Fun in the Tub with Bathtub Paint

Kids love to painting.   Moms don't love to clean up the mess.   What if you could combine painting with cleaning the bathtub?

The answer is bath tub paint!

bathtub paint

You can make it thick and use it as finger paint, or you can dilute it and use it with paintbrushes.   This paint  is washable, does not stain and will help you clean your tub.


  • 1 Cup of Dish Detergent
  • 1/2 Cup of Cornstarch
  • 1/2 Cup of boiling water
  • Food Coloring (liquid kind is best)

I used antibacterial, scented hand soap.   Know whatever soap you use, your kids will coat themselves with it “ so be sure to pick something that won’t cause a reaction.


Mix the cornstarch into the hot water until it is dissolved and the consistency is pasty.

Add the soap and mix until there are no chunks.

Add food coloring.

Store in an airtight container.

Bathtub Paint

The paint may separate slightly when stored, stir before use.   Test the paint on a patch of your tub to ensure that your food coloring does not stain “ and have fun!

This post was inspired by Katey at Having Fun at Home.   She has super fun activities to keep your kids occupied – in and out of the tub!   Here is more painting play in the bathtub from Katey.


  1. This is SOOOOO cool. I am totally trying it at home. We bought some bathtub paint once and the colors were so faint the boys lost interest in it quickly.

  2. You could use baby shampoo to make a no-tears version

  3. What about kids that have skin conditions? My step son stay with us on the weekends from time to time and he LOVES bath time. Kid’s a fish lol. This would be awesome but he has vitiligo (like MJ had) it’s mostly just a lack of color in patches but we try to be uber careful too. His lighter tones get burnt by the sun easily and tend to have rashes more often than on the darker skin.

  4. Marisa, I wish this was good for bad skin conditions. Only testing it will tell. With my youngest daughter she doesn’t use soap (any) and doesn’t get to paint the tub as she has excema. We are hoping she grows out of it, but till she does we avoid soaps as well. Have you tried maybe fingerpainting the sink as a way to test his reaction and let him explore without irritating his whole body?

  5. Okay, I made this today & had a problem – I’m sure I just did something wrong. HOW do you mix the cornstarch & water? I thought that it was a good paste (I used a fork to mix them), but then when I put the dish soap in, it was still lumpy & nothing I could do got the lumps out – I finally put it in my Kitchen Aid out of desperation & ended up with whipped soap suds with lumps of cornstarch stuff in it! My son loved painting with it anyway, but I was just wondering – what do you use to mix yours – what did I do wrong??? 🙂

  6. I don’t know, we used Popsicle sticks to mix it. There were some lumps, but they were absorbed as my three year old stirred them. It gels up as it sets so you have to re-stir prior to each use. Sorry yours was so lumpy.

  7. I just stumbled on this page today, fantastic idea!!!
    This didn’t stain your tile or grout???
    Our bath/shower has white tile that looks exactly like yours pictured above. My son LOVES to paint or draw all the time, so I thought this would be a great project. Thanks for the idea.

  8. It didn’t stain our tub, but I’d test it in a small area to be sure. Oh, and FYI, it only keeps for a few weeks! We dug out the leftovers a few days ago and discovered they had spoiled. Looks like we’ll be making more soon.

  9. I just “stumbled” upon this post – what a great idea!

  10. yes i am going meg’s house

  11. Doesn’t cornstarch only dissolve in cold water? I really could swear that’s why all recipes make you dissolve it in cold water before adding it to things 🙂

  12. Nice idea in theory – until your kids start colouring the bathroom tiles and furniture with their other pens and crayons because they had so much fun.

  13. What a great distraction from work this was! Much better than the number crunching I usually do. Thanks for the pick-me-up!

  14. I was just lamenting the amount of effort it took to clean off their bath crayons. This looks to be much brighter, easier to use, and easier to clean. Might have to give it a try, especially now that we are getting into the warmer weather and the bathtub is our pool!

  15. tammy Sarette says:

    try mixing the cornstarch in just a bit of cold water to get it dissolved then pour it into the hot. The minute the starch hits the hot water it’s going to clump no matter what so I tried the cold water trick first then added it to the hot and had no problems. Took just a bit more cornstarch to get the consistency I wanted but it was great.
    Also tried it with flour too cause I didn’t have enough cornstarch for a second color. that worked too. Not as good, but my daughter couldn’t tell the difference.
    have fun!!

  16. So I made these this morning for my nephews so I don’t have any feedback yet about how well they work or if they stain but I can offer some advice while you are making it. My second color was much better than my first.
    First off, I dissolved 1/2c cornstarch in 1/2c cold water and added it to the hot water just before it started to boil. I kept it on med heat as I slowly added the cornstarch and stirred the whole time. I then added the soap slowly (I used baby soap since this is for a 1yr old and 3 yr old). I then added food coloring. I had all of my ingredients right next to me so I could just grab them and keep stirring. It never clumped but it did on the first try when I added the cornstarch to the boiling water.
    Also, when I rinsed the pan in bwtn colors I got a sink fulllllll of bubbles that wouldn’t go away. So I added salt to the pain and to the sink before I washed the pan and this keeps the bubbles to a minimum. Also rinse slowly!
    Hope this helps!

  17. Try using Cetaphil it’s very mild.

  18. this was a great idea and it was great for my daughter too. She has so much fun with it that she dosen’t like to stop. I use this soap paint on my drive way and it works like really well no mess to have after ward and it washes away too with out no stains which is another great thing. I had my daughter at first use her fingers but then we switched to paint brushes and that works really good. I like my bath paint thick thou its easyer to spreed on.

    Well thanks for the great idea it will be treasured for a life time.

  19. This is such a cool idea, can’t wait to try it with my son!

  20. What a great way to get your shower or tub washed? Thanks great idea!

  21. Jackie S. says:

    This sounds like a fabulous idea. I was wondering, though, If i wanted to paing the kids bathtub (the outside of it and the upper walls) could i leave this on longterm or will it stain? Thanks!!

  22. hi,

    i made this and it turned out to be very watery. is this how it is supposed to be?

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