Monday, January 19, 2015

Painting At Home With Children

In a very unscientific poll of parents, most adults seem to agree that the two art materials they most fear their children using at home are paint and glitter.

Poll children, and most will agree that the art materials they love best in the world are- surprise!- paint and glitter, followed by clay in a close third place.

Aaah!  Striking fear into the hearts of people who like clean homes.

So what is a person who 1. Wants to foster creative interests, and 2. Hopes to maintain a semblance of cleanliness, to do?  Don't despair. I just found the answer.

Make These Toys by Heather Swain
This book is a little miracle I borrowed from my public library, but in case you don't find it at yours, you can order it.

In a nutshell, this book is amazing, and contains dozens of keepers, but the recipe for Glitter Paint really caught my eye.  Who wants that at home?! I thought. Your kids, that's who. And mine, too. Never fear- you and the kids both get what you want. Really. No compromises! 

The recipe is on page 207 of the book, but it is so simple I will tell it to you here. 
1 1/2 t dish soap
4T light corn syrup
Food coloring

Put those ingredients, with however much glitter you want, into little jars. I used baby food jars and mason jars, but anything with a top works.  Make several, so you can create lots of colors by mixing your food colorings. Feeling brave?  Let the little artists do the food coloring.

I put a small brush into each jar so that I could skip a water cup to clean the brushes.  Here is what they looked like when I called my test subjects over. 

The artists were pretty excited. How could they not be.
So I let them do the stirring.

Once all of the jars were stirred up, the guys used the paint on regular paper. Here is the beauty of it- it is paint + glitter, AND it is soapy! The glitter is fully encapsulated by the paint, so it will not flake off the page, even when dry, and make its way into every corner of your home. 

Smocks all around.  They are never a bad idea.

The book states that it is great on paper and cardboard.  It is thick and viscous, but worked well on paper, and drizzles beautifully, especially for my older boy, who decided to make this a Jackson Pollock moment.

Even as an art teacher, I usually cringe at paint, like tempera, being thrown around my kitchen. But the amazing thing about this paint is that it cleaned up more easily than any I have ever seen.  And I play with a lot of paint, so this really is saying something.  

When you  pour water into the jars at the end, this is what happens:

It. Foams.  

Self-cleaning magic! Note that soap in the recipe. It makes all of the difference. No one had stained hands, my counters and floors are spotless, and the paint washed away from the brushes and jars without scrubbing needed. 

So, whether your child holds a brush or prefers finger painting, this is your new recipe.  Sparkly, painty, and clean as a whistle.  It dries pretty quickly to a glassy finish with tons of sparkle. Try it out and let me know what you think.

And if you didn't use it up, just pop the lids on top of the jars and save the paint for another day. 

Have fun!

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