Homemade Brush and Colour
Up until a few decades, paints made from natural products were very common. Today, many paints contain mineral oil, especially those that are used for printing promotinal brochures and magazines. Paint without mineral oil is feasible but due to low demand it is not available on the market. Mineral oils can get from paper recycling into the production where it does not belong. For Example in food packaging - a lot to do in terms of consumper protection.
You can quickly and easily make many different colour shades out of particoloured soil and plant parts. To experiment with home-made brushes is an exciting task and shows children, how much creativity and fun it is to make handicraft tools.
Paint made from soil:
You have to collect small amounts of different soils and clays or dust from bricks and other building stones in different colours. If you collect soil at different spots, you have enough different colours. For example is the soil near conifers is darker than the soil near deciduous trees.
After the samples are dried and cleaned from plant remains and little stones (hint: use finer and finer sieves), crush the samples to fine powder, e. g. with a masher. Now you can mix them with vegetable oil to get smooth paint or mix it with starch to get finger paint. To intense the colours, you can work with plant juice.
Paint made from plants:
You can make colours either with juice from fresh plant parts or with juice from cooking with water. (Attention: some plants dye very intensive, please wear old clothes and gloves)
Very vividly coloured are juices of many local berries and vegetables (but they are only available a few weeks each year). You can also use fresh grass and different leaves as well as different spices for making natural paint. Of course you can experiment which things contain which colours. If you want to get specific colours, here are some tips:
- yellow: Roots of rhubarb, blossoms of dandelion, birch leaves, dyer's chamomile, carrots, curry powder or curcuma
- light brown: onion skin
- red: beetroot, hibiscus tea, rose hips, paprika, rose leaves
- blue/purple: red cabbage leaves, blueberries, blackberries, elderberries
- sandy: birchbark
- brown to black: black tea, strong coffee, cocoa
- green: raspberry leaves, blackberry leaves, nettle leaves (use gloves to pick and work with), lovage, parsley, spinach...
Wash and hackle plant parts. You can squeeze berries directly and use the juice instantly.
But it is recommended to rasp the plants (e.g. carrots and beetroot) or to grind it to fine powder (e.g. spices, blossoms and leaves) and to add some water. Then you can collect the paint with a spoon (press the spoon carefully in the mass and collect the paint in the spoon).
When using dry plant parts and powder, you have to cook it 5 to 10 minutes on moderate heat. When the brew has cooled down, you have to filter it and bottle it.
According to the texture and purpose it is reasonable to add some flour, glue or chalk powder to thicken the paint.
To keep the paint wet, you can add glycerine. If you add vegetable oil to paint made of powders, the colour will be intensified. The plant paint is perishable and fade faster than bought paint.
- if you dry the mashed plant parts, you have always material to make "fresh" paint
- thin paint can be used as ink and can be used with a pinfeather
- comparing fresh juice with cooked plant parts can be exciting, because the fresh colours are more intensive (e.g. elder) or can change the colour.
- with the juice of red cabbage you can show that purple does not need to stay purple: mix it with vinegar or lemon juice (= acid) and it will become red, if you mix soap (=base) and it will become blue
If you want to make your brushes by yourself, you can use feathers or fresh and dried grasses. You can also use thin branches or spruce or thuya branches. Just tie it together with a thin stick and start painting.
You can make special brushes if you treat the end with a hammer until it is fibrous and brushlike.