Chalk Paint {Tutorial}

We ♥ chalk paint around here, but I’m not too keen on spending $14.99 for three bottles of the stuff (especially when it inevitably spills all over the place!). Today we made our own chalk paint for mere pennies and found out that it’s just as great as the expensive stuff!

To make your own chalk paint, all you need is water, cornstarch and food coloring. Mix the water and cornstarch in equal parts (I used 1/2 cup of each) and add food coloring until it reaches the color desired – it will dry more muted than the colors you see in the cups. It would have been really fun if I had some neon food coloring to match the colors of the expensive chalk paint, but the boys didn’t seem to notice the difference.

They started off with a little splatter painting and random brushstrokes

and then quickly moved on to creating other shapes – suns, circles and polka dots seemed to be the theme of the day

See, the inevitable (inexpensive!) spill! Even the spilled puddle of pink turned into a lesson in color mixing as they tested what would happen when they added other colors to the pink lake.

It’s all about the process :)

I even got in on the fun and created a few Sutton-requested chalk doodles!
I will definitely be stocking up on cornstarch next time I’m at the market. I have a feeling that chalk painting is going to become a regular addition to our art making. Yay for cheap fun, right!?!
NOTE from the comments: We didn’t have any problems with staining or clean up (ours hosed away and cleaned off the kids with soap and water), but I cannot guarantee that the food coloring involved might not stain, especially if you have light or very porous concrete (as noted by one of my blog readers). Please use at your own discretion…it also works great on dark colored paper, so if you’re worried about clean up that might be another fun way to try it out. :)


  1. says

    Amy – our experience with clean-up was fantastic! I was worried about staining the concrete since food coloring was involved, but it rinsed clean away with the hose, and the remnants of the boys’ splatter paint that was all over their hands and clothes washed right away with soap and water :)

  2. Anonymous says

    I did this with my daycare group today on dark paper and it came out wonderful. The kids loved it. Thanks for the idea.

    Michelle in Yorktown Virginia

  3. Anonymous says

    We did this and it DID stain our porch… we have a white concrete and the blue I made stained SO bad :( I scrubbed and scrubbed and 3 weeks later it’s still there.

  4. says

    When I make play dough I use kool-aid to color it and it smells nice. The colors are very vibrant–especially purple. It doesn’t stain hands, but I wonder if it would stain the cement in the chalk paint. I don’t think it would any more than food coloring.I guess I could try it in a small place and see…Thanks so much for posting this:)

  5. says

    Yikes! I’m bummed to hear that others have had issues with the concrete staining in the past. I added a note to the bottom of my post that mentions trying it out on dark paper if you’re worried about the clean up. Thanks for the warning! :)

  6. Lisa C says

    To remove stains from concrete, mix flour with enough hydrogen peroxide to make a thick paste. Spread paste over stain, cover with plastic wrap (tape it down) and let sit until dry (1 to 2 days). If you used soap to clean the stain earlier, this may not work as soap can set a stain.

  7. Anonymous says

    Thanks for posting this great activity! My boys are creating art as I write this. A perfect spring break activity for us in Melbourne Australia!

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