Essentially Scented Finger Paints

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Essentially Scented Finger Paints

Finger Paints

These naturally scented finger paints are easy to make, and a lot of fun to play with. Kids of all ages will love discovering the different scents of these paints as they create beautiful pictures and designs. Using finger paints is also a great way to help develop creativity, motor skills, and hand-eye coordination in younger children.


  1. In a small cup or bowl, mix 1/4 cup of liquid laundry starch with 1 tsp. powdered tempera paint (5 drops of food coloring will also work if powdered tempera paints are not available).
  2. Repeat the step above using different colors of powdered tempera paint until you have a good variety of colors (4-6 colors is usually sufficient).
  3. Mix 3-5 drops of a different essential oil with each color of paint. Some good combinations are: lavender for purple or blue; pine, spruce, or fir for green; peppermint for red or white; chamomile for yellow; spearmint for blue; and clove or wintergreen for brown. You can also try coming up with your own unique combinations.
  4. Carefully pour each color of paint into a 2 oz. plastic bottle and replace the cap on the bottle.
  5. (Optional) Create a label for each bottle with the color, scent and instructions (for example, your label might read: "Essentially Scented Finger Paints: Dilly Dilly Lavender Blue Color. Instructions: shake bottle, open, squeeze paint onto a sheet of finger-paint or freezer paper, and have fun painting!").
  6. Before painting, shake the bottle a little bit, then open the bottle and squeeze out the desired amount of paint onto finger-paint paper, freezer paper, or thick paper. You can spread the paint with your fingers, or with small paintbrushes.
  7. Note: Make sure that younger children are supervised by an adult at all times while they are using these paints. Although they smell good, the liquid starch used in these paints would probably not be good to swallow.

Extra Ideas:

  1. If you are giving a set of these finger paints as a gift, you may want to include sheets of finger-paint paper (or a roll of freezer paper) to paint on, or a small apron or painting smock to protect clothes.
  2. Use a set of these paints to help teach a pre-school class about the senses. You can talk about how the paints look, how they smell, and how they feel.
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