Kids love puffy paint. It's a unique painting experience and the result is that your art work pops off the page. Puffy paint adds a cloud-like texture to art projects and puffy paint recipes are very easy and quick to make.
We tested two different puffy paint recipes and had wildly different results.
Puffy Paint Recipe 1
By far this was the puffier paint of the two recipes we tested.
What you need:
White school glue
Foaming shaving cream (the kind that comes in an aerosol can)
Heavy paper, such as construction paper, or finger paint paper
Optional: food coloring, glitter glue, glitter
Mix equal parts glue and shaving cream.
Seems simple enough, but I found this confusing. Do you realize how voluminous shaving cream is? So I was supposed to use a cup of glue for a cup of shaving cream? That's practically an entire bottle.
I went ahead and mixed 1 cup of glue and 1 cup of shaving cream in an old plastic container. It worked!
We experimented with adding in glitter glue.
And then stirred in some loose glitter.
Results. In our puffy paint test, this variety was very puffy to begin with but deflated as it dried. It is very easy to paint with, but you need to have a lot of white glue on hand if you want to make a large volume of paint.
MORE: Got shaving cream left over?
Puffy Paint Recipe 2
This second puffy paint recipe was less puffy than the first, but is a good one to try for comparison. Any kind of unique sensory experience is a good learning activity.
What you need:
Heavy paper or cardboard
Squirt container, such as the kind used for condiments
Optional: food coloring, paint brush
Mix equal parts salt, water and flour in a squirt container. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring.
If the mixture is too thick, gradually add a small amount of water as needed.
Squirt the puffy paint out onto the paper (we used thin cardboard), making whatever design you wish.
My kid just made blobs. That's okay, too.
As an experiment, he used a paint brush to move the paint around.
Results: the flour-salt-water puffy paint was rather bouncy. That's not surprising, given it is made from the same ingredients as play dough. It does require muscle strength to squeeze out, which makes it a good fine motor activity. It would be good for filling in outlines, like balloons or hearts, and it while it's not remotely as puffy as the shaving cream variety, it keeps its "puff" after it has dried.
Go ahead, try both recipes for puffy paint and see for yourself
First published 2009, updated 2023.