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Puffy Paint

In this make-and-take activity, students mix two such ingredients, glue and tempera paint, to create puffy paint artwork. Students can explore shape and texture as they create.

Puffy paint is any paint that has three-dimensional texture and seems to 'puff up' off the paper. It can be made using a variety of ingredients that create different levels of 'puffiness'.

These activities are part of Science World’s Big Science For Little Hands program. They were developed and tested with preschool and kindergarten educators. Some of the activities are done in stations.

Mysterious Mixtures PDF from Big Science For Little Hands.


  • Create textured artwork using glue-based ‘puffy paint’.

  • Observe any differences between the wet and dry artwork.


  • Per Group:
    tempera paint
    white glue
    plastic squeeze bottles (available from baking supply or hobby stores)

Key Questions

  • How is the puffy paint different from regular paint?
  • How is puffy paint different from glue?

What To Do


Add white glue to tempera paint. Make several different colours, putting each in a squeeze bottle.


  1. Squeeze your glue-paint mixture onto paper to make a picture.
  2. Look for any changes while the paint dries.


  • Try using different ingredients in place of the glue, e.g. corn syrup, flour, cornstarch, glycerine, coffee or shaving cream.Try adding colour in different ways: Kool-Aid, food colouring, powdered paint and watercolour ink are some ideas to try instead of tempera paint.If you have access to a microwave, here is a very cool puffy paint experiment from Steve Spangler Science that uses salt and self-rising flour.