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4 Must-Have Paints for Kids

Updated: May 9

Embark on your painting journey with Maker Studio Kidz, where creativity knows no bounds!

Poster: 4 Must-have paints for kids

Here at Maker Studio Kidz, we're passionate about nurturing creativity through paints! From camps to parties to after school classes, we have logged hundreds of hours perfecting our approach to paints, and bringing the joy of painting to kids across San Francisco. 

Let's dive into our favorite paints and their unique uses, along with some recommended brands and exciting projects to spark your imagination!

A sample test-sheet of green tempera, acrylic, watercolor, and fabric paints, with one and two coats each.

As a general guideline, we always recommend using non-toxic and student-grade paints when painting with children.

Acrylic Paint

Some of our favorite acrylic paints: Sargent, Blickrylic, Liquitex, and Craft Smart

Versatile and vibrant, acrylic paint is our top choice for most projects. Perfect for canvas, paper, and wood, it boasts smooth application, easy blending, and quick drying for a glossy finish. Book a Canvas Painting Party or check out our monthly adult Paint and Sips to explore the magic of acrylics firsthand!

Acrylic paint brands we recommend:

Get started: 

A marble painting in a cardboard box

Tempera Paint

Some of our favorite tempera paints: Kaylor, Prang, and Colorations

Similar to acrylic but washable and budget-friendly, tempera is ideal for younger artists. It is great for finger painting, dries with a matte finish, and is suitable for paper, wood, and cardboard. Keep in mind, though: tempera is slightly less blendable and long-lasting than acrylics, so it may not be ideal for projects that you would like to save for a long time! 

Tempera paints brands we recommend:

Get started: 

Check out this awesome Andy Warhol-inspired handprint project from our winter Pop Art Camp! 

Andy Warhol pop-art handprints with tempera paint

Fabric Paint

Some of our favorite fabric paints: Crayola craft, Meteorites, and Tulip

Tailored for fabric, this paint includes a textile medium to prevent cracking, opening up a world of possibilities for clothing customization. Fabric paint is effective on all but synthetic fabrics, so it will work with cotton, linen, wool, and pre-washed denim.

For ease of use, we recommend watering down fabric paint a little so that it applies smoothly, and placing a piece of cardboard underneath or inside any fabric so the paint does not bleed through. 

Keep in mind: Using fabric paints will require more adult supervision because most paints are required to be set with heat before the garment can be washed. We also love squeezable 3D “puffy” fabric paint, which is great for lettering and line art, but requires some strength and dexterity.

Fabric paint brands we recommend: 

Get Started: 

We love this Cookie-cutter t-shirt project from AS Paper World! 


Some of our favorite watercolor paints: keebor art, blick, and Dr. PH martins

Discover the ethereal beauty of watercolors, perfect for mixed-media exploration. Their transparent nature creates a stunning effect, ideal for budding artists. In a pinch, watercolors can even be substituted for dyes, especially if you have a squeezable concentrated watercolor like that pictured above.

Ensure that you use watercolor paper to prevent distortion, and try adding salt to your paintings for a unique twist!

Watercolor brands we recommend:


Example project:

Try painting watercolors over a crayon or pastel drawing and see how the oil-based mediums repel the water!

A child painting watercolor over crayon markings


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