I See A Sidewalk and I Want To Paint It…Blech.

Summer is approaching, and the kids are always looking for ways to express themselves, so I thought we would make some sidewalk paint. The photo on Pinterest looks like this:


  • 1 tsp washable tempera paint
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 1/2 cup of cornstarch
  • squirt of dishwashing liquid
  • Squirt bottle

1.   Add cornstarch to one cup of hot water whisking to mix so that there are no clumps.

2.   Add one teaspoon of washable tempura paint and a quirt of dishwashing liquid.   Mix well.

3.   Pour it into your squirt bottles and shake well.


This week I went to the craft store and got some spray bottles. Looking back, I probably should have gone to the dollar store or the Christmas Tree Shops because the bottles were a little pricy at $1.49 each.

On Friday, the boys helped me mix the colors.

We made green:


Pink, and Blue:

Then we took them outside to try them. The overall effect of the paint was faint at best.

Maybe it was the kind of sprayers we used, but ours had no “stream” setting, so it kind of went out in a fan that wouldn’t make for any kind of serious rendering if a child wanted to paint a sun or a rainbow, or any kind of real picture.

Clooney had to squeeze the trigger about two dozen times to get this much color on the pavement.

Edison even tried dipping a brush into the paint,  but it really just came out as mostly water.

Overall, the paint looked best after a few of the splatters had dried near where we made it – on the kitchen counter and floor. By the time I found those droplets, they had dried to a nice chalky substance that wiped away easily.

My younger son, Clooney, said that the spray paints were “fun” but when I asked him if they were any more fun than just spraying water, he admitted that they were not. They would probably  be good for pre-schoolers, but I think they might frustrate any older kids who would hope to use them to create specific images.

Plus, it really wasn’t that inexpensive:

$6.00 for Bottles

$6.00 for Tempura Paints

$1.00 for Cornstarch


$13.00 Total

Crayola sells the paints with a brush in a set for around that price, plus they have an airbrush set for around $12 as well. Fisher Price sells paints in a set with a sprayer for $12.

This is the Fisher Price one. Color me cynical, but I think there’s some Photoshoppin’ going on here.

Sure it’s cute and fun to make your own paints, but overall, not worth the effort, especially if your kids really want to make any kind of picture that’s not completely abstract. In the end, I think Edison and Clooney (who are 11 and 9, and admittedly not the target demographic for this project) had more fun cleaning out the bottles with the garden hose than they did with the actual paints.