Stuck On You: When the Paint Just Wouldn’t Come Off

Today I thought I’d revisit my most popular post Homemade Finger Paints but then I thought I must tell you about my ‘Mummy Brain Fart Moment’ that I had yesterday.

Yesterday was not one of the best days. I woke feeling tired, had absolutely zero energy or motivation, I wasn’t thinking clearly, but I knew there were things to be done. One of the things to be done were to have Elliott paint the canvases I had bought for Father’s Day gifts. I had heard of other Mum’s putting their children in the bathtub to paint which I thought was a fabulous idea, it would save my walls and things like the television which Elliott decided to paint last time.

As a first time mum and therefore a first timer at using different paints and doing different crafts, I thought that it’d be ok to let Elliott use a non-toxic, water based paint to paint on the canvas. I was sure he would love to paint the canvas (which I had already painted green) and that the paint being ‘non-toxic water based’ paint would come off easily. To be doubly sure, I put plastic smock on him too and left him in just his nappy.  This was my ‘brain fart moment’, I just wasn’t thinking properly. Of course Elliott wouldn’t be interested in painting the damn canvas, why did I think he would? He just wanted to pick up the container of paint and put it on the canvas, he wanted to stick his hands in the paint and not only put it all over the bath (which was the reason I put him in the bath) but he also wanted to put it all over his body! I should have known this! To make things worse, he got sick of the smock and pulled it off. Elliott’s hands, feet, stomach and legs were smeared blue!

The canvases were done as best as they could be and so I frantically tried to start cleaning before the paint dried, I was so worried the paint wasn’t going to come off and it didn’t, it wouldn’t bloody come off his skin! I kept thinking “Surely this doesn’t happen to everyone? If it’s this hard, I’m certainly not going to do painting again in a hurry.” I also thought, “I’m such a terrible mother to allow him to get this on his skin. What is Mr. G going to think when he’s got spots of blue all over him that won’t come off?”. I filled the bathtub with water 3 times and tried to wash him with soap. I went through three face washers which are now stained blue.  Elliott thought the water turning blue was fantastic but the damn paint was still on his skin. I tried using Tea Tree Oil which sort of worked but not completely. I resorted to google and found instructions to use something rough like a scourer on the skin, I wasn’t going to do that! I found another article that said to use Baby Oil and rub it on the paint which would eventually make it come off. This sort of worked and I got to the point where it was much better than it was, but the paint was still there. I got paint on my hands too and ended up using Gumption to get it off – worked a treat but I thought “I can’t put this on Elliott’s skin!” But I did consider it.  So now I’m hoping that the paint will just fade away after another bath or two (hopefully not three). I feel like such an idiot and a tad irresponsible.

Suffice to say, I will not be attempting this kind of painting again in a hurry or perhaps I will try to use paint that doesn’t stain skin. I know that makes me sound like a party pooper, but I think to save my sanity, we’ll stick to water colours for a little while, at least until Elliott is a little older. 

Has this happened to you? How did you get the paint off your children’s skin?

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Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)

Eva is the Editor and Owner of The Multitasking Woman. She always has her fingers in many different pies but wouldn't have it any other way. Eva is a freelance writer, a social media manager, a Mum to her six-year-old son, one-year-old daughter, six chickens and Benny the dog and wife to Mr G. They all live happily in their little worker's cottage in Ipswich, Queensland, Australia.

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  1. Jay
    August 30, 2013 / 8:51 am

    I think it sounds like a lovely present and experience. I am wondering why you would think you were a bad mother and why it mattered that he was blue (unless you were heading out somewhere fancy afterwards). Painting is such a great experience (apart for when you are making presents the product shouldn’t matter). I know you like clean but he sounds like he likes messy. I think this would be a great weekly experience (just to help you chill a bit, haha). If you need some messless painting ideas I can send you some.

    • August 30, 2013 / 10:03 am

      My main concern is that I thought I used the wrong paint and felt bad that it stained his skin. Messless painting ideas would be great. I don’t mind mess, just when it can be cleaned up properly.