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How to Make Natural Paint

Up until the discovery of petrolatum and the introduction of toxic chemicals, paints were created using natural ingredients such as: linseed oil, lime, casein from milk, turpentine, citrus oils, chalk and hemp oil.

Natural pigments were also used to color the paint. However, this is not the case anymore.

Although major paint manufacturers are now producing more environmentally friendly paints, a good majority of them can still contain more than 450 hazardous substances, mainly voc's.

Voc's (Volatile Organic Compounds) belong to a family of chemicals that evaporate quickly and leave an undesirable odor such as toluene, xylene and formaldehyde.

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Toluene, also known as methyl-benzene or phenylmethane is a clear, water-insoluble liquid and is derived from the tropical Columbian tree Myroxylon Balsamum. Low levels also occur naturally in crude oil.

Toluene is typically found in paints, paint thinners, chemical reactants, rubber, printing ink, adhesives, lacquers, leather tanners and disinfectants. The toxic fumes enter the human body through vapor evaporation and soil contamination.

Long term effects of deliberately inhaling toluene can cause an array of damage, mostly to the brain. Low exposure can also have side effects, especially to women who are pregnant.


Xylene is a highly flammable solvent that is used in the printing, rubber and leather industries. It is a colorless sweet smelling liquid that is often inhaled deliberately because of it's intoxicating properties. It can be found, among others, in paint, paint thinners and varnishes.

Xylene is very toxic to the brain causing a variety of symptoms depending on the levels of exposure. It can cause headaches, confusion, skin and eye irritation, difficulty in breathing and at very high levels can cause death.


Formaldehyde is a toxic gas used predominantly in the embalming industry to preserve human remains and fix the tissues. Textile industries use it on fabric to maintain crease resistance. It is also used by paint manufactured.

Formaldehyde can trigger allergies, asthma, irritate the eyes and cause headaches. It is a known toxin, allergen and carcinogen.

Oil paints are the worst offenders, containing up to 60% of voc's while water-based latex can carry up to 10%. Wood stains can also be just as toxic. Fumes can trigger allergies, asthma and disorders of the nervous system. They are also responsible, in part, to ground levels of smog.

Reducing any ill symptoms due to voc's can be as simple as choosing eco-friendly varieties or making your own.

Create you own!

So, if you'd rather not use chemically laden paints, then whip up your own batch using the recipes below. Have fun!


Milk Paint Recipe #1

1 Quart skim milk (room temperature)

1 Once of hydrated lime by weight ( Do not use quick lime)

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1 to 2 1/2 pounds of chalk may also be added as a filler.

Stir together milk and lime to form a smooth paste. Add color pigment of your choice and apply with a natural bristle brush. Allow first coat to dry sufficiently before applying another. Finish off with an oil finish if desitred.

Check Out More Kids Paint Recipes!

Milk Paint Recipe #2

One Gallon Skim Milk

Two Cups Builders Lime (Do NOT use Quick Lime)

One Quart Linseed Oil (the boiled type)

1/2 Cup of Salt

Dye (Color) add in as needed

Mix all ingredients together and strain through a cheesecloth. Use within a day or two.

Environmentally Friendly Paint Companies

    This company was founded by chemists John Farrow and Richard Ball in the 1930s in a little town called Dorset, England. They built their reputation by manufacturing paints using the finest raw materials and maintaining traditional formulations.

Milk Paint Recipe #3

Powdered Skim Milk


Food Coloring

Mix just enough pwoder and water to create the consistency of paint. Add food coloring of your choice or make a tincture with various herbs and vegetables. Strain through a cheesecloth.

Flour Finger Paint


  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • Saucepan
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • Wire whisk or eggbeater
  • 1 1/4 cups hot water
  • Food coloring or powdered tempera paint

Mix the flour and salt in the saucepan. Beat in the cold water until the mixture is smooth. Mix in the hot water and boil the mixture until it's thick, then beat it again until it's smooth. Tint the paint however you like with food coloring or powdered tempera paint. Cover the paint and refrigerate it for storage.

  • Old Fashioned Milk Paint
    Milk Paint is now gaining an even wider usage because it contains only ingredients that are all-natural and will not harm the environment. Our authentic real milk paint is truly a "green paint".
  • Milk Paint Samples
    Gallagher's Milk Paint distributes sample kits of Genuine Old Fashioned Home Made Milk Paint. Our 1 oz. sample sizes are perfect for new users who wish to try Milk Paint for the first time
    Eco House Inc takes great pride in offering consumers products that are manufactured with minimal environmental impact, renewable natural raw material when possible, while offering the highest health safety standards.
  • AFM Safecoat
    AFM has become the only company in the world to offer a complete line of chemically responsible, non-polluting paint and building products that not only meet the highest performance standards.
  • Hempola
    Hempola Valley Farms store offers a wide variety of hemp products from soaps to salad dressings, paper to clothing and yes, even wood finishes.


Ayush Surana from Aurangabad, India on May 08, 2020:

That a lot of study!

I love how you have gone into all the details and covered all possible topics.

Imran Dullu on February 21, 2019:

I love your all natural paint recipe. Because i have interested in natural paint....

Marilyn from Nevada on November 07, 2018:

Great idea! I love the concept of natural paint. Less contact with chemicals that can cause health issues, the better! Great content. Thank you for the recipes.

bushraib on April 26, 2018:

This sounds so fun, but idk if I'd ever do it just because im lazy, lol.

Mylindaminka on May 03, 2013:

До Вершины 15 минут, но бежать ради встречи на ней первых лучей – форменный кретинизм, учитывая наше состояние. За время Последнего Боя многие из команд нас обогнали. Вот, блин, вам и БАНДА! Банда Рыг и Безногих Карликов.

advappica on March 08, 2013:

When i used to acquire high on lifetime but lately I've truly built up any opposition.

katie on February 08, 2013:

Careful with linseed. If left out for long periods of time, it can combust. I'm not kidding!

nichole on September 16, 2012:

i thought i will be hard but is not it is fun

doll on September 09, 2012:

what tuyp of flour we use plzzzzzzzzzzz tall me ok :(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(

doll on September 09, 2012:

i try it my home its good

Mahaveer Sanglikar from Pune, India on September 06, 2012:

Great Hub, thank you for sharing this useful information.

carol stanley from Arizona on August 18, 2012:

I love all your natural recipes for paint. I never thought of making my own paints. Thanks for sharing this most interesting hub. Voted UP

nikka on August 15, 2012:

is it possible to use Kans grass as a pigment and to establish an eco-friendly paints that can be used on walls and woods?? please.. need it on my Investigatory project.. =)

Ashlee Gaylor on April 14, 2012:


Ashlee on April 13, 2012:

Well i made paint with my mum and these are some of the colours:







anonymous on April 05, 2012:

also will the paint spoil or mould after a while??? is it safe to use on walls?

anonymous on April 05, 2012:

what kind of natural ingredients would you say to use for colouring??? please reply as i need to know asap;)

iamaudraleigh on February 21, 2012:

Thank you for writing something refreshing :). My aunt would like this hub ( I do too)! She is very crafty. Plenty of good ideas here!

squiggle666 on February 19, 2012:

Having lived in England all my life, I was surprised to learn that Dorset is a small village. I was always taught it was a county, which is marginally larger than a village.

Paapa on February 14, 2012:

I cant believe this specks combine for something as good as beauty,Well i wanna learn more from you.

Better Yourself from North Carolina on February 12, 2012:

Really enjoyed this hub! Thanks for sharing you knowledge of paint and especially the recipes for natural paints!

Jane Conner from New York on February 06, 2012:

Very cool! I have heard from my friends that are artist that some red paint comes from beetles crushed up in India. Kinda gross, but very natural.

aliana on November 14, 2011:


Sarah on October 30, 2011:

great tips - can any of the recipe used to paint on natural fabrics - clothing - cotton, silk etc ? and if not, do you have any tips, links or other suggestions ? I am having such a hard time finding a recipe to print on fabric.

thank youuuuuu

kamal gupta on October 13, 2011:

it help a lot

hannah on September 22, 2011:

awesome paint i love it

Timmy on September 22, 2011:

this helped so much with my homework thxs

BLAHBLAH on September 19, 2011:

yeah thanks a lot!!! geez

Verlie Burroughs from Canada on September 08, 2011:

interesting, thanks for sharing

Hendry Richard on September 04, 2011:

this is so nice paintaing nature