Jun 2 10
by cara
at 1:17 PM
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Scratch and Sniff Paint

I had SO much fun with this activity for our art playgroup!  Inspired by this blog post at paint cut paste, I set out to create scratch and sniff paint using Kool-Aid.  The original instructions called for simply mixing the Kool-Aid with small amounts of water, but I also read that several colors (yellow and purple in particular) aren’t very bright that way.  I really just wanted the scent from the Kool-Aid.  So instead of water, I mixed my Kool-Aid with tempera paint (okay, and a teeny bit of water too)!  I think you could also mix Kool-Aid with liquid watercolors, since that’s the kind of paint you’re going for anyway.  When shopping for the Kool-Aid, I got a little carried away and excited about all of the possibilities (as tends to happen with me and crafty stuff), so I bought the whole rainbow!

In case you’re wondering here’s the breakdown of colors and scents I mixed:

  • Red: Cherry
  • Pink: Pink Lemonade
  • Orange: Orange (duh)
  • Yellow: Lemonade
  • Green: Lime
  • Blue: Blue Raspberry
  • Purple: Grape

Mixing Kool-Aid with tempera paint did have an interesting effect.  It created a foamy layer on top that was kind of yucky:

But I simply skimmed that layer off shortly before we started painting, and the vivid colors of the tempera paint and strong scent of the Kool-Aid remained in a water-color-like paint!

This was such a neat sensory experience for the kids.  They tried to guess the different scents as they painted.  The brightest colors (and boldest scents) were the red, orange, and purple, so make sure to include those if you’re going to try this at home.  Some of the little artists wanted to use every color, some focused on one or two colors.  They all seemed to enjoy painting with the scratch and sniff paint and stuck with this project for longer than any of our other projects.  Here are some of The Littlest Apple’s masterpieces (he’s big on paint-mixing…I wish I had taken photos of some of our other artists’ masterpieces, too):

And I had fun painting too, after our artist-friends went home.  How could you NOT want to play around with these bright and sweet-smelling colors?!

It’s also fun to go back after the paint has dried to smell your picture (no scratching necessary with some of the colors, like purple!).  You could also have your kids use the paints on pictures of fruit (ie, paint the grapes with the grape-scented purple paint).

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  1. LOVE. I’ll see if I can find tempera down here and if so, I’m going to give this a try – thanks for sharing!

  2. Seems like a lot of fun happened today. I look forward to reading your blog. Now following


  3. jenn permalink

    This looks like fun. I would like to know more about your art group. How many kids do you have in art group? What do you do to keep the mess under control? Multiple kids and paint in the house is a little scary.

  4. What an awesome idea! And the Littlest Apples paintings look great.

  5. What an awesome idea. I’m always trying to think of things to do with the kids over the summer on my days off with them.

  6. Hi Cara! What a great project – I’m featuring it on my website and newsletter that goes out tomorrow morning to Portland OR parents … you rock!

  7. Priscilla permalink

    GREAT JOB! I have featured a variation of this in my Sensory Art and Early Childhood classes at the San Antonio Children’s Museum where I am the Art, Music and EC Coordinator. Sometimes we paint with just the mixed kool-aid and other times I’ve mixed the powder with liquid water colors. Its ALWAYS, ALWAYS a big hit!!! Love your Kandinsky, by the way. :o)

  8. Lisa permalink

    This is awesome!

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  1. Splatter Paint | The Picky Apple
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