Make Safe, Natural Paint

Natural paint offers a sustainable and inexpensive way to add unique colors to your home.

| October/November 2006

  • natural paint - closeup of brush with green paint
    Although several eco-friendly options on the market, many DIYers are choosing to make natural paint using natural materials instead.
    Photo by Heather Brown
  • flour paint - two women applying paint
    Using natural materials allows painted surfaces to release moisture naturally and is a great way to bring the outdoors in.
    Bill Steen
  • flour paint - painted portal
    Natural paints offer unique finishes very different from those of manufactured products.
    Bill Steen
  • Fireplace
    Flour paint can be applied to most interior surfaces, including this fireplace.
    Bill Steen
  • Oil-Paint
    Natural oil paints typically are made with linseed oil and a natural solvent, such as pure turpentine or citrus thinner.
    Bill Steen
  • Sponge
    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.
    Bill Steen
  • Flour-Paint
    Flour paint is among the simplest and most versatile of all homemade paints.
    Bill Steen
  • Oil-Paint2
    Oil paint is suitable for exterior surfaces, and you can clean oil-painted surfaces regularly without damaging the paint.
    Bill Steen
  • Oil-Paint3
    Priming helps seal wood against moisture and creates a better bond with the finish.
    Heather Brown
  • casein paint - ingredients
    Casein paint ingredients
    Bill Steen
  • casein paint - irregular wall and windows
    After you’ve finished painting with casein paint, the leftovers can be safely composted.
    Bill Steen
  • casein paint - design element
    Casein paint lasts indefinitely, is excellent on many surfaces and isn’t prone to fungal growth.
    Bill Steen
  • Pigment
    Natural earth pigments add color to natural paints and are available at artist supply stores.
    Heather Brown

  • natural paint - closeup of brush with green paint
  • flour paint - two women applying paint
  • flour paint - painted portal
  • Fireplace
  • Oil-Paint
  • Sponge
  • Flour-Paint
  • Oil-Paint2
  • Oil-Paint3
  • casein paint - ingredients
  • casein paint - irregular wall and windows
  • casein paint - design element
  • Pigment

If you’d like to create a warm and inviting living space, consider using homemade, eco-friendly natural paint. Using natural materials is a great way to bring the outdoors in, and they’re easier on your home because they can allow painted surfaces to release moisture naturally. Plus, most commercially manufactured paints contain toxic materials or petroleum-based ingredients that are energy-intensive to produce.

There are several eco-friendly options on the market, but their cost (up to twice as much as conventional paint) can be prohibitive to painters on a budget. Many DIYers are choosing instead to make their own paint. Creating your own paint is considerably less expensive and can be an extremely satisfying endeavor for anyone whose goal is self-reliance. Mixing your own paint is sometimes the only way to achieve a specific color or effect. In fact, natural paints offer unique finishes very different from those of manufactured products.

There are numerous combinations to choose from when attempting to create the perfect paint for a particular situation. What follows is a guide to understanding natural paint, recipes for some of the easiest and most common types and photos of each kind to inspire you. When you’re ready to experiment with even more natural materials, a good place to start is The Natural Paint Book by Lynn Edwards and Julia Lawless.

What’s in a Gallon?

In its most basic form, paint consists of color (the pigment) and the glue in which the pigment is suspended (the binder). Many paints also contain ingredients that add texture and bulk (fillers), a thinner (the solvent) and other additives, such as biocides and drying catalysts.



Pigments. Safer alternatives to the toxic compounds and heavy metals used to color conventional paint include natural pigments derived from plants, insects, iron oxides and minerals. These are usually in powder form at artists’ supply stores.

Binders. Binders keep paint glued to a surface. The acrylic and vinyl binders in commercial paints are derived from the byproducts of refining crude oil. The binders in natural paints rely instead on materials such as starch (from flour), casein (the protein in milk) and linseed oil (from pressed flax seeds).

trinaty
5/3/2018 7:39:55 AM

thanks for the help with a project


angelo
6/15/2016 9:10:53 AM

Can I used banana or guava leaves as an eco friendly paint and answer please because I need this for my research 3


Steph
2/7/2011 12:13:12 PM

Hello! Has anyone experimented with using a paint sprayer to apply natural paints? We will be painting over textured drywall, an entire house, and have a sprayer to use. I am compelled to use a natural paint and would prefer to make my own as opposed to purchasing already made to save costs and for the fun of the process. I appreciate you sharing your experiences :o)







Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: February, 16-17 2019
Belton, TX

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters