Ice painting – two ways

I love the idea of being outside in the garden on sunny days but I really find that having at least one focused activity helps to keep everyone happier and a little more sane. This activity is lovely because even though it requires prep ahead of time, once you have prepped you can keep the ice paint in the freezer for ages and on the day you want to use it then there is no prep needed.

When I came across this activity online, I noticed that there were two main ways in which ice paint was being made. One way was with paint and the other was with food colouring… so I thought why not try both and see which one works better?

Firstly for both you would be doing yourself a huge favour if you bought some cheap plastic ice trays (don’t use the ones you have in your freezer that you actually make ice with because they will not be the same again). Once you have ice trays you will need some foil and a stick of sorts, (wooden lolly sticks would be ideal… I had wooden teaspoons left over from my daughter’s party so I used those).

Using food colouring

The method is essentially the same for both (just using a different key ingredient).

  1. Put a few drops of food colouring in the ice tray cavity or fill ice cavity about 1/3 with paint
  2. Add water (full but not right to the top)
  3. Mix with a stick or spoon
  4. Once ice tray is full cover with foil (this prevents spilling in the freezer and keeps the stick upright until paint is frozen)
  5. Pierce a hole above each different colour with your stick and place stick inside to harden and be the “handle” for your paint.
  6. Place in the freezer
  7. When you are ready to use it put paper out in the sunshine and place ice tray out for a minute or two until the cubes of paint pull out of the ice tray easily.
  8. Sit back and watch your little one enjoy themselves
Using paint
A minute or two in the sun helps the paint lift easily out of the ice tray

When we did this both the paint and food colour were a hit… although both my 4 year old (and I) enjoyed the feel of the food colour mix better. Part of this for my daughter was that I had more of a variety of colours with the food colours (read: I had pink and purple – her current favourite colours) but mostly it seemed to glide on the paper easier. The paint mix was thicker, so it was a little slower when gliding on the page. The food colour tends to stain more easily (if this is a concern for you… although it isn’t too bad because it has been watered down).

Food colour ice paint

As with most painting in my house the joy is in mixing all the colours until one huge mass of purple brown is formed… so really it wasn’t like we made a masterpiece or anything, but she loved it and it was a win for a hot day. I will definitely be keeping frozen paint in the freezer as backup for sunny days at home in future.

ice paint with paint

We hope you have fun with ice paint soon.


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