6 Art Supplies You Can Totally Make at Home

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The next time you pull out the bin of art supplies only to discover none of the lids made it back onto the markers, don’t panic. You can create simple art supplies with next-to-nothing. From fingerpaints to homemade chalk, scroll down for our six supplies that are just as fun to make as they are to use.

photo: christomopher via flickr

1. Edible Finger Paint

A non-toxic finger paint you can make at home? This easy-peasy art supply can create hours of entertainment for mere pennies. Plus, even babies can do it because of the “edible” quality (we say edible in the “don’t panic if it goes in their mouth” sense). Did we mention it has a yummy scent? Click here to learn more.

photo: Amber Guetebier

2. Homemade Playdough

This easy, make-at-home playdough requires just four ingredients and no equipment or cooking, making it fun for kids of all ages, including toddlers. The salty dough deters eating and you can choose any kind of dye, or no dye at all. We like to use gel food coloring because a little goes a long way. Here’s how to make your own in just a few steps.

photo: Gordon via flickr

3. DIY Chalk

Before venturing out to the sidewalk, take the morning to create your own chalk. This easy-to-follow tutorial from Ray Pajar of Get Crafty Crafty shows you how to get the kids involved in making chalk in only a few easy steps. Watch the how-to here.

photo: nsmithtmz via flickr

4. Instant Watercolors

It doesn’t get easier than making your own watercolor paints. All you need is food coloring and a few drops of water. Make a palate using an ice cube tray. The ice cube tray works great because that’s about the right amount of water. Teach the kids about color mixing, too, by creating purple (red + blue), green (yellow + blue), etc.

photo: Emily Cox via flickr

5. Reuse Old Makeup

Okay, moms, no matter what the fashion mags are telling you, the ’90s called and it wants its blue eyeshadow back. When you think your kids are old enough (i.e. they are not going to eat the art supplies or think they can use your “good” makeup for these projects) try letting them play around with eyeshadow pigments, the remains of your favorite lipstick and the nub of eyeliner. Again, use common sense: a kid that can’t keep it on the table might end up painting the wall with lipstick so make sure they are ready for this. But just in case, here are 19 stain-removing hacks that might come in handy.

photo: Mum in the Madhouse

6. Food for Thought

You can create a variety of natural dye using food supplies. Berries, beets and onion skins (boiled) can create shades of red and purple, carrots can create orange and leafy greens like kale can create shades of green. Try making a potato stamp with these instructions. The end of a stalk of celery makes a perfect rose stamp, too, like the one here designed by Jen from Mum In the Madhouse.

What’s your favorite easy at-home art supply? Tell us your tips in the comments below! 

—Amber Guetebier & Gem Platte