Not all paints work the same. The best ones to use for handprint painting are *washable tempera paints. They should be labeled non-toxic and be sure to check that the label says washable. You will want ones that are not too runny and not too dry. I prefer to use *Crayola Kids Paint because I like the way the prints look using it and it's the only brand of white paint that shows up clear on black or other colored construction paper (for making things like footprint ghosts!).
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Best Paints to Use
The 10-pack of small bottles are perfect because you get a variety of colors. Sometimes I buy the 3-pack of primary colors since we tend to use those colors the most - this way we never run out!
I also came across their kids paint in neon colors - another new item we will have to give a try!
Probably the most practical and cheapest would be to buy the powdered tempera paints. You can then mix them to the consistency you would like to use and you get more for your money. Just remember to store the leftovers in an airtight container.
Another set of 3 I love by Crayola is their Glitter It! Pearl It! Texture It! paint mediums for mixing. My favorite is the Pearl It! You add it to your regular colored paint (in a paint pallette or cup) and it makes that color turn a shimmery, slightly lighter tone. I used to use it in almost all our crafts! It's great for winter crafts as well as Easter, princess, and fairy crafts. The Glitter It! is a silver glitter mixing medium. We used this bottle quite a bit too, but I prefer to use regular colored glitter paints instead. The Texture It! adds a texture to your paint color that remind me of elephant skin. We have used it to make handprint elephants and more!
Acrylic paint tends to dry out quickly and also will stain clothes. You may use acrylic paints, however, they dry on the hand really fast causing the print to not turn out very well (lots of gaps). Although they are non-toxic, they are not very suitable for children. They are not washable! Be sure to use these with caution and make sure your entire work surface is covered. However, acrylic paint can be used to make handprints on t-shirts, potholders, towels, and so on. Just add a drop of water to the paint (and cover your work area!). This helps the print look nicer on fabric, etc. You can usually find them at craft stores as well as stores like Wal-mart and Target.