Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Glitter Pavement Paints - Pinspiration & #cbias

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I was given a shoppertunity challenge, and a free reign.  "Find something you want to do on Pinterest, and do it!"  So I took to my "Things for Squeaky" board, and once I realised I couldn't buy up the whole of Ikea, I opted for homemade glitter pavement paints based on this recipe from The Imagination Tree, as the weather's still reasonable, and it sounds like something different to do.  You can have a look at my shopping expedition here.

No nail polish! Shock! Horror!
The paint recipe was very simple - cornflour (or corn starch to those in the US), mixed with an equal quantity of water, gel food colourants, and loose glitter.  The glitter caused me the most headaches, I chose my supermarket by the one that normally has the best supply of craft stuff, but they didn't have any glitter. I called at 3 other shops that are normally really good for crafting, but still no loose glitter. Plenty of glitter glue, glitter paints & glitter pens, but no loose glitter. I ended up asking around at work & someone gave me a hint so I was able to get a stash of multicoloured glitter.

Cornflour is brilliant stuff.  I couldn't get Squeaky all that interested in the paint-making process, but she was still confused by the solid/liquid state of the cornflour & water mix.  I'm sure I've mentioned my fascination with Non-Newtonian fluids before (thanks to a couple of episodes of Brainiac), but the way the mix reacts to being stirred is just crazy.  It thickens up as you stir it, and then goes back to being liquid again when you leave it alone. To the extent that I could pick up a solid chunk of paint, and then let it pour back into the container.  I'm easily amused.

Adding sparkles
I made up the colours, mixing the food colourants to make 6 different pots of paint, and added a healthy shake of glitter to each paint pot, then headed outside with Squeaky & her friend Pirate Girl, who had come round to join in the painting fun.  It was a lovely sunny day, so just right for fun in the garden.

Investigating the paints
Old clothes on, and out for some fun.  I'd rearranged the garden to give us as much patio space for painting as possible.  As the paints were food based and non-toxic, I wasn't really worried what the girls decided to paint, as I was confident it would all wash off with a hosepipe. Or shower if it was the girls themselves.

Good job really, as they quickly decided to paint themselves.  It's the freedom of being allowed to do the daft things you're normally told off for.  But that's part of why I chose this activity - a chance to explore colour, texture and art in a different way.  You want to paint your face? Go ahead.

Or your feet.  Strange girl.

And my garden chairs.  As you can see, the paints dry to a chalky kind of effect, and while they run a bit, they're much neater than traditional paints, as they were quite thick.

It wasn't just mess though, we did make some bits of real art.

It's tricky stuff to get used to - it was quite hard to paint as you'd normally do, as the tension of dragging the brush on the floor made the paint thicken up (non-Newtonian again). So it was easier to dab than to brush, which is where the sponges came into their own.  I think I'd make the paints slightly thinner next time, they might be easier to draw with that way.

The girls insisted I made a second batch of paints, a couple of slightly different colours this time, so they could carry on painting themselves and every available surface - including a couple of slightly confused balloons.  What those poor balloons had done to deserve such treatment, I really don't know.

Our finished sunshine, and accompanying raincloud.  Quite appropriate for the Welsh weather really.  I think we might have a new Sian Lloyd on our hands with these two.

The glitter didn't show up quite as much as I'd hoped from the amount that you could see in the paints. It was quite subtle once the paints were used.  But I like the effect, and I think if there had been much more glitter involved, I would have struggled to clean up.

As it was, the patio cleaned up really easily, given 5 minutes with the hosepipe, the chairs much the same.  The windows took a little bit more work, because the paint had smeared on them a bit, but even there, we're not talking a lot of effort.  The girls cleaned up just fine with a handful of wet wipes & a quick dip in the bath.  In fact, by the next day, the only way you could tell we'd been up to anything was the food colourant which had stained my fingers while I was mixing the paints.  I'll wear gloves next time.


  1. Glitter paints! How fun...and outside too! Love this idea, we made cornflour paints last Summer...glitter sounds more fun!

  2. This is my kind of kids' activity. I get to feel all wholesome and educational while not actually having to get involved or supervise too closely as there is nothing dangerous involved.

    1. I felt like a proper accomplished parent. Home made activity? Check! Outdoors? Check!

  3. What a great idea - think we might have to try that. I've got some glitter in the cupboard

  4. I remember when my mum first showed me the cornflour thickening trick. Awesome stuff :D I can't imagine painting with it, though!

  5. Looks like your girls are having great fun. What a fabulous idea x

  6. What a fab idea. Adding this to my "fun stuff to do with the toddler" Pinterest board. You've pinspired me :) x

  7. This looks like so much fun! Must have a go


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