DIY Paint… Yoghurt

By DIY Paint I refer to any coloured mixture that can be spread or applied to a surface, or can be used for wet mark making.

So, I think in most of my blog posts I have mentioned DIY paint – I use it in some form in most of my sessions, so here is a quick behind the scenes of one of my favourite go to sensory resources!


    1. I use large containers of supermarket own value plain yoghurt. This is fairly cost effective as a 500ml tub costs about 45p and is more than enough to make several colours for a small group.
    2. In terms of the colour for the ‘paint’ there are lots of options – I tend to use food colour to keep it taste safe as very often the children in my sessions are very young or have additional needs and tend to put things in mouths! Here is a link to my favourite Wilton 8 Colour Icing Set 226 g colour. Supermarket versions are very watery, so take a lot to create a vibrant colour. These Wilton gel colours may seem more expensive because you buy a multi box, but they will last actual years; believe me and I have been using them in playdough and sensory play for the past 2 years!
    3. I do on occasion add poster paint  to achieve certain colours such as neons or black, or just for hardiness if it happens to be closer and I trust the children will not consume it.

Click here for link to Brian Clegg – Ready Mixed Paint – Fluorescent Colours 6x600ml Assorted Pack

CONFESSION – most children’s paint is non toxic and in the small quantity that is diluted into yoghurt, if children happen to taste some during play it will be fine, probably!!! So at home I tend to reach for paint than food colour (possibly out of laziness – easier to squirt a bottle of paint into yoghurt than dip cocktail stick into food colour #lazy)

There are other things I add to colour and scent the yoghurt and a favourite is herbs and spices – more about that in another post!

So – for DIY Yoghurt Paint – You will need

Plain value yoghurt
Small containers to mix paint
Food colour of choice
Spoon or small whisk to mix

How to do it?

  1. Divide yoghurt evenly between containers depending on how many colours you are making
  2. Squirt in colour (a toothpick works well when adding food colour gel) DSC_0010~2
  3. Add a small amount, mix and add more until reach desired shade of colour DSC_0012
  4. I often do several shades of same colour for example greens or blues as this can be very pretty when mixed together on paper – DSC_0020
  5. Cover and store in fridge until ready to use. Yoghurt is a dairy product and may curdle and sour if left out of fridge for long periods – can be stored for a few day  fresh (basically for the duration of the yoghurt use by date as specified on packet.)

TIP I tend to use little containers with click lids to mix and store the yoghurt in one go (saves on washing dishes) did I mention #lazy or maybe I am just super efficient!?!

The paint is good to go at this point and can be used for finger or brush painting and most popular here herb paint brushes! (how to make herb brushes here Spring Sensory Activities part 1 – Herbs. )However as always with sensory resources there are plenty of additions, to enhance and extend the play.

You can thicken the paint using flour (again I use value or even out of date flour). Thickening the paint, or better yet having different colours thickened to different consistencies enhances the sensory experience as paint adheres to brush and surfaces differently, but especially if using fingers – massive tactile stimulant!  It also helps bulk out the yoghurt, which is better value for money.


I usually add scented oils or flavours. You can pick some lovely ones up in baking sections of discount stores; my current favourite is salted caramel flavour! Sometimes I try to match a scent to a colour e.g

  • pinks/ red colours might be strawberry or rose flavour;
  • blues and purples might be eucalyptus or lavender,
  • greens might be mint or lime, yellows might be caramel, banana, vanilla, almond etc.
  • Cocoa powder speaks for itself really!


Yoghurt paint in action!



Importantly- here are some reasons WHY I use it!

  1. It looks and smells amazing!  It hits a lot of sensory happy zones!
  2. It is incredibly versatile – I have already given some examples but there are lots of posts to come about how I use DIY paint in sensory play
  3. It is quite economical to make compared to shop bought paints – I believe frugality has a big part to play in sensory play!  More about that later!
  4. It is environmentally friendly – you can use yoghurt that is just past it best (no waste), then you can compost what every is left over when finished playing!


This is a photo of youngest enjoying the spoils after I had come home from work with left over paint – He played for an hour, on his own, entirely self directed.  Photo for cuteness! Pop over to DIY Paint – Yoghurt part 2



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Thanks, Carly xxx



3 thoughts on “DIY Paint… Yoghurt

  1. Pingback: Spaghetti and… Paint part 2 | All of Me Sensory

  2. Pingback: Spaghetti and… Scissors part 1 | All of Me Sensory

  3. Pingback: DIY Paint – Yoghurt part 2 | All of Me Sensory

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