Is Acrylic Paint Safe For Kids? (What You Need To Know)

Creative kids love to get messy! One of the most common activities for kids is coloring.

There are multiple mediums kids can use to draw with, including crayons, pencils, and markers. 

But many children love to use paint to create. This preference begs the question, is acrylic paint safe for kids to use? 

Acrylic paints are widely used because they are readily available, easy to work with and produce bold, vivid colors. Artists openly embraced acrylics during the 1960s and praised the versatility and durability of acrylic paints. 

The versatility comes from the acrylic pigments used to make the paints. Since the pigments are tiny particles that don’t dissolve, they require a binder to keep them on the surface.

Further, the paint requires another substance, the vehicle, to deliver the pigments and binders. The most common vehicle is water, and once it evaporates, the binder and pigment remain on the surface.  

Even though acrylic paints only use three ingredients and often come from natural substances, they should only be used by kids three and older. Non toxic acrylic paint is safe for baby's skin, but it can become dangerous when ingested.

Acrylic paints are among the most versatile and best paint yet attractive oil paints available. They offer the beauty of oil paints with the short drying time of watercolors, come in an endless array of hues, and dry in a variety of finishes: glossy, satin, and matte. 

Since babies and young toddlers like to stick everything in their mouths, it’s best to avoid acrylic paint.  

For children of a suitable age, acrylic paint is a terrific art and crafts tool. Kids can use acrylics to paint on canvas, wood, and paper.

If you are going to purchase acrylic paint for your kids to use, make sure you find a crayola brand paints that is labeled non-toxic and has the Art and Creative Institute’s AP (Approved Product) seal. 

Water-based acrylic paint is safe on all skin, but babies should not be playing with it. Again, they tend to put their hands and fingers in their mouths. The same can be said for toys colored with acrylic paint toxic. They are safe to handle but should not go to kids who like to suck on things. 

A popular craft paints using acrylic paint toxic is creating a replica of your baby’s footprints and handprints. When supervised, brands like Apple Barrel acrylic paint are safe. Clean your baby’s hands and feet thoroughly after using to prevent any ingestion. 

Liquitex acrylic paint is considered a high-grade brand and should not be used for children’s craft paints. We say this not because it has high toxicity, but because it is expensive! Your kids most likely won’t care what they use to fingerpaint, as long as it’s bright and messy. 

On the other hand, Sax True Flow Heavy Body Acrylic Paint is a perfect option for kids' craft paints and childcare centers. It is easily cleaned with soap and water and dries to a water-resistant matte finish. This paint is AP-certified and non-toxic and does not contain allergens. 

Work in an open space at all times to avoid potentially hazardous chemicals. It's a good idea to wash your hands frequently so that you don't eat paint that got on them. You need to monitor your kids well so they won't lick or eat paint.

Acrylic paint is best used on paper, wood, and canvases. Though acrylic paint label “non-toxic” is safe, it's best that young toddlers stick to other craft paints.

Is Acrylic Paint Child Safe? Not all acrylic paint is created equal. While we, as a society, understand the dangers of using lead in any application, it is still found in some brands of acrylic paint.

Tempera Paint: 

Tempera paint is a great and best paint choice because it's easy to clean, dries fast, and won't crack or flake. Tempera paint comes in matte and glossy finishes and works well on paper, cardboard, wood, or canvas surfaces. Some of the advantages of using tempera paint are easy to clean and dry.

 Crayola is actually one of the most common brands that make tempera and similar poster/ craft paint.

Give your kids the highest-quality tools to create art and their masterpieces with this “craft paint guide” from Five Star Painting!

Tempera paint actually refers to egg tempera, since egg yolk is often used as the binding medium. This makes tempera paint safer than most, due to its natural, organic components.

Watercolor Paint: 

Watercolor paint is bright, transparent, and good for subtle transitions of color. It is best used on thick watercolor paper, as it needs a surface with maximum absorption

Kid's Hand Full of Paint

Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Kid's Skin?

If your child wants finger painting with acrylic paint, it will not harm them as long as they do not ingest it.  

Finger painting with acrylic paint is easy to wash off from baby's skin and other paints surface. Soap and water typically do the trick when cleaning off acrylic paint from any material. 

You may be wondering, is acrylic paint safe for kids facepaint? We would not advise you to use acrylic paint as face paint.

While it is non-toxic, keeping the paint on the baby's skin can be unsafe. Face paint is made to stay on the skin over time and is safer for your kids.

You can also try pouring a drop of baby oil on the skin and massaging gently with cotton wool until it breaks and dissolves the paint. Baby oil is excellent to remove paint on your baby's skin. 

How To Use Acrylic Paint For Hand and Foot Prints

As mentioned earlier, a popular activity with kids is making hand and foot prints using acrylic paint. Below is what you will need for this activity and how to do it. 

  • 1
    Gather materials: Acrylic paint (your choice of watercolor paint) following the guidelines above, paper, paintbrush, soap, water, paper towels/washcloth.
  • 2
    Place your paper on the ground.
  • 3
    Use the paintbrush to coat the bottom of your child's food or palm with the paint. Make sure to use enough to cover their hand, but not so much that the hand/footprint will come out looking like a blob.
  • 4
    Place your child's hand/foot on the paper.
  • 5
    Press down gently. 
  • 6
    Remove acrylic paint with their hand/foot
  • 7
    Allow the paint to dry on the paper. While the paint is drying, clean off your child's hand/foot using the paper towel/cloth, soap, and water. 

What To Do If A Kid Swallows Acrylic Paint 

If your kid managed to ingest acrylic paint, do not panic. Acrylic paint is typically non-toxic but can cause an upset stomach. Give your child some water to wash out any paint left in their mouth.

You can also give them a small snack to decrease the chance of a tummy ache. Vomiting is rare in this situation. However, if they begin vomiting, call your local poison control immediately.  

If your child is still feeling unwell after a few hours but has not vomited, call your doctor instead of poison control. They will be able to direct you accordingly on how to remove acrylic paint. 

Acrylic Paint on Brush Tips

Common Acrylic Paint Safety Questions

Does acrylic paint need ventilation?

If you’re painting in large doses, ventilating the area during and after you’ve finished working is necessary. Acrylic paints release chemicals into the air while they dry that should be ventilated out. 

Can acrylic paint fumes make the child sick?

Yes, acrylic paint fumes stay in your system for awhile and can make you and your child sick. If you’re painting in large quantities, keep windows or doors open to prevent the fumes from overtaking the area. 

What happens if you use old, expired acrylic paint?

As long as the paint is stored properly, you can use old acrylic paint. Usually, the paint will have dried up after a certain time. If you want to use expired acrylic paint but notice it smells funny or is discolored, do not use it. 


Acrylic painting projects are wonderful art materials and mediums for kids during art projects.

If you’re interested in getting your kid acrylic painting projects, make sure they are non toxic acrylic paint and AP certified. 

Keep acrylic paint toxic away from children under three years old. As always, be sure to supervise their play to ensure maximum safety!