Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Preschool Art – Epiphany Stars and Corn Syrup Painting

swirling colorsToday is the 12th day of Christmas – are your little drummers drumming?  If they aren’t, I bet they will if you tell them they can. ;)  I’m sure mine will, although that’s only one drummer, not twelve.  I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be ok with it if I had twelve drummers!

Tomorrow is Epiphany, and we’ll be moving the wise men all the way to the stable, where they finally get to see the baby they’ve been looking for.  They will bring gifts, and I plan to have a little something (a very little $5.00 something) for them to give to M also.

We decided to make some stars to help celebrate, and I turned it into a full-fledged art project by introducing a technique we’ve never tried before – painting with corn syrup.  This was fun and I wished we’d tried it sooner.  It is not as messy as it sounds!

Here’s what you’ll need:suppliesCorn syrup, food coloring, small paint brushes, glitter, craft sticks, and stars cut from cardboard or cardstock.  And, because I just wouldn’t be me if I included all the supplies in the photo, we also used parchment paper, double-stick tape, scissors, and an ice cube tray.

First, pour a puddle of corn syrup onto one of the stars:puddle of corn syrup 

Then use a craft stick to spread it out towards the points.  You want to cover the entire star: spreading out corn syrup

Next, squeeze on a couple of drops of food coloring:dripping food coloring 

And use the pointy end of a paintbrush to swirl the colors (you could use a toothpick or skewer for this too, obviously):swirling colors

We loved watching the colors swirl around – so pretty!

Keep swirling out towards the points, until you have it just the way you want it.  We should have left it at that, because it was beautiful.  However, M was sure a little glitter would be great, and a little glitter probably would have been fine.  I think I liked it better before the glitter, but apparently I forgot to get a photo of that.  Here’s with glitter: Finished, glittered, corn syrup shiny star

You can’t tell in the photo, but the corn syrup makes it very, very shiny – perfect for a star!  It almost leaves it looking like painted glass or ceramic.

Leave them to dry overnight.  Depending on your humidity level, drying could take a couple of days.  Our air is very dry these days, and it only took one night for our stars to dry.  They look just as shiny after they are dry, but are no longer sticky.

Next, we decided to try painting our cardboard stars with colored corn syrup and paint brushes instead of a craft stick.

I poured a little corn syrup into four wells of an ice cube tray, added some food coloring, and a tiny amount of glitter:corn syrup paint with glitter 

We each painted one star (after watching, I just had to try this for myself – it was a lot of fun!):Painting, instead of swirling

Painting with the paint brushes left a much thinner layer of corn syrup, which meant less mess and a shorter drying time.  However, we weren’t able to achieve the swirling effect from earlier.  The swirling was mesmerizing and beautiful to watch.  When we do this again, we will paint plain corn syrup onto our paper, then drip on food coloring and swirl.  Hopefully that will mean a thinner layer of corn syrup, while still having the swirled look.

Our finished (painted) stars:Painted star

my finished star

We have company coming over for dinner tonight, and one last evening enjoying the light of our Christmas tree.  We may watch The Little Drummer Boy, read Little Star, and sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.  We’ll read the story of the Three Kings from M’s little Bible tomorrow and I have a little mosaic crown project set up for him (pictures of that later).

I’m linking this up to Kids Get Crafty!

Have a beautiful day! :)


  1. So pretty. We have always dipped paint brushes into the corn syrup paint. I'll have to try to pour some on the paper and get the swirling effect. Cool.

  2. oo those are so pretty!! We will have to try painting with corn syrup soon! Looks like so much fun!

  3. That's super cute. I've seen it before where they mix in the food coloring before.

  4. Oh these look so pretty and fun! I know a little guy who would LOVE to do these...

    Thanks for linking up to Kids Get Crafty!!


  5. These look fabulous, thanks :)

  6. Great art project! Daughter might enjoy it, since they have Space theme in school and it will be perfect for some planet painting too. Thanks for describing the technique in detail.

  7. Neat! I'll have to buy corn syrup to try that.

  8. Great craft for Epiphany! I love your other Epiphany activities as well (such as moving the wise men to the stable). I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now facebook page and at

  9. We've never done anything like this before. I just jotted down the idea in my notebook!

  10. These are fun and kids love to do them. I would add one caution. The cornsyrup will drip if hung up even if you think it is dry. I don't know if it is the humidity in the air but a sticky trail down your fridge or wall is not fun to clean up. If anyone knows of a way to stop the dripping, please let me know!

  11. Corn syrup paint sounds like fun! Your stars look wonderful!

  12. I have never heard of corn syrup for painting! I definitely want to try it with Ella! Thanks! Kerri

  13. @Plants seeds of knowledge...
    I was sitting at my kitchen table reading emails when I looked up and saw that one of our stars was dripping down the wall. :) I just stared at it for a moment, wondering how hard it would be to clean it up, then a minute later, looked back at my laptop and read your comment, lol. :) I will say this - we hung 3 of our stars on walls, and only one dripped. The ones where we had *painted* the corn syrup on (instead of pouring a puddle), did NOT drip, but seem to have thoroughly dried. Hope that helps anyone who may be thinking of doing this! Thanks for your comment!

  14. I love these stars and will have to give it a go. please do visit our blog hop which we run every monday. here is this week


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