How to Make Tempera Powder Paint

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Mix tempera powder with water and eggs to make paint.
Mix tempera powder with water and eggs to make paint. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Tempera paints, some of the earliest paints ever used in artwork, are organic and safe for all ages. Even if a child eats tempera paint, he will not be harmed by it. While you can buy premixed, liquid tempera paint, you can also make your own paint from tempera powder paint. Children can mix tempera powder paint with water, and artists can combine it with eggs for a versatile painting medium.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Powdered tempera paint
  • 2 mixing bowls
  • Egg
  • Egg separator (optional)
  • Paper towel
  • Safety pin or kitchen piercer

In a bowl, mix water and powdered tempera to make a thick paste.

Crack open the egg and drain out the egg white. Use a separator if desired.

Place the yolk carefully in a paper towel.

Poke a hole in the yolk so it can drain from the sac into a clean bowl.

Mix in a teaspoon of water. The egg yolk and water act as a binder to hold the tempera paint together.

Mix the tempera paste with an equal portion of the egg mixture. Start out with less egg mixture; you can add more if needed. Add a little more water until you reach the desired consistency.

Tips & Warnings

  • Experiment with different amounts of water, as the most important factor with artist temperas is the ratio of powder to yolk.
  • Make only enough tempera for what you will use immediately, as the paint does not store well.
  • The paint is water-resistant but not completely waterproof.

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