Experiments, Inexpensive and Versatile, Math and Numbers, STEM Resources

Easy, Colorful Cornstarch Painting & Science!

Have a blast painting with your little chemists and learn some science in the process!

I whipped up some paint with a few simple kitchen ingredients, we grabbed some old paint brushes, and spent nearly 3 hours outside painting!

What you need:

  • 1 – 12 cup cupcake pan (or 2 – 6 cupcake holders)
  • 3 cups of cornstarch
  • 3 cups of water
  • Food coloring (with a minimum of the primary colors – Red, Blue, Yellow, our pack also had Green)
  • 1 whisk & a bowl

What you do:

  1. Mix the cornstarch and the water together in a bowl until there are no more clumps and it looks milky.
  2. Carefully pour the cornstarch mixture into the cupcake pans evenly.
  3. Then have fun creating colors by adding the food coloring and mixing with a whisk!

Below is approximately how many drops of food coloring we used in each cupcake cup for each color:

  • Red: ~ 4-5 drops of Red
  • Yellow: ~ 4-5 drops of Yellow
  • Blue: ~ 4-5 drops of Blue
  • Orange: ~ 2 drops of Red + ~ 4 drops of Yellow
  • Green: ~ 4-5 drops of Green (if you don’t have Green, you could use ~ 2 drops of blue + 4 drops of Yellow)
  • Purple: ~ 3 drops of Red + ~ 3 drops of Blue
  • Brown: ~ 2 drops Red + ~ 2 drops of Yellow + ~ 1 drop of Blue

What is Happening?

When cornstarch and water are mixed together, they form a mixture called a suspension or heterogeneous mixture. The grains of cornstarch will gradually fall out of suspension and form a solid clump at the bottom of the cupcake pan. You will need to occasionally mix each color as the cornstarch comes out of solution in the water. So bring your whisk with you wherever you paint!

Let your kids help you measure out the water and the cornstarch for some math practice! Or let them help you count and record how many drops of food coloring are needed to create each color!

Hint: Do not pour this mixture down your drain, it could clog your pipes!

I also suggest bringing a bowl of water with you to clean the brushes between colors.

I hope that you enjoy this activity as much as we did!

-Kristen

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