Powder paint science and art

I recently came across several bottles of powdered tempera paint stuck in the very back of my supply closet and realized, we haven’t done much with powdered paint all year. I thought it would be a nice change and an interesting product for my students to explore…

For my Prek kids, I invited them to mix up their own paint colors using a teaspoon for the powder and a dropper to add water…

Our mixing trays are empty plastic egg cartons left over from Easter. I knew they would come in handy one of these days…

The most challenging part of this process for the children was not starting off with too much powder. As the children added water, they were able to see how the powder changed from a solid to a liquid and the more water added, the more runny the paint would be….

The children were invited to mix the colors as they wished and to try samples of the colors as they went along on the paper that was covering the table…

As the children mixed the colors, new colors were invented so we began to come up with names that would describe our new colors like “burnt orange” or “dandelion yellow”….

The children explored the process until we ran out of time.  We saved our paint trays for use the next day…

As a side note, giving the children small spaces and tools to work with helped control the amount of powder that was used throughout the process so I still had plenty left for lots of other occasions. I just need to stop putting the powdered paint away in the very back of my closet so I can remember to use it…

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By |2012-06-07T07:00:36+00:00June 7th, 2012|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. crystal@growingajeweledrose June 8, 2012 at 11:06 am - Reply

    Powder paint is such a neat thing to explore with. I love adding a little to Goop ad shaving cream. It reacts quite differently when added to those materials instead of water. I can’t wait to see what other ways you come up with to use the powdered paint 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 8, 2012 at 2:57 pm - Reply

      I haven’t tried adding powdered paint to goop and shaving cream! Great ideas Crystal!

  2. Alyssa June 8, 2012 at 11:23 am - Reply

    Powder paint is also fun to sprinkle onto paper then spritz water on top of it as if the paper is being “rained on”.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm - Reply

      We just recently tried that too Alyssa – will be sharing it soon:) It was a fun idea for sure!

  3. Kristah June 9, 2012 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    If you let the paint dry, you can use it like water color paint. That way you don’t feel you are wasting it when the kids make too much.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 10, 2012 at 1:20 pm - Reply

      Oh, oh, oh – this is a terrific idea Kristah! I didn’t even thing just to let it dry out and reuse it like waterpaints!! Marking that down for next time!

  4. Sheilagh November 17, 2017 at 9:39 pm - Reply

    I find that when the powder paint dries it comes off on the kids hands. Any ideas of what to add to the mixture to stop this

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