I have never used store bought puff paint as I thought the experience of making our own would be part of the fun of the craft. It was! A great sensory, color mixing and science activity, homemade puff paint was a lot of fun and easily created from ingredients in the kitchen cupboard.
Time: 50 minutes
Age: Under 5's, 5-10's
Light weight cardboard (We used cardstock but I would definitely recommend cardboard. Our creations curled up during the overnight drying time.)
Sandwich size ziploc bags
Puff paint mixture (see recipe in step 1)
Plastic table cover and wet rags
Create the puff paint mixture. We used 1/2 cup flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder and 2 teaspoons of salt. Mix the dry ingredients together and add enough water to create a thick batter (about 1/2 cup water). You could also use self rising flour and omit the baking powder.
Divide the mixture into plastic ziploc bags. We used double the recipe in step 1 to make 5 bags.
At this point, the kids were happy just to squish the mixture in the bags for awhile. Then we got out the food colouring and each of the kids picked a colour to make. We talked about colour mixing as a couple of requests were purple and orange.
Add food colouring to the bags and continue the bag squishing to distribute the colours into the batter mixture.
Cut a very small hole in the corner of one bag. Use the bags like icing bags to "paint".
When a creation is complete, pop in the microwave for 30 seconds. Look at how the paint has puffed up! At this point, the paint is dry enough to handle and move around. With older children, this would be a good point to talk about the reaction of the baking powder in the mixture and how that relates to baking in the kitchen.
I am not certain what was more of a hit, using the bags or seeing the paint rise after being in the microwave but apart from being messy, this was a super fun craft.
Note: I covered our craft surface with a plastic cover as it made clean up a lot easier and I was not afraid of little hands opening the bags to take a closer look at the paint.