Monday, April 29, 2013

DIY: Tempera Paint

Mia had the day off from school on Friday, and I already had the homemade watercolor paints ready to go. I also decided that was a good day to try out this tempera paint recipe that I had seen on Pinterest. To start off with, I should explain that the original recipe poster just said to use colored chalk, but I figured this was the perfect way to use up the little stubs of sidewalk chalk that are left over from last season. The larger size of the chalk would probably explain why it took me so much longer than it took her to make this paint. I will also say up front that this is messy as well as time-consuming to create, so you have been warned.

That said, it worked nicely, and the consistency was exactly what I had hoped for, very much like when I mix up powdered tempera paint. I am always up for trying a new paint recipe and since this is essentially how the old masters made their paint (just assume they that used whatever natural materials were available to add pigment in place of sidewalk chalk, okay?), I rationalized that making this type of egg tempera paint for the kids could also serve as a little art history lesson. (I probably have not mentioned this here before, but once upon a time I was an art major...) I actually only explained this to Mia, but she seemed to get the idea. So, here's the paint recipe. History lessons are optional.

{Crushed sidewalk chalk produces a vibrant palette!}
  • sidewalk chalk bits
  • water
  • egg yolk
  • zippered baggie/s
  • mallet/hammer
  • kitchen towel
  • spoons for mixing
  • muffin tin
  • paper or cardboard
  • paintbrushes
  • containers for soaking chalk

  1. Place each color of chalk into its own container and add enough water to soak the chalk. I used plastic bowls. (Note: Our sidewalk chalk is Crayola brand, but any colored chalk should work.)
  2. Let set awhile. The original blogger said to do this for 15 minutes, but I found our chalk much tougher (maybe since it was larger?) and I ended up soaking it for 5 hours, significantly longer than 15 minutes!
  3. Break up the chalk, one color at a time. At first I tried to do this by chinking away at it with spoons, but I quickly became frustrated. Then, I decided to try the original blogger's method of putting it in a zippered baggie, wrapping it in a towel, and then pounding it with a mallet. (She said to use a hammer, but once I opened the tool box, I saw the mallet and decided that was even better!) Tip: I found that I could wash out the baggie and then re-use it several times. I ended up tearing the first one after 3 tries, but the second one lasted me until I had a dozen paint colors in our muffin tin "palette."
  4. Empty the crushed chalk into a muffin tin cup and stir in some egg yolk. I used about 1 teaspoon per color, which ended up being 3 egg yolks for 12 colors. Tip: If I had realized both kids would want to paint, I would have divided the colors into two paint palettes!
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for all other colors of paint. 
  6. Use paint immediately. We experimented with construction paper, drawing paper, and cereal boxboard panels, and all worked fine with this paint. Tip: Protect clothes with smocks or paint shirts or have kids wear old clothing before getting started. Tip: Cereal box liners work well for protecting your table. You can even wipe them down and re-use them, or you can toss them if you prefer. Tip: Since raw eggs are used in this paint, you will want to make sure that everyone washes hands after handling it, just in case, to prevent the spread of Salmonella.
  7. I believe that the paintings themselves should hold up well, unlike those made with other food-based paints that we have tried. It worked for Michelangelo, after all! Currently our left over paints are in the refrigerator, and I see no reason why we can't continue to use them for a couple of weeks.
{Egg tempera paint on cereal boxboard}

{Egg tempera paint on construction paper}

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for linking up with Monday Kid Corner on The Jenny Evolution. Love that you joined in on the blog hop :-) I hope you're getting messy with the kids and having fun.