Sidewalk Paint Recipe (It’s not Winter. Yet…)

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So yesterday I wrote all about outdoor learning spaces, and I couldn’t stop thinking about homemade sidewalk paint. I have a good recipe for sidewalk paint, that’s simple to whip up, and you can make lots of different colors. And by you, I mean your kid, while you quiz them on primary and secondary colors and have them measure the ingredients.

homemade sidewalk paints |


  • cornstarch
  • water
  • food coloring

1. Mix 1 cup of cornstarch and 1 cup of water together very well. (We mixed up a big batch and divided it, but you can mix up small containers if you like.)

2. Divide into 4 cups.

3. Add 8-10 drops of food coloring to each cup, either straight up from the bottle or mix ’em to create your own colors.

4. Paint on sidewalk/driveway/patio/rocks/trees/squirrels

sidewalk painting


Hint: The paint will look very watery until it dries, and then it will lighten and brighten up significantly. You can see the difference above.

sidewalk painted circles |


sidewalk painted steps





  1. 09/11/2012 / 10:47 am

    ya know i get super jealous when i see projects like this cause i wanna do them but the toddlers are too small and the teens are too big.

    • 09/11/2012 / 1:20 pm

      It’s always interesting to me to see who gets involved when we break out the projects. Christian and I were painting almost as much as Fen did. Beckett did some splattering- but still got into it. You get those crazy teens out painting the sidewalks of NY 🙂

  2. 09/11/2012 / 2:16 pm

    Looks awesome! I have saved so many recipes for this but have never done it yet! You are inspiring me to mix up a batch!

    • 09/12/2012 / 12:15 pm

      It’s sososososo easy to do. The best kind of project!

  3. 11/08/2012 / 7:32 am

    I need to make this. Now. Visiting from SITS and generally stalking your blog for ideas. Happy SITS day. Enjoy!

  4. Jamie
    07/13/2013 / 9:17 am

    How much cornstarch do you use? How much water do you need to mix? My apologies if it says it somewhere and I overlooked it.

    • 07/13/2013 / 9:30 am

      Wow, I can’t believe I didn’t add in measurements- must have been flaky that day! I updated the post, but you can either mix 1 cup cornstarch to 1 cup water and divide them into 4, or you can mix 4 cups with 1/4 cup cornstarch and 1/4 cup water in each one. Then you add 8-10 drops of food coloring to each.

      • Char James
        07/20/2013 / 4:26 pm

        How long does this paint last? Is it permanent, or does it wash away in the next heavy rain? (I’m looking for something more permanent, but maybe I’ll start with this as a trial so I can try different things.)

        • 07/21/2013 / 9:33 am

          It washes away, but sort of slowly- I would give it 2 good rains to completely wash away.

  5. Sue
    05/19/2014 / 2:32 pm

    Does this paint stain clothes and shoes or the skin and does it wash out?

    • 05/20/2014 / 1:36 pm

      Hi Sue- food coloring tends to stain skin for a little while, and depending on how much color you use, it might take a little elbow grease to wash it off. Or you could just let it fade over the course of a couple days. The color didn’t stain our walkway permanently, but it did stay for about 3-4 days! As far as clothes go, we’ve always been able to get food dye out with the stain removers- although you may want to play it safe and just have them wear old grubby clothes! Have fun with this- we’re do to make another batch of this soon…

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