Making Tempera Paint with Eggs and Oil

Being buried under an avalanche of around forty eggs from our chickens requires some improvisation. That’s when I remembered that one of the old Italian masters, Botticelli, used an egg based paint. Botticelli was actually a nickname meaning “Little Barrel,” which indicates that he was quite rotund.

There are a thousand recipes for tempera paint, but I adapted this one from The Natural Paint Book, which is a great work. Here’s my version:

Three Eggs

One Cup Boiled Linseed Oil (for exterior paint. Use better oil for an interior finish.)

One Cup Water

Three Tablespoons Natural Pigment

For some unknown reason I bought five (!) pounds of red iron oxide pigment from Amazon. It is actually more brownish red than red, but I have enough to paint my entire brick oven, and probably part of my house.

Mix the oil and eggs first–I just used a whisk. Add the water a few drops at a time, and dissolve the pigment in the mixture. And just like that, you are an old master, making your own paint.

This has to be stirred regularly, and used fairly quickly. It is applied in thin coats. It does look great.

Author: southernfusionfood

Writer, Woodworker, and Happy Eater

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