You may be asking yourself, “Why would I make my own paint? Isn’t there plenty of great craft paint at the store?” I have to say, while it may seem a bit silly, there is such a joy in making egg tempera paints with kids. From cracking the eggs to mixing their own colors, they are not only learning about art, they are also getting a rich, hands-on history lesson. We have started making egg paints a few times a year and it has been such a fun and memorable project for our family. And it’s quite simple to make!
I first came across the idea of egg tempera paint in the book Discovering Great Artists by MaryAnn F. Kohl and Kim Solga. There is a version of this recipe that can be found on the pages about Giotto De Bondone. Artists in his time would make their own paints by grinding up things like berries, minerals, and clay and then mix them with egg yolks and water. After all, they didn’t have a Michaels or a Hobby Lobby they could swing by to grab their favorite brands. They had to create their own mediums with what they had.
To make your own egg tempera at home you will first need to separate some eggs. For four kids I use 5 egg yolks. Next, we whisk the yolks together with a tablespoon or two of water. Start by adding a small amount of water and add more if you prefer a thinner paint. The thickness of the paint is totally up to you. Then divide your yolk base into bowls or egg cartons. Now it’s time to color the paints!
To color our egg tempera paint, we most often use food coloring (it’s a bit easier), but we have also used crushed chalk. Both work great! To crush the chalk you can use a mortar and pestle or even a food processor. My kids actually love to smash up the chalk with the mortar and pestle so that has been our preferred chalk crushing method!
If using food coloring just add a few drops to each paint bowl and mix. If you use chalk I suggest whisking with a fork or a mini whisk to get the color mixed in well. It can be a bit gritty (unless you have exceptional chalk crushers!)
And that’s it! Just 3 ingredients! Easy peasy!
DIY Egg Tempera Paint:
– Egg yolks (I use around 5)
– Splash of water (I typically add about 1 tablespoon for five yolks)
– coloring: about 1/2 tsp crushed chalk or 3 – 4 drops of food coloring (adjust to preference)
INSTRUCTIONS: Divide your eggs. Whip up the yolks with the water (adjust the thickness to your preference by adding more or less water). Then divide the yolk base into bowls or in an empty egg carton. And lastly mix in the color.
Let the egg painting commence!