How To Make Perfect Puffy Paint (with Supplies You Already Have)

Puffy Paint. The most amazing creation my two-and-a-half year old has found so far. I’m not a huge fan of any of the puffy paints and puffy fabric paints I’ve found for sale on line or in brick and mortar stores. They are great for adult crafts and t-shirt designs. They are entirely too expensive and not that great for kid sensory activities. What a waste!

Enter Pinterest. Puffy Paint Perfection!


3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (gel) shaving cream
your choice of coloring.

food coloring
water colors
tempera paint


This stuff is simply fantastic. The video above shows how it puffs out of the wall upon application, dries puffy, and then smashes down when a finger depresses it. It does not reform.

In fact, this stuff is so fantastic….

I let my daughter paint in her favorite oversized Tinkerbell Coloring Book. I laid it flat to dry (to completely dry it took somewhere between 24 & 36 hours). I just knew I had ruined the coloring book. i couldn’t rip out the page because I let her paint on the cover! 48 hours later, I was able to safely close the book without sticking. It flattened, and did not reform, but it didn’t ruin it either.


Puffy paint seems to be the new lifesaver of our house! The paint itself entertained Kara for almost 45 minutes. These days, that’s a long long long time! So, we painted… and painted… and painted… and painted. We painted with:

  • Brushes
  • Q Tips
  • Fingers
  • Toothpicks
  • Cotton Balls

To make the paint, I made a batch…. 3/4 cup of each was plenty! I felt so wasteful when she was done painting and there was left over paint (more on that further down the post). After mixing the two ingredients (if for some reason its too dry, add more cream, if its too wet add more flour – it is fail proof!), I put a couple spoon fulls in each compartment and added color.


Quite frankly? It makes zero difference what you use to color. The water colors did take a bit more quantity than the food coloring or tempera paint. Food coloring took 8-10 drops. Tempera paint took less than a squirt. For cost efficiency, if you already own tempera paint (I got ours at Walmart Back to School Sales for $1.00 per bottle), its cheapest. If you have a kid who puts things in their mouths, food coloring is cheap and safest. If you only have water colors, it works too!


Now as for waste….. I HATE WASTING PRODUCTS!

I make as many messy art things for Kara as possible so that its cheaper and so that she gets to experience “experiments” as she calls them as well as new sensory events. I don’t want to waste what we’ve created. So, for our “waste,” we painted wax paper. Then I let her smash the paper together. This created two things:

  1. Gave my smaller child a less-mess activity. Everything goes in his mouth. I didnt want this in his mouth today. I let his fingers paint through the paper – a no mess activity!
  2. We made window catchers after the paint dried to give away. We added the window catcher as the “card” to our Woven Gift Basket we made in The 3rd Week of our Proverbs 31 Preschool Study.




  1. Fatima

    What a lovely share! I enjoyed reading and can’t wait to make these for my baby once he turns 2. What age do you recommend for kids to start using these?


    1. freshlymessy (Post author)

      I let my special needs 9 month old do stuff like this (under the wax paper). While Kara is 2-1/2 years now, she started doing this stuff probably around 6 months when she could sit at the counter with us. Give him some extra supervision. None of the ingredients are TOXIC, and food coloring is safer than water colors for infant ingestion. But, sit with him and play with him and he would be fine either way 🙂

  2. Stacey

    I lOVE this idea! I bet you could also put the extra in a ziplock bag to squish around. But then you wouldn’t have the window catchers when you’re done, so maybe your idea is better.

    1. freshlymessy (Post author)

      HAHAHAHAHHAAHHAHA! No, you wouldn’t have window catchers, BUUUUUT for my special needs 9 month old who I don’t want it going in the mouth at all….that’s a FABULOUS idea! Thank you for a GREAT idea!!!! I will certainly try that next time!

  3. Davis Finn

    Such a great idea!!

    1. freshlymessy (Post author)

      Thank you, Davis!

  4. Monica Bruno

    This is awesome Kaitlyn, you’re so creative!

    1. freshlymessy (Post author)

      Its so much funnnnnnn! And, to keep the attention of my two year old (and probably most others) it takes doing new stuff all the time.

  5. Heather J

    Love this! I’m gonna have to try it!
    God is GREAT!

    1. freshlymessy (Post author)

      I’m so excited you love it. If you remember, come back and let me know how it worked out for you!

  6. Mar

    The colors are so vivid! I’m sure your kids had a blast 🙂 I absolutely hate having to buy large amounts of puffy paint when I just need it for one craft! I may try this on a smaller scale for my next project 🙂

    1. freshlymessy (Post author)

      The colors were surpringly SUPER vivid, and I was shocked that there wasn’t a whole lot of difference between which method I used to color everything. I’m super excited about that!

  7. sue

    Oh I love this idea Kaitlyn and I’m definitely going to try this with my grandchildren. Thanks for sharing this and linking up with us at #AnythingGoes – see you next week!


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