Make Corn Syrup Art Activity

2.2 based on 18 ratings
Updated on Aug 6, 2013

Corn syrup isn't just for cooking—you can paint with it, too! Here's a finger painting activity for your preschooler that combines pantry basics like corn syrup and food coloring to create bright, colorful works of art. Yes, it’s a little messy but you don’t have to buy fresh paint or worry about ingesting non-edible dyes. Help your child practice color recognition as she swirls the paint around the cardboard. For a more in-depth color lesson, talk to her about the color wheel and show her how primary colors combine to create other colors.

What You Need: 

  • A large sheet of drawing paper or light-colored cardboard
  • Light corn syrup
  • Food coloring in primary colors
  • Small rubber spatula
  • Newspaper
  • Paint shirts or aprons

What You Do: 

  1. Lay out newspaper to protect your work area. Cover an area large enough that the drawing paper or cardboard doesn’t hang off the edges. Corn syrup is sticky stuff.
  2. Place the drawing paper or cardboard on the newspaper.
  3. Pour three small pools of corn syrup on the drawing paper. On opposite sides of one pool, add red and yellow food coloring. Does your child know what color she will get when she mixes the red and yellow?  Have her mix with the spatula and see if she was right.
  4. Add yellow and blue to another pool and blue and red to a third. Again, have her predict what the new color will be, blend and discuss what she created vs. what she predicted.
  5. What color will she get when she mixes these separate pools together? Let her paint around the paper with the corn syrup, mixing a bit of this and a bit of that. As she mixes the separate pools, she'll have patches of primary colors, patches of secondary and also a lot of brown.
  6. Let this artwork dry for several days. Don’t hang it before it's dry or you may have corn syrup drip down the wall.

This is a free form way to blend color. Expand on this by helping your child make a corn syrup color wheel.  

For a fun twist, try making artwork with a seasonal or holiday theme: make an egg-shaped painting for spring, a leaf-shaped painting for fall, or a pine tree painting for the holiday season.

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