Did you know that Tempera paint dates all the way back to the Renaissance? It was first used by early Renaissance artists who mixed ground up natural pigments (usually taken from the earth, stone, bones etc) then mixed with water and egg yolk to bind it together.

This process of binding was called tempering and so it became known as Egg Tempera.

Today Tempera paints no longer contain egg as a binder but this old recipe still works great today.

What You Need:

  • Egg (1 yolk will make 2-3 small paints)
  • 8 drops of White vinegar
  • A range of different food colouring gels or liquids or liquid watercolour or other pigments
  • Small bowls, a muffin/cake tin or clean yoghurt pots

How To Make:

  1. Separate your yolk from the white and place the yolk into a bowl or section of your tin. Pierce the yolk so you can remove the outer sac and discard.
  2. Add around 8 drops of vinegar to the yolk and mix well. Depending on whether you want a dry paint or a shiny (and oilier) paint will depend how much vinegar you use. A rule of thumb is the more vinegar the drier the paint will be.
  3. Add a few drops of liquid or gel food colouring to each and mix well. Or you could even experiment with natural and other pigments. A great one to experiment with is using old make up such as eyeshadow as this contains a pigment called mica that usually produces a nice vibrant and sometimes iridescent colour.
  4. Paint with them straight away as they don’t keep that well. The egg will dry out but made in small batches it works as a great and cheap alternative to shop bought paint.

Please note, although most of these ingredients are natural we cannot guarantee the colourings will not stain clothes so always best to wear an apron or old clothes.