

Mix together first three ingredients then add boiling water. Knead dough with up to an additional 1 c. of flour until it becomes the right consistency.

Jell-O Play Dough (no cooking required)

4 c. flour
1 c. salt
2 pkgs. unsweetened Jell-O
4 tsp. cream of tartar
2 c. boiling water
2 tsp. cooking oil or baby oil

Mix together first three ingredients then add boiling water and oil.  Mix together well and knead until dough becomes the right consistency.

Sticky Putty 

3/4 c. plus 2 T. water
1 tsp. Mule Team Borax
8 ounces white glue
Food coloring

Heat water over medium heat and add borax, stir with wooden spoon until dissolved. Add glue and a few drops of food coloring, stirring constantly until glue and water mix. Pour into a plastic bowl and cool.

Modeling Clay 

1 c. cornstarch
1 and 1/2 c. water
16 ounces baking soda

Combine cornstarch and baking soda together in large saucepan. Stir in water and cook over low heat until the mixture becomes thick and forms a ball. Remove from heat and cool. Knead the dough on a countertop dusted with cornstarch until smooth.

Air Dry Clay 

3 c. flour
1 c. salt
1/2 c. white glue
1 c. water
1 tsp. lemon juice

Mix together until well blended. Mold into shapes or roll out and cut with cookie cutters. Let dry overnight before painting.


Mix one part flour with about 2 parts of water until you get a consistency like thick glue. Add more water or flour as necessary. Mix well to get out all the bumps.


2 c salt
1 c. water
1 c. cornstarch

Cook salt and 1/2 c. of water for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add cornstarch and remaining 1/2 c. of water, then return to heat. Stir until mixture thickens. You can also add food coloring to this.

Multi-Colored Crayons 

Peel broken crayons and melt carefully in a small aluminum pan at 350 degrees for 15 -20 minutes. Cool and break into new multi-colored pieces, or carefully pour melted mixture into small waxed paper cups and remove paper when cooled.

Disappearing Paint 

Mix 1/8 tsp. "bluing" (laundry additive) with 2 cups water. Paint the sidewalk and watch the blue color disappear.

Face Paint 

Mix poster paints with cold cream.

Cinnamon Clay

This recipe is great for Christmas ornaments or scented hearts around the home.

1/4 c. white glue
1/3 c. applesauce
3 T. cinnamon
1 and 3/4 c. flour
1/4 c. water

Mix ingredients together until dough forms a ball. Knead dough for 1-2 minutes, adding a little more flour if needed. Roll dough out and cut with cookie cutters. Bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes.

Crazy Putty (this putty bounces)

3/4 c. of white glue
3/4 c. of liquid starch

Add enough liquid starch until a ball of dough is formed, then add food coloring and knead dough until it's completely worked in.


1 c. glue
Liquid starch
Food coloring, if desired

Add starch to glue slowly until mixture becomes the right texture; slimy!

Lap Desk 

Make a pillow out of scrap material, fiberfill and some poly/plastic beads to make it squishy. Attach a lap tray or board with strips of Velcro.

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Copyright © 2001-2013 by Michelle Jones.  All rights reserved.
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