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March 6, 2014

Rainbow Art for Kids with Baked Cotton Balls

Baked Cotton Balls Recipe for Play

How to make rainbow art with baked cotton balls - inexpensive, open ended process art for kids

Continuing with our rainbow recipes for play I set up an invitation to create rainbow art with baked cotton balls.  This play recipe is inexpensive and simple, yet it's unique and tons of fun.  Despite the fact that I chose a rainbow theme, and one of my boys did in fact create a rainbow, baked cotton balls are perfect for open ended, process based art.  One of my favorites parts of this project was watching how each of my boys created.

How to Make Rainbow Art with Baked Cotton Balls

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Directions:  Mix equal amounts of flour and water and the color of your choice.  I used roughly 1/4 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of water for each color of the rainbow.  I chose to use liquid water colors, but food coloring works well too.  Be sure the mixture isn't too thick.  Add a bit more water if necessary.

Cover the cotton balls in the paint mixture then set them together in a design on the cookie sheet.  I gave each of my boys his own cookie sheet, so he was free to make his own creations.

As I mentioned, each boy approached this different.  JZ (6) was very precise and specific about which colors he used, and he was careful to completely cover each cotton ball with color.  Tank (25 months) used his cotton balls to paint the foil, and his final product was a beautiful painting, sans cotton balls.  J-Bug (4) was intent on making a rainbow, and he wanted my help to get it just right.  Peanut (25 months) dipped one side of a cotton ball into a color and stuck it onto his cookie sheet.

He worked with such focus and concentration.

And he did not stop until the bag of cotton was completely emptied.  Thankfully the other three boys had long completed their projects and didn't mind that he used up all the rest.

He even carried his cookie sheet over to the preheated oven.  We baked our cotton balls for just over an hour at 300 degrees.

Are you ready for the best part?  Once the cotton balls have cooled they are so much fun to SMASH.  Anything will work to smash them.  We chose the hammer from our Melissa & Doug toy.  As you can see, the boys really went to town.

Smashing baked cotton balls - combining art and gross motor skills!

I forgot to take a picture of our rainbow art after it had been baked.  This image gives you a good idea of how much darker the colors get when baked.  This cookie sheet was on the top rack of the over, so the baked cotton balls were a little brown.  My boys didn't seem to mind.  They were too busy crushing their art to pieces.

For more rainbow recipes for play follow me on Pinterest.

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Rainbow baked cotton ball art for kids - open ended process art with cotton balls!

More rainbow art ideas for kids:

Painting rainbows with marshmallows - fine motor art for kids  How to make edible milk paint to make rainbow toast  Super simple homemade paint recipe in gorgeous, vibrant colors!  The texture is smooth and silky, perfect for using brushes or finger painting.


  1. Do you think anything else would work in place of the flour? We don't have any flour in our house due to celiac. Would corn starch or rice flour work?

    1. I can't see why not. Maybe test with a small amount just to be sure, but I really think either of those should work.


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