Finger Painting

Have easy creative fun with finger painting.

Finger painting is an easy and fun way to be creative, regardless of how old you are. All you need is some suitable paint, some paper to paint on, and you're set.

  • 01 of 05

    Paint for Finger Painting

    Boy (3-5) Finger-painting
    Chris Ladd/The Image Bank/Getty Images

    Obviously, finger painting involves getting paint on your skin, so you want a non-toxic paint. There are various brands of paint for finger painting available, but any paint labeled non-toxic should be okay (always check the label). Remember, though, non-toxic doesn't mean you should be eating or drinking the paint, it's for creating art not food!

    If you're painting with a child who can't resist putting paint-covered fingers in their mouth, consider making an 'edible paint' from something like powdered drink mix or instant pudding, but watch out for colors that stain. Water-based paints are easier to clean up than oil-based.

  • 02 of 05

    Storing Finger Painting Paint

    Finger painting stops being fun if you're worried about a paint container becoming contaminated with the 'wrong' color. Don't put out a huge container of paint for a finger-painting session, but pour out a little of each color into separate small containers. If a color does get too muddied, you can then either mix it up to make a gray or brown or throw it away.

    Plastic, air-tight containers with removable lids are ideal as you can easily save the paint for another day. An old muffin tin also works well, but be sure it's one you don't intend to use for baking again.


  • 03 of 05

    Paper for Finger Painting

    When finger painting with very young children, larger sheets of paper are easiest because then you don't have to focus on helping them get the paint actually on the paper in the first place, nor not going off the edges all the time. You can buy paper marketed as "finger painting paper", but almost any paper will do. Avoid very thin paper or newsprint as this will soon get soaked with paint and tear.

    • Buy Direct: Finger Painting Papers, Roll of Craft Paper, General Purpose Art Paper

  • 04 of 05

    How to Finger Paint

    You dip as much or little of a finger as you wish into some paint, then use your finger as the "brush" to spread the paint around on the sheet of paper. Tapping your finger on the paper, then lifting it up again, will give you a finger-shaped print. Scratching lines into wet paint with a fingernail (it's called sgraffito) gives you a totally different type of line to one painted with a finger. Really, it's not complicated -- unless you're trying to use separate fingers for different colors!

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Tips for Finger Painting

    • If you find the paper is absorbing the paint too fast, making it difficult to spread, dampen the paper first with a wet cloth.
    • Wipe your fingers clean on a damp cloth or on a sheet of kitchen towel.
    • Put the sheets of paper you're going to paint on flat on a table or on the floor. This will minimize the amount of paint that dribbles down.