DIY Art Supplies

paint making

Making your own paints can be lots of fun and offers a smaller eco footprint than commercially manufactured paints ….. Mixing pigments with essential oils offers all sorts of possibilities combining scent and color and texture. Go ahead and play alchemist or whip up some magic paint potions….

The most basic paint recipe is simply pigment and a binder, so making your own acrylic paint is an easy and simple place to start. First decide if you would like a heavier bodied paint or one that is more fluid. If you want a heavy body try using an acrylic gel medium. For a more fluid acrylic paint try a classic acrylic medium. Prep your pigment by mixing in a bit of water or rubbing alcohol until it is a loose paste. Add to acrylic medium & you have your own paint! Experiment with the ratios until you have the balance you like. Watercolor recipes can be explored with a touch of aromatherapy… adding various essential oils which double as antifungals.  For more recipes check out my book Green Guide for Artists. :)

If you are looking to further explore making your paints here are a few resources to finding the right materials:

The Earth Pigments Company : You can find all the materials you need here for making your own earth friendly paints. Some of my favorite products are their gum arabic for mixing your own watercolors and their earth pigments selection.

Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company : makes wonderful milk paints that are simple to mix- just add water! I particularly like to use their Extra Bond as a voc-free replacement for regular acrylic matte medium (which DOES contain voc’s), it also works as a great collage adhesive. Milk paints can be used just like you would acrylics in your art work.

Dick Blick: Dick Blick has created an entire section spotlighting their green eco friendly art supplies. I cant wait to try the Tri-art sludge gesso which is made of 100% recycled waste pigment .

Have some things in the studio you’re not sure how to dispose of? check out for more info

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The Complete Guide to Altered Imagery: Mixed Media Techniques For Collage, Altered Books, Artist Journals And More

Green Guide for Artists: Nontoxic Recipes, Green Art Ideas, and Resources for the Eco-Conscious Artist
The Green Guide for Artists will inspire artists of all types to make better eco-concious choices within their work and studios. Informative and fun, this unique book is perfect for seasoned and beginning artists, teachers and anyone looking to make a difference through their creative life.

★ DIY recipes for mixing a variety of your own non-toxic paints, mediums and adhesives
★ Tips on keeping a green studio or workspace and using safe and eco-friendly work practices
★ Fresh Ideas for using recycled materials through creative step by step projects
★ A gallery featuring exciting contemporary artists whose work and methods reflect a green sensibility
★ A handy resource guide for eco-friendly materials, information and communities View here –>



Back when I was doing research for Green Guide I would get lost for hours inside the old texts that would talk of ceremonial processes for pigment & binder preparation and making paint. Pure alchemy for the visual artist with materials such as indigo, ochers, carbon, gum arabic…. I wanted to share a selection of these books I had fun pouring over… your local library probably has them, and lots of others in the same vein.

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  I highly suggest giving paint making a try!