Create a Paint STEM by Karen Meyer

Create a Paint STEM by Karen Meyer

Safety: Acrylic medium is not washable – paints will stain. Remind students to minimize paint messes. Use care and adult supervision when measuring powders to avoid airborne particles. Clean up all spills promptly.



Print out of worksheets in activity guide

Newspaper, craft paper or plastic table covers to protect tables/desks.

Supplies – Clear plastic cups, plastic spoons, Ziploc bags, paint brushes, scissors, paper Fillers and Thickeners – Plaster of Paris, Chalk, Flour, Cornstarch

Pigments – Colored chalk, Eye Shadow Powders, Art Supply Mica Binders – Elmer’s Glue, Elmer’s Glitter Glue, Acrylic Medium Dyes – Food Color Gel, Inks

Additives – Shaving Cream, Glitter


Setup/Cleanup: Students should work in teams of 4-5. All the ingredients are placed through the classroom. Adults should help manage distribution when needed. Place newspaper or table covers to manage mess. Collect solid and acrylic paint waste in trash bin. Water and glue mixture can go down the drain with water.


Expereiment:There are many types of paint. Some are used to decorate and create art while others are made to cover walls and add color. Some paints not only add color, but they also protect the object, like a car. Paints are usually mixtures of solids in liquid. The solid Fillers in paint help to hide the surface underneath. They also affect the paint properties – some fillers in this experiment make the paint liquid thick and others make the dried paint hard. Paint color comes from solid Pigments and liquid Dyes. The Binder is added to act like a glue – it helps the solids stick to the surface, but it dries clear and does not change the appearance much (it might make it glossy, though). Additives are used to change the look or improve the properties of the paint.


Download this activity here.

Designed by  STEM Advisor Karen Meyer


Grade Range: 4th-8th                           


Time: 40 min


Synopsis: Students explore the process of creating a craft paint with common art and household ingredients. They learn about components in paint – Fillers, Thickeners, Pigments, Dyes, Binders, and Additives. They experiment with the paint components to develop their own paint recipes for their business. At the end, they provide their Ingredient list, instructions to produce, and a product name.

color, craft, experiment, paint, STEM