Paint Buying Guide

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Paint Buying Guide

Children love to play, and they delight in creative activities because to them, these are yet another form of play. Most children prefer to draw and paint colourful pictures that express their fantasies and let their imaginations fly. Therefore, paints created for children usually come with a wide range of tones to choose from, and most of the tones in the palettes are bright.

However, choosing the best paint for children is not just a matter of selecting their favourite colours. Children tend to have sensitive skin, and they are also apt to taste the paint, either accidentally or deliberately. Therefore, the paint should also meet certain safety standards, to prevent it from causing any harm. Before choosing paint for children to use, the different types of paint, as well as the safety requirements for paint, should be studied. Paint can be bought from high street crafts shops and most supermarkets, but it is also widely available on online auction sites, such as eBay.

Types of Paint for Children

Types of paint are determined by their components and by the way they are intended to be used. Oil paint is generally not suitable for children because of its toxicity and of the need for different chemicals when using it. Therefore, other forms of paint are more appropriate for children. The types that dry quickly are the best, because children typically do not have the patience to wait long for the paint to dry. It is possible to add fun to painting by using fluorescent and finger paints. Moreover, some paints can be used to create unique T-shirts and other garments.

Fabric Paint

Fabric paint is designed to last, and it is used in order to decorate garments, such as T-shirts. Given the freedom to experiment, children love to design their own clothes, and fabric paint allows to them to do just that. After the paint has been applied onto the fabric, it is allowed to dry, and then the fabric is ironed on the reverse side. This paint is permanent, and the garments can be washed, although not at very high temperatures.

Poster Paint

Poster paint is a thick, opaque emulsion that includes a water-soluble binder. When mixed with water, poster paint becomes more liquid and can be applied onto a canvas. The amount of water used determines the thickness of the paint. Poster paint, as the name implies, is often used for painting posters. If the poster paint is mixed with flour, it becomes thick enough to be used as a finger paint. Different colours of poster paint can be mixed with one another in order to create an endless number of new tones. Poster paint is quite inexpensive and is widely used in schools. It is also available in powder form that requires mixing with water.

Gouache Paint

Gouache paint is similar to poster paint, as it is also an opaque paint. The gouache is ground in water and thickened with a substance that resembles glue. Gouache is soluble in water, and the amount of water determines the thickness of the paint. Gouache covers surfaces easily and is also resistant to light. It is often used in schools. Gouache paint has a velvety, matte finish.

Watercolour Paint

Watercolour paint is made by using a water-soluble binder, which is typically gum arabic. This paint is thinned with water, and the amount of water used during the painting process determines the intensity of the colour. Unlike gouache and poster paint, watercolour paint is transparent and is thus suitable for painting dreamy landscapes.

Fluorescent Paint

Fluorescent paints are vividly colourful and their brightness is exciting for children.. This paint contains pigments that dazzle when exposed to UV light. Fluorescent paint is generally opaque and thick.

Luminous Paint

Luminous paint gives off light, and it is used in order to create artworks that glow in the dark. Luminous paint contains phosphor that, after being exposed to an energy source for "loading", emits light for a certain length of time. This paint is suitable for making artwork for the bedroom, and quite often it can be applied on fabrics as well.

Finger Paint

Finger paint has a specific formula that is responsible for its thickness. Finger paint has to be extremely thick in order to prevent dripping as it is being applied on the canvas. As the name implies, this paint is applied using the fingers. Young children enjoy painting with their hands, but this paint should be chosen very carefully because it comes into contact with the skin, and some children may eat it, either accidentally or on purpose. Properly designated finger paint is non-toxic and suitable for children. Finger paint may include ingredients that give it a bitter taste, discouraging children from eating it. Large tubs for finger paints are great to have, because smaller children can fit their hands inside them.

Peel-Off Paint

Peel-off paints are based on water and they are semi-transparent. Artwork is created on non-porous surfaces and then left to dry. Once the peel-off paint has been dried, it can be peeled off and then applied onto glass surfaces, such as windows. The artwork sticks onto the surface, but can be peeled off again. Children can use this paint in order to decorate windows and mirrors. If they get bored with the designs or grow out of them, they can easily change or remove them.

Paint Sticks

Paint sticks come in the form of sticks and can be applied without any water or brushes. This means less mess and an easier clean-up process. Therefore, these paints are perfect for small children. The paint dries fast, so the artwork is ready in no time. Paint sticks can be used on many different surface types, such as wood, glass, and cardboard.

Paint Safety and Ease of Use

Paints generally contain synthetic components that may be toxic if swallowed. Because children, especially the younger ones, have a tendency to put everything they see into their mouths, it is important to choose paints that are designed specifically for children. Therefore, acrylic and oil paints, which contain toxic ingredients, are usually not suitable for children. Non-toxic paint should be labelled as such, and the label should also include the recommended age range, for example, "ages three and up". Sometimes paint standards are also referred included, stating that the paint has passed certain tests and confirms to safety requirements.

Besides being safe for children, the paint should also be easy to remove in case it ends up on clothes or hair. Although children can wear special aprons while painting, some of the paint may still get where it should not.

Buying Paint on eBay

When looking for paints for children on eBay, start searching for them by typing your keywords into the search box that you can find at the top of any eBay page. In order to find paints that are suitable for children, you can search for the types that you know children can use, for example, "finger paint", or you can include "children" in the search terms. After you receive the initial search results, narrow them down by sorting them with respect to price or auction time. For more ideas, click on related searches that appear after the initial search.

In order to be on the safe side, read the description of the paint in the item listing carefully to ensure that it is non-toxic and suitable for your child. Pay attention to the expiry date on the paint and ask the seller if you have any questions about the paint. When buying paint, you should also consider the fact that the colours may not be exactly the same as you see in the pictures, because the lighting conditions may vary.


Painting is a playful activity that many children engage in with joy and excitement. It helps to enhance their creativity and pass their time enjoyably. Some paints contain harmful substances and are not suitable for children. Only these paints designed specifically for children should be made available to them, because they may try to eat the paint.

Poster and gouache paint are widely used in schools, so they are likely to be the first paints that children encounter. Both of these types of paint are opaque, are soluble in water, and come in many tones that can be mixed with one another. Watercolours, on the other hand, are transparent and their intensity depends on the amount of water used to dilute them. Children may also enjoy fluorescent paint, which comes in strong, vivid colours, and luminous paint that glows in the dark. In order to make painting even more fun, a special finger paint can be used. As the name implies, it is applied with fingers. Therefore, it is very thick and non-dripping, and often contains bitter-tasting but harmless ingredients in order to discourage children from eating it.

Peel-off paint is perfect for creating applications for the windows, and children can let their imaginations run wild, as the figures can be removed easily if the children tire of them. The easiest paints to use, however, are paint sticks. These requires no water or brushes, and thus create less mess.

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