Father’s Day craft: DIY wrapping paper

It’s almost Father’s Day. I bought Tom’s gifts over a month ago, and I’ve been excited about them since, I dunno? Maybe January?

His gift is not at all practical, nothing he asked for and have nothing to do with being a father. And I think he’s going to love it.

To give the gift a little Father’s Day flair, David painted the wrapping paper.

I made washable paint using a recipe I found here.

  • tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • cups cold water
  • 1/4 cup clear liquid dish soap
  • food coloring
  • Mix together sugar and cornstarch in a small pan, slowly stir in water.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring until the mixture becomes a smooth, almost clear gel [Mine didn’t become gel-like until it almost reached a boil.]
  • Allow to cool, then stir in dishwashing liquid. [The recipe calls for CLEAR soap so the color won’t interfere with the food coloring. I didn’t want to buy new soap just for this project, so I used my green Palmolive and dyed the paint green-based colors.]
  • Scoop the mixture into containers and stir in food coloring.

I didn’t really expect David to get into painting, but I did expect him to enjoy making a mess…which he sort of didn’t. He might have done better if I’d put him in his high chair and put the paper on his tray.

Maybe when he’s older and realizes he’s making a mess he’ll be more captivated by spilled paint. I kept trying to get him to crawl across his paper, forgetting parenting rule #1: babies never, never, do what you think they will.

At least he didn’t try to eat the paint. Or rub his eyes.

Aunt Lindsay and cousin Caleb joined us, and David was really interested in seeing what Caleb was doing. I tried REALLY hard to put David’s handprints on his paper, but he wouldn’t 1) hold still 2) open his hand once it had paint on it. But he crawled to over to Caleb and put a perfect hand print on Caleb’s paper. (You can sort of see it in front of the bowl of paint.)

Caleb wasn’t super interested in painting either, but he did a great job.

Check out his finished product! Great use of color, placement, and emotion. One look at this art and you can totally see how much Caleb loves his daddy.

Afterword, we hosed the boys off. David was green from his head to his diaper.

The finished product is pretty cool, huh?

Here’s a close-up. The color faded on the places where there was only a little paint, but the thicker globs stayed vibrant (we had to let it dry overnight).

I wrapped Tom’s other gift in a course map for the Richmond Marathon.

THIS gift is incredibly practical, inexpensive, and something Tom asked for. But when he asked for it I said no. And then I decided to buy it…just in time for Father’s Day.

I’m planning on celebrating Father’s Day by letting Tom wake up to spend the morning alone with David. Just what every dad wants, time with their sweet baby…at 5:45 a.m.


  1. Laura @ Mommyrunfast June 18, 2012

    I love this idea! One of my friends made homemade finger paints for our play group a few months ago, and the kids loved it. I kept forgetting to ask her for the recipe- I’ll have to use yours instead! 🙂

  2. Jeni May 31, 2013

    This is such a cute idea! It looks like the kids had a great time making it!

  3. What a lovely idea! Pinned …


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