Natural Paint: Flour Paint

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A portal painted with flour paint.
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Use a sponge to smooth over brush marks after the paint begins to dry.
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Ingredients for flour paint.
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Applying flour 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.