Recipes for Natural Homemade Dyes and Paints

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Natural Homemade Dyes
1/2 cup of plant material for desired color (see below)
1 cup of water

  1. Mix half a cup of plant material with one cup of water in a pan and bring to a boil.
  2. Simmer on low for half an hour, adding additional water as it evaporates.
  3. Mix colors together for different shades and hues of color.

Colorful natural plant materials
Brown: walnut hulls, paprika
Green: oak bark, crab apple leaves and bark
Orange: yellow onion skins, oats
Purple: purple grapes
Red: cranberries, beets (Note: you can use juice directly from thawed berries or canned beets)
Tan: coffee and tea
Yellow: apple tree bark, white onion skins, turmeric

For more natural plant materials used in making dyes, see Plants Used in Art Projects.

Natural Homemade Paints
1 cup of cornstarch
1/2 cup of water
1/3 cup of soap flakes melted with a half cup of boiling water
Natural homemade dyes

  1. Grate a homemade soap bar until you get a third cup of soap flakes.
  2. Combine cornstarch, water, and melted soap in a bowl.
  3. Stir well and let mixture set until thickened.
  4. Divide into separate bowls and add in natural dyes for color.
  5. Your paints are now ready for a canvas!

Recipes adapted from Better Basics for the Home by Annie Bond