Natural Paint: Flour Paint

It's simple to make, but put away the expensive brushes when you use homemade flour paint.

  • flour paint - painted portal
    A portal painted with flour paint.
    Bill Steen
  • flour paint - sponging painted surface
    Use a sponge to smooth over brush marks after the paint begins to dry.
    Bill Steen
  • flour paint - ingredients
    Ingredients for flour paint.
    Photo by Bill Steen
  • flour paint - two women applying paint
    Applying flour paint.
    Bill Steen

  • flour paint - painted portal
  • flour paint - sponging painted surface
  • flour paint - ingredients
  • flour paint - two women applying paint

Flour paint is among the simplest and most versatile of all homemade paints. It can be applied to most interior surfaces, and the proportions don’t have to be as exact as for other kinds of paint. You can use many types of grain flour as the binder, but wheat flour is the most common choice.

Flour paint typically uses clay as the filler, but any combination of finely ground inert materials, such as chalk, mica, marble, limestone or silica will work. If you want a textured surface, use more coarsely screened materials. Just make sure you’ll still be able to apply the finished product with a brush!

Flour paint is too thick for use with a roller, and it tends to be hard on brushes. Choose inexpensive brushes with natural bristles — nothing fancy — and stock up. When first applying flour paint, the brush marks will be evident. To remove the marks, wait until the paint has begun to dry and smooth over with a damp sponge or clean, damp brush. Going over the surface again when the paint has become leathery will also help reveal the mica or other filler.

Basic Flour Paint

Yields 1 1/2 quarts

1 cup flour
5 1/2 cups cold water
1 cup screened clay filler (clay can be purchased in a wide variety of colors)
1/2 cup additional powder filler, such as mica

  1. Mix flour with 2 cups cold water, whisking to remove lumps.
  2. Bring 11/2 cups water to boil, then add the flour water from Step 1.
  3. Turn heat to low, stirring until thick paste develops. Remove from heat.
  4. Dilute the paste with 2 cups water, a little at a time.
  5. In a separate work bowl, combine clay with powder filler.
  6. Add filler mixture to diluted flour paste until desired consistency is achieved.
2/12/2019 1:57:35 PM

I tried this recipe and the paint was a great consistency, but it cracked a bit when dried. I added 1 part lineseed oil for every 8 parts water. And a half bar of soap that I grated and dissolved in hot water on the stove. Had to use a couple coats but I came out amazing. The pigments and the clay are things to find online. I like the company Earth Pigments. Especially their ochres. Online only. I got my regular white clay on Amazon. I painted over conventionl paint BTW

8/7/2016 5:27:24 PM

I would love to try this recipe, but I can not find screaned clay or mica anywhere. Tried the local art supply store, nothing. Where can this be purchased, or is there a different name for it or what can be substituted?

11/10/2015 2:10:10 PM

My son and I tried to make colors using this recipe today. We were unable to get mica and just used 1.5 cups of clay instead. Looking for natural pigments was another headache. We found ochre, umber, and sienna at a local art supply store, but they were $10 each for 2.5 oz. In our first two trials, we used henna and curcuma powder as pigments. The resulting colors felt quite 'grainy' even after a good amount of mixing, and only covered a surface well when applied liberally - spreading them thin created a watery/faint look. We'd love to hear about others' experiences!



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