Craft: Spice Painting

In Do You See What I Hear?, Mindy and Guy Raz discuss how we experience our senses. Individuals with a rare brain condition named synesthesia are able to experience a mingling of the senses- wowzers!

Spice painting is a fun way to stimulate both sight and smell. Co-mingling these two senses in a craft is as close to Synesthesia as most of us will ever get. So try this simple, homemade, spiced paint recipe for some extra-sensory messy fun.


  • paint cups (re-using individual yogurt or apple sauce cups work well)
  • white tempera paint
  • assorted spices (we used cinnamon, turmeric, paprika and cardamom)
  • paintbrushes
  • paper


  1. Pour about half a cup of paint to each cup.
  2. Pick a spice and add about a teaspoon of that spice to one cup of paint.
  3. Mix well to combine. As far as smell, a little spice goes a long way but adding more spice may make the color deeper.
  4. Repeat with the remaining spices and remaining paint cups, keeping each scent isolated. In the end you should have four spiced-paints to work with.
  5. Voila, it’s painting time!
  6. Note: These spices can cause staining so protect any work surfaces or clothing you would be concerned about. This is a great outdoor, messy art project!