I have been wanting to do this project for a while, but I was prompted to do it sooner than later due to a need for homemade body paint that is safe, organic, and edible. That will be another post. You can make so many colors out of things you probably have on hand already. Your colors being organic will all depend on if the ingredients you use are also organic.

You will need the following tools and utensils to do this:

  • saucepan
  • wooden spoon
  • fine strainer
  • bowl
  • jar for storing

You will need the following ingredients to make this:

  • ingredient for the color of choice: I did blueberries for a deep red, and mine were frozen.
  • water
  • vinegar (optional)

Put blueberries in saucepan with enough water to cushion the berries. I wasn't making a big batch, so I just did enough to coat the bottom of the pan.


Once the berries become cooked and saucy they are about done. Feel free to give them a smash in the pan too. The consistency in the sauce pan should be be something along the lines of a thick jam. Then begin spooning your mixture into the strainer to get the concentrated liquid to drain into the bottom bowl.


Just like so! This part is good to do while keeping yourself busy with something else. It can take a while for things to drip down.


Then transfer to the storage container. I gave this one a swirl on the glass, so hopefully you can see the depth of the color. Since these are made of perishable ingredients, I think it's wise to store in the fridge when you aren't using them. This is a versatile medium, and one can use it for food coloring, dye, or watercolors.

If you wanted your color to bind to something like dyeing eggs, you may want to add vinegar to your solution.

Want to make more colors? I thought so. You can revisit this post on How To Make Paint With Turmeric. Use the above mentioned process with the following ingredients to add to your color vocabulary.

Reds: Beets, Blueberries, Red Onion Skins, Red Cabbage

Orange: Onion Skins, Tea, Paprika

Yellow: Turmeric, Saffron

Blue: Red Cabbage, Black Beans, Hibiscus Tea (click here for example from past post).

Green: Spinach

Browns: Tea, Coffee, Cocoa Powder

I would like to add the ending "ish" to all colors above. The state of your ingredients can vary a lot and when working with natural ingredients it's hard to know exactly how concentrated each hue will be. An example is that I have made the dye out of beets before and sometimes they have been more orange-red while others are more pink-red. It's a unique situation, my friend. There you go! 



I have been thinking about the powers of pigments since I read the book Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay,  and I have been curious about using sources from the earth to create color. I once tried to dye fabric with beets (following natural color dye instructions) with the kiddos and after a few washes there was much pink to be desired. Why not try another pigment adventure? And so, I did.


It begins with turmeric and the mortar and pestle. Turmeric is native to India. It was first used for dyeing purposes then later for medicinal. It is apart of the ginger family!

  • Add hot water to the turmeric.

I got the mortar and pestle as a gift this year and I admit I don't use it as much as I thought I would. I had visions of wearing over sized robes and making elixirs, potions for particular ailments. I knew it was possible that I might simply use it for grinding spices. 

  • Grind the turmeric with the pestle

I did this until the water was no longer warm. At this point I began painting in my sketchbook and making a swatch test.


Want to change it up? 

  • add  1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • add 1/4 teaspoon of vinegar
  • fill the rest with water and turmeric mixture

Here are the swatches. You can see that there is some grit in the paint.  


On my sketchbook image I just used the water and turmeric mixture. Then when dry (or mostly dry in this case) I wiped my paint with a paper towel to get the grit off. Making this was enough of success I may incorporate it into the studio.