I love it when art materials can come from my pantry.  That usually means they’re inexpensive, non-toxic, and that I can have an idea and act on it in ten minutes or less.  One of my favorite art supplies that comes from my pantry is corn syrup.  I almost think I use it more frequently for art projects than for cooking. (Though I do love a good batch of caramel corn!)

To make a great syrup paint, simply mix coloring into a small container of corn syrup.  I use liquid watercolor for vibrant colors, but food coloring works as well.  You can mix it in muffin tins or small bowls, though I’ve found these small Gerber containers work great!  They’re the perfect size and the lids snap right on to reduce your mess and preserve your left overs.  Whatever your container, just pour in the syrup, add a few  drops of color, and mix with a fork or toothpick.  Ta-da!  You’re ready to go!

I like having the children use eyedroppers to drizzle and drop the paint (a great way to incorporate fine motor strength and control as well as eye-hand coordination), though I’ve also used brushes, and have seen a few bold children dive right in with their fingers.  The flatter the paint, the faster it dries of course, making this paint a perfect candidate for fold art like these butterflies.  It’s also an ideal extension for Laura Numeroff’s book, If You Give a Pig a Pancake , and I’ve even considered experimenting with it for some tall paintings or pour art.

Syrup paint takes a longer time to dry, but when it does, it has a wonderfully unique sheen to it. (Makes me wonder about letting the kiddos add a little iridescent glitter as they paint with it next time.)

Have you used syrup paint before?  What’s your favorite way to turn your pantry staples into art media?



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