Egg tempera paint has been used by artists since ancient times. It gradually lost popularity as oil paint came into vogue in the 15th century. Egg tempera paint, an eco-friendly alternative to more commonly used paints, consists of dry, finely powdered pigment mixed with egg yolk and water. Traditional artistic pigments, many of which are quite toxic, are generally based on metals such as cobalt, copper, manganese and zinc (see References 1). By using colored chalk as a pigment, you can make simple, brilliantly colored, environmentally safe egg tempera paint for art projects (see References 2).
Items you will need:
- Egg separator
- 2 mixing containers
- Colored chalk
- 2 resealable plastic bags
Break an egg into an egg separator and let the egg white slip through the separator and into the sink or a container. Drop the yolk into a paint-mixing container and pierce it with the tip of a paintbrush.
Add 1 tsp. of water to the mixing container. Mix the water and egg yolk with the paintbrush to form the base of the egg tempera paint. (See References 1)
Place a piece of colored chalk inside two sealed plastic bags, one inside the other. Crush the chalk into a fine powder by tapping it repeatedly with a hammer. The more finely you crush the chalk, the smoother the paint will be. (See References 3)
Pour the powdered chalk into a clean mixing container. Add an equal amount of egg tempera base, then mix the base and the pigment with a paintbrush until smooth.
Add water a few drops at a time. Mix the egg tempera after each addition until the paint achieves the desired consistency. (See References 1)
- Experiment with other natural substances to make environmentally friendly pigments for your paint. Possibilities include iron oxide (rust), claystone and charred bone. (See References 2)
Based in central Missouri, Rachel Steffan has been writing since 2005. She has contributed to several online publications, specializing in sustainable agriculture, food, health and nutrition. Steffan holds a Bachelor of Science in agriculture from Truman State University.