How to make your own natural paints with eggs

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Posted Feb 7 2019 by Sigi Koko of Down to Earth Design
By Caroline Attwood carolineattwood - at the Wayback Machine (archived on 25 April 2017)Gallery at the Wayback Machine (archived on 25 April 2017), CC0,

A great project to try with kids, natural builder Sigi Koko shares her best recipes for how to make two different natural paints with eggs.

Have you ever let egg dry on your plate and then tried to wash it off? Pretty tough, huh? That’s because eggs are great glue, which means they are great for making paint! You can make two completely different paints with eggs: one paint using the yolk and one with the whites.

Egg yolk paint

(also called egg tempera)

Egg yolk paint is super creamy, opaque, and durable. It’s great for painting furniture or artwork. You could use it to paint a wall too, but it would take quite a few eggs.

The recipe is simple:

Separate an egg (keep the whites – see below) and let the yolk sit for a few minutes until the skin wrinkles slightly when touched. Pinch or pop the skin of the yolk and drain the yellow liquid into a dish. (Discard the sac.) Add up to 1/2 teaspoon of pigment per egg and stir thoroughly. And voila!

You can add a little water as desired if you want to thin the paint. Use this paint right away because it dries quickly and continues to harden over several days. You can layer the paint on furniture or walls, but I recommend waiting 24 hours between coats.

Egg white paint

Don’t waste the other half of the egg – make an egg white paint with it! Egg white paint is just as easy to make, but is more delicate than the egg yolk paint. Use it for surfaces that won’t get touched much, like lampshades. This paint is translucent, like water colour, and can be layered to achieve a more saturated colour.

How to make:

Whisk your egg white(s) to get a slight froth, and then let stand for a few minutes until a clear liquid separates on the bottom. Remove the froth and discard. Mix in up to 1/2 teaspoon pigment per egg.  This paint dries quickly, so use it right away.


The Natural Paint Book by Lynn Edwards & Julia Lawless

I include this book in my other posts on home made paints but it really is my favourite book on natural paint. The format resembles a cookbook, with recipes on one side and a photo of what the paint looks like on the other. This book contains tons of information and inspiration!

Find the original post over on the Build Naturally blog here.

About the author

Sigi Koko is the principal designer at Down to Earth Design, which she founded in 1998 to help her clients manifest their dreams of living in a natural, healthy home. She also teaches natural building workshops that empower her clients to contribute creatively during the construction of their own home. You can find out more about her work on her website and blog.