Permanence, the quality of paint to reasonably withstand the ravages of time, is not always compatible with modern needs. For example, it’s not ideal to have to wash paint off the face of a child who decided to finger paint with materials from mom’s studio. Fortunately, there are alternatives to conventional acrylic and oil paints, one of them being tempera, a thick, nontoxic, non-settling paint that can be cleaned off almost any surface. They’re a great option for older children looking to learn the basics of blending and mixing, or hobbyists who would rather not worry about excessive cleanup. Peruse our roundup of washable tempera paints to find the ideal set for your artistic needs.
1. Arteza Tempera Washable Paint for Kids
The shining feature of this set of tempera washable paints from Arteza is its range of colors. The 32-piece set includes 8 primary, 7 metallic, 6 neon, 5 glitter, and 2 glow-in-the-dark shades, offering great possibilities for DIY activities from finger painting to sponge painting to poster making. They’re safe for face painting too, without any unpleasant chemical odor. These paints are best suited for crafters, kids, and hobbyists. Professionals and traditional painters, on the other hand, may find the results less than satisfactory. The water-based formula doesn’t take well to layering, which is liable to strip the paint right off a linen canvas.
2. Colorations Simply Washable Tempera Paints
This is a great set for first-time users looking for some experience with tempera paints (or just to have fun). A just-the-basics set, it features a good variety of primary colors that spread well over absorbent materials like cardboard, papier-mâché, plaster, and construction paper. It’s worth repeating that those accustomed to acrylic or oil-based paints should prepare for a different painting experience. This paint, like many tempera paints, is water-based, which gives it a much thinner consistency. Dispense it gently to avoid a mess. Use sparingly, maybe even out of a spray bottle.
3. U.S. Art Supply Washable Tempera Paint Set for Kids
U.S. Art Supply makes consistently high-quality products, without any extraneous bells and whistles. The paints in this set have a great, creamy consistency, even coverage, and are very easy to clean up. Some may find the color selection a bit startling, as the colors are very bright, nearly neon. Those seeking a more muted color palette or primary colors should look elsewhere on this list. As with most tempera paints, the water content is quite high, so avoid using these on watercolor paper, where they will likely bleed.
4. Crayola Washable Paint
How can you go wrong with Crayola? They’re the classic, parent-approved purveyor of art supplies. These temperas are our top recommendation for educators, but artists of any age will appreciate the rich pigments. The paint colors are nothing fancy, but they do spread smoothly, with little excess water dripping on your surface. And, for those interested in face painting, there is little to no skin staining. Make sure to wash any clothes or household surfaces immediately after use, as the paint is difficult, though not impossible, to remove after it’s been given a day to set.
5. Color Splash Tempera Paint
This is a reliable set of tempera paints in a muted selection of primary colors. While this set does not boast the color variety of the others above (you won’t find any glitter or metallic paint here), it does promise even coverage, easy washability, and smooth blending. The paints are very richly pigmented; avoid too many layers of black, as the bold formula may inadvertently stain. The paint is runnier than most tempera paints on the market, so avoid applying undue pressure when dispensing the liquid. This paint set is better suited for individual or home use than in a large classroom, as the bottle size is on the smaller side.