How to Mix Powdered Tempera Paint

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Combining ground and dried powdered color pigments with any number of additional ingredients will result in tempera paints. The most common ingredients that are combined with the dried powdered pigments are egg and distilled water. While painting with tempera lost favor after the European Renaissance, it has come back in fashion, especially since they are now sold in a condensed, powdered form and require only water to bind the powder into liquid paint. Whether you are mixing traditional tempera paint with egg yolk and water or are simply using water to bind a premixed powdered tempera, painting with tempera is a fun medium for artists of all skill levels.

Things You'll Need

  • Powdered tempera pigments
  • Fresh egg yolk
  • Distilled water
  • Small knife
  • Small mixing bowl
  • Measuring cup
  • Small mixing spoon

Mixing Traditional Egg Tempera

  • Crack a large, fresh egg and isolate the yolk. You will not need the white of the egg for the tempera paint. According to the Society for Tempera Painters, the freshest possible egg yolk results in the smoothest tempera paint. If possible, use a new, fresh egg for each new batch of paint.

  • Place the egg yolk in a small container and pierce the yolk so it comes free from the sack.

  • Add one teaspoon of water to the container with the yolk and mix together vigorously.

  • Combine equal parts of the egg and water mixture to the dried tempera color pigments and mix together to form the tempera paste. If you need to add additional water and egg mixture or additional powdered tempura mix, you can do so to gradually adjust the paint to your desired thickness.

Mixing Concentrated, Powdered Tempera

  • With a small measuring cup, measure out the desired amount of powdered paint mix. If you are mixing the paint for a group of people, you may want to use up to 1 full cup of powdered paint mix. If you are making paint for just one person, as little as ¼ cup will suffice. Add the powdered paint mix to a mixing bowl.

  • Measure equal parts water and carefully add the water to the mixing bowl containing the powdered paint mix.

  • Mix the water and powdered until a paint liquid has formed. If you desire a thicker paint, add additional powder mix.

Tips & Warnings

  • When working with the concentrated, powdered pigment mix, check the list of ingredients. If the ingredients contain toxic additives or any materials that you may be allergic to, wear a face mask when mixing the water into the powder--it has a tendency to rise into the air.

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