Microwave Puffy Paint

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Well. I’ve seen this technique in different incarnations around Pinterest and the web, so naturally we had to try it. It’s 1. Fun, and 2. Bright.

We used our own recipe, mainly because I misread one of the recipes I found, but it seems like it’s pretty forgiving as long as you have the main ingredients mixed up.

DIY Microwave Puffy Paint Project


  • Flour
  • water
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • white cardboard or the equivalent (something sturdier than paper to hold this heavy, wettish goop)
  • food coloring (we used neon gel colors from the baking aisle)
  • microwave
  • plastic sandwich bags


In a bowl, mix 2 cups flour with 2 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons baking powder. Mix in just enough water to give it a batter consistency. (You don’t want it to run off the paper when it is squeezed on, but you want to be able to squeeze it out of a small hole in the plastic bags.)



Separate the mixture into 4 plastic sandwich bags, drop food coloring into each bag, a few drops at a time, until desired color. At this point, your child will ask if she can taste it. Let her, because it’s funny to see her face wince in disgust at the saltiness of the concoction.


microwave puffy paint

Snip of the teeniest hole from a bottom corner, and use the bags to squeeze the ‘paint onto your surface. I would maybe encourage your kids to not glop this much dough on, because the paint puffs up better in smaller areas….

microwave puffy paint project


But then finger swirling started happening, so who cares about the finished product, anyway?

microwave puffy paint


Microwave your art for 20-40 seconds, and watch it bake and puff up. This is really the fun part of the whole project.


DIY puffy paint


DIY puffy paint

Now sit your kids down and explain to them how all that baking powder + salt makes the flour and water rise and get puffy when it’s cooked, just like in baking bread.

Art + science! Together again.

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  1. 03/08/2013 / 2:48 pm

    You Are A Genius! No, seriously, how do you come up with such cool stuff? I had no idea you could microwave paint to make it puffy. My kids will LOVE this. Perfect because today is a snow day!

    • 03/13/2013 / 5:37 pm

      A genius, you say!? I just found this on the old internet and we put our spin on it. It’s one of those projects you’ll try and then want to revisit every once in a while. Microwaves are magical, aren’t they?

  2. 03/09/2013 / 8:38 am

    Ohhhhh, I wanna be like Artchoo when I grow up.

    I agree with Pragmatic Mom – you are the bombess of art!

    We have got to try this. Thanks!

    • 03/13/2013 / 5:35 pm

      The bombess! I feel honored. I hope you try (tried) this very fun project.

  3. 03/10/2013 / 5:39 am

    Oh wow. We definitely have to try this. Love the finger swirling, though–looks like gloopy fun.

    • 03/13/2013 / 5:33 pm

      The finger-swirling was the highlight of the project. I bet a marbling technique would look good with this stuff, too.

  4. 03/13/2013 / 1:19 am

    This is so fantastic! I am a traveling art teacher to various schools and actually work with a student who is deaf and blind. This would be a great material to work with because of its tactility:) Thank you x’s a million!

    • 03/13/2013 / 5:31 pm

      Hi Lex, This would be a perfect project as far as tactility goes! It really does feel cool after it’s microwaved. It would be fun to compare how this feels with how dried glue feels after drawing with it.

  5. 04/08/2013 / 10:59 am

    when it’s all dried would the final blob stick to a window or fridge. I’m really tired of paying for puffy paint

    • 04/08/2013 / 2:47 pm

      You know, this paint is more puffy like dough- not like plasticky puffy paint, so it’s not sticky. It just sort of bakes onto the surface you have it on!

  6. Christie
    11/17/2014 / 12:45 pm

    This is great! And we just discovered that if you make it on parchment paper, you can peel it off!

    • 11/17/2014 / 12:56 pm

      Oh, and if it’s not to thick, the peeled-off piece will stick to the fridge, at least for a while.

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