Here's my version:
First, I wanted something portable that I could pull off the table in a moment's notice. I decided to get a couple of those wipeable place mats. Plain white is best if you can find it, because it gives you the best "painting on paper" feel. However, if you can't find a simple white design, just get any wipeable mat and put a white piece of paper on it.
Next, get a gallon sized zip style baggie. I'm using Ziploc freezer bags for sturdiness. Pour (or squirt if you got those bottles) two colors into the bags - one in each corner like so:
Next, move the top of the baggie up to the top of the place mat. If there's a logo or anything on the bag like mine, have that side facing up. You'll see why in a minute. Tape it down. I used painter's tape because it'll be easier to remove if / when I decide to change out the bag of paint.
Now, flip the bag down. See how the bag's logo is now on the underside? Yep, that's on purpose.
Tape down that top part again. All this tape is just extra security to protect from leakage. I will not stand for leakage.
Now tape down all the other sides so it stays sturdy on the mat.
Beautiful! Two portable mess free finger painting stations ready for playing!
Great for teaching about mixing colors...
Smile! No paint on your fingers!
The kids had a blast with this. I love that it's portable. They'd create something, then run over with it to show me what they had. They did some hand prints... Then threw it onto the floor to do foot prints. The possibilities are endless!
You can try different mediums in the bags too. Try adding some glitter, or maybe put just sand in there. Be creative and have fun!