Indoor Play: 3D Drip Paint

Today we have a fun messy play idea to do with kids: making 3D Drip Paint! This creative painting idea is an old one on the blog, but it’s a fun and creative way to explore the tactile sense with creative expression. Plus, occupational therapy practitioners know the value of activities that drive interest, and this one is sure to do just that! Check out all of the other ways drip paint can target development in kids, too!

You’ll want to check out some of our other sensory paint ideas too!

Homemade drip paint

Drip Paint with kids

Engaging in messy sensory activities, such as making homemade drip paint with your kids, may seem daunting at first, but rest assured that it is a valuable experience for their development.

Messy paint like drip paint offers sensory touch which plays a huge part in sensory experiences, sensory tolerance and challenging behaviors (the actions we see) as a result of difficulties regulating tactile sensory input. 

These messy activities provide a unique opportunity for children to explore their senses, enhance their creativity, and foster important skills. When children immerse themselves in tactile experiences like drip painting, they engage their fine motor skills as they grip brushes, squeeze bottles, and control the flow of paint.

The sensory stimulation supports their cognitive development, helping them understand cause and effect as they observe how paint drips and spreads.

Not only that, but occupational therapy providers love to try fun and engaging activities to support skill development when working with their clients and patients, (and students in the school-based setting).

Activities like making a batch of drip paint with kids supports so many areas that can be targeted and graded (made easier or harder depending on the needs of the child).

Some of the ways drip paint can be used to foster skills includes:

  • self-expression
  • imagination
  • problem-solving skills (executive functioning skills)
  • as children adapt and experiment with different techniques.
  • Tactile sensory play
  • Tactile defensiveness
  • Tool use (spoons to mix the ingredients, paint brushes)
  • Sensory experience, including tolerating a variety of textures to address refusal of certain foods due to food texture issues
  • Incorporate into a  Messy Play Day ideas  

So, embrace the messiness and enjoy the countless benefits that come along with it – it’s not just about the end result, but also the wonderful journey of growth and development that messy sensory activities provide for your children.

how to make drip paint

This is an easy activity that will keep the kids busy indoors during the cold weather. We were trying to make watercolor paints with a bit of a twist. We added some salt to make it sparkle and added a little more vinegar and baking soda to make it drip.

The starting ingredients are:
  • 3T baking soda
  • 3T corn starch
  • 3 T vinegar
  • a few teaspoons of salt (not in the picture above)
  • food coloring
You can adjust the ingredients to your liking…adding more corn starch makes it thicker…adding more vinegar will make it thinner…not sure what adding more baking soda does…just makes it fun to watch it bubble!
It was like a science experiment…my daughter found it a little stinky!




To make the 3D Drip Paint

  1. Mix all the ingredients together. We used 4 separate containers to make red, yellow, green, and blue.  My daughter had fun mixing the colors and watching them turn from one color into another.  On the paper we made orange, purple and brown. 
2. Make sure you line your table with plastic.
3. At first the paint was a little runny so we added a little more corn starch. 
4. Then we decided to add a little salt.  Just be careful that no one eats it and keep it away from the animals.
It turned into a beautiful mess!
The paint was perfect for dripping onto paper and making 3D art. Once dry, the kids had fun peeling the paint off of the paper.  We hung the picture on the window and it turned into a really neat sun catcher.
Even the little guy got in on this one.
He found the drips to be pretty amazing!
This was a fun activity that we will do again.  Once you let the paint sit for a little while in the containers, they harden and can be used again and again…just add a little vinegar to the paint and it will thin out again. 
This was the final product- 3D drip art!

4 thoughts on “Indoor Play: 3D Drip Paint”

  1. Thank you for your kind comments! We really appreciate that you've taken the time to comment. Hope you have a great time doing the painting activity!

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drip paint