Sunday, March 24, 2013

Condensed Milk Painting

Yesterday, we tried out some condensed milk paintings. I saw this idea on Pinterest, but it comes from ECE Made Easy. I think we have tried making our own paints with just about everything that I have heard of, so we definitely had to give this one a whirl. I am so glad we did! It was lots of fun and we ended up with some neat results. They started off trying out different sized paintbrushes, including foam, and regular bristle brushes, and quickly switched over the finger painting, which is when things got really exciting. Mia came up with a paint dribble technique reminiscent of Jackson Pollack. And Logan, eventually learned that when he mixed all the colors together, it produced black. This paint produces colors that are glossy and vibrant. They are also very 3-dimensional, sitting well off of the paper's surface. All of these characteristics, reminded me quite a bit of when we did corn syrup paintings.

Even though it was messy to do, the condensed milk cleaned up easily with a damp washcloth (for the kids) and a damp sponge (for the table). So, please don't let the mess factor frighten you. This was pretty affordable. I only needed to purchase condensed milk, which was about $1.60 for the can. We ended up with 10 or 11 paintings total, and there was still some paint left, although as I mentioned Logan's had been mixed to the point of muddiness. Unfortunately, like the corn syrup paintings, since they are made from food, I don't see them lasting long term. Some of the paint was applied quite thickly, so it had to dry overnight. Now, it appears to have small white spots all over, which may be mold. However, it was a cool experience to do with young kids! I would recommend that you do it for the process, not the product.

{Condensed Milk Painting by Mia, Age 6}
{The "Palette"}
  • can of condensed milk
  • food coloring
  • mini muffin tins
  • spoons for mixing (1 per color)
  • paper
  • paintbrushes (optional)
  • vinyl tablecloth or something else to protect work surface
  • old clothes/smocks are suggested
  • cookie sheets (optional) 

  1. This is a messy project, so protect your work surface and make sure the kiddos are wearing old clothing or paint smocks. Mine wear designated "smocks" which are just old t-shirts of mine whenever we do stuff like this. Also, you may want to have a damp cloth on hand for cleaning children and a damp sponge for cleaning your table.
  2. Pour some condensed milk into your containers. We used 12-cup mini muffin tins, which worked very well. You could also use bowls, cups, plates, Styrofoam trays, or ice cube trays. Tip: If doing this with more than one child, make it easier on everyone and give each child his own container.  
  3. Add a few drops of food coloring to each container of condensed milk and mix it up. I used about 3 drops per muffin cup. Tip: I knew that I had to use separate spoons to avoid color contamination. So, to make it easier on myself, and to keep from going through all of the spoons in the house, I gave both kids the exact same colors and systematically mixed them one color at a time. So, I mixed red for one child and then used the same spoon to mix red for the other child. Then, I got a new spoon and mixed the blues, and then I got a new spoon to mix the greens, and so on. I still went through 12 spoons, but this was smarter than using 24 spoons!
  4. Give the kids some paper and paintbrushes and let them create. Or, if you are don't mind, let them paint with their hands. We tried using cardstock, finger paint paper, and construction paper. I think all of these papers worked fine, so you should be able to do this on most any type of paper that you have on hand, especially since you are doing this for the experience, not the final product. Tip: You can first lay the paper on a cookie sheet, if you want. It won't contain all of the mess, but it will help.
  5. Lay the paintings flat to dry. You should then be able to display them for a few days. Note: I am hoping to shellac a few to see if this will preserve them, but I don't know if it will work.

{Painting with a foam paintbrush}
{Perfecting her splatter technique}
{Condensed Milk Painting by Logan, Age 3}

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