In a recent peer workshop, one of my fellow student-teachers proposed making paints out of sustainable materials.

No stranger to making watercolours and ceramic stains out of natural pigments, I was intrigued by how she would turn these into “acrylics”. I took careful pictures of the recipes (she took from the internet): coffee grounds and cocoa powder for brown; frozen blueberries for purple; raspberries and cayenne pepper for red; turmeric powder for yellow.

She then mixed them with some store-bought, acrylic medium. While I don’t see this as very sustainable, the basic idea is sound. We can easily pull pigments from organic materials.

Usually, alcohol is a better material to pull them out and evaporates. It’s also organic. As for making a gummy, acrylic like consistency, there are natural glues (rubber, milkweed, etc…).

For the ceramic pigments, I use minerals mixed into a good clear glaze base. The reason I’m sharing this is that it yielded some nice pictures.

I’m considering doing an in-depth seriess of making colours, but that will have to go to the end of my current To Do list.

Please feel free to share how you make colours here in the comments.

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