Paint it Green! ...with natural paints

Make your own natural paints with ingredients from your kitchen 

What is Natural Paint? 
Before there were paint companies, people made their own paint using natural, non-toxic, often edible ingredients. Natural paints are durable, beautiful, and incredibly easy to make. You can purchase manufactured natural paints, but they can be more expensive. You can also make your own natural paints with ingredients from nature and that you probably have in your kitchen. And then you control the ingredients and the color!

  • non-toxic: Natural paints do not offgas any chemical toxins into your air, so they are safer to use and safer for your longterm indoor air quality; offgassing ingredients in paint have been linked to dizziness, headaches, and asthsma
  • no petrochemicals: the ingredients in natural paints are derived from nature, not non-renewable resources...ingredients like milk, eggs, clay, tree resin, beeswax, bug excretions, etc. 
  • no hazardous by-products: the manufacturing process for conventional paints results in a variety of environmentally polluting byproducts; natural paints are derived from nature...trees, milk, soil, etc. 
  • less energy to make: the energy needed to make natural paints is YOU...mostly pouring & stirring 
  • breathable finishes: this means that the paints don't make a plastic-like finish that traps vapor on either side, which can cause problems with moisture build-up (which can mean mold or rotting) 
natural paints are so easy to make kids can learn it in 5 minutes!

When you buy paint, you read the label to see where best to use the paint and you can color match the paint to anything. These are great conveniences and take the guessing out of paint. When you make your own natural paints, you need to understand which paint recipe is appropriate for your particular application. As for color, you have complete control! You can mix absolutely any color, but you may need to experiment a bit to get just the right shade. This means you need to understand your ingredients!
natural paints can be pigmented to absolutely any color

What's in Paint? 
Below are the basic component of any paint.
  1. PIGMENT: the point of most paint is to put color on a surface, even if that color is white. Natural pigments are mostly mineral based, like iron oxides, or plant based, like onion skins. You have to make sure the type of pigment you are using will work with the binder you choose or you may end up with a different color than you intended. This is especially true if you have any lime putty in your paint. I order most of my pigments from or
  2. BINDER: the ingredient that transforms pigment into paint is the binder, because it "glues" the pigment onto the wall. If you just used pigment and water, for example, your paint would flake or dust off in no time because the water alone won't glue the pigment to your wall. So you need a binder to attach it. There are a multitude of natural binders in your kitchen, including milk and eggs! Other binders include natural oils, such as tung or linseed oil, clay, gum arabic (from tree resin), beeswax, lime putty, cellulose (from flour), and beer (which some may argue is a waste of beer!)  For a complete collection of recipes, I recommend The Natural Paint Book.  And stay tuned, as I'll be posting paint recipes in weeks to follow.
  3. SOLVENT: this ingredient gets a bad name because many solvents used in conventional paints off-gas and are super toxic, but really all the solvent does is thin the consistency of your paint to something you can apply...the solvent can be water!
painting with clay paint...made & on the wall in less than an hour!
This is by far my favorite book on natural paint.  The format resembles a on one side and a photo of what the paint looks like on the other.  This book contains tons of information and inspiration.
click the cover above for more info or to purchase
Stay tuned for paint recipes over the next several weeks.  I'm going to be posting recipes & how to's for milk paint, egg paint, and clay paint.  (And will update here with links as those posts go live.)

Read our recipe & instruction for making home-made MILK PAINT:
Read our recipe & instruction for making home-made EGG PAINT:
Read our recipe & instruction for making home-made CLAY PAINT:


  1. thank you this information and your getting it out here....looking forward to the recipes

    1. Hi, sorry, I didn't realize the links didn't click through. I fixed them, so you can click through to the first 2 recipes: Milk Paint & Egg Paint. Saturday I will post Clay Paint & update the links above to include that.
      Thanks! And sorry for any confusion.

  2. Do you have a chalk and clay based chalk paint recipe in your book?

    1. I should have said " a chalk with clay based recipe".

    2. I don't think this particular book has such a recipe. What are you trying to achieve with the chalk? I don't know of any use of chalk in paint other than to create opacity or white pigment...

  3. how long does the paint last on the wall and is it washable/scrubable?

    1. depends which paint, and in some cases depends if you seal it. Egg white paint, for example, is not washable/scrubbable at all. Milk paint is washable, and if sealed with 1 coat of hardening oil, can be made scrubbable.

  4. Hi Sigi, Thanks so much for your post and getting this info out there! I just bought a home and am wanting to use natural paints for some of the walls especially in my newborn daughter's room. I grabbed a copy of The Natural Paint Decorator book you recommend which is great. I'm curious what method you might recommend for a newbie and the quantity I would need to make for say a room 12X12? The pigments especially since it appears you don't need large amounts? Any help would be awesome!

    1. depends what kind of finish you want...
      I would probably lean toward a clay paint or a milk (casein) paint. I have recipes for both here...links are right at the bottom of this blog post & include coverage areas

    2. Awesome! Thanks Sigi! Your posts are very inspirational. Wish me luck with the milk paint!!!

    3. let me know how it goes :)


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