Paint Made From Berries & Nature




Introduction: Paint Made From Berries & Nature

About: Army Vet. I love learning & being creative.

In this Instructable you'll learn how to make paint from berries. This is a great project to do with kids. It's a lot of fun foraging for wild edible fruit and then using some of it to make paint!

Step 1: Items Needed to Make Paint From Nature

The first item needed in order to make the paint is some berries! My son and I have been picking berries in our back yard along a wooded area, but not everyone will have access to wild berries. If you don't have access to wild berries, you can use store-bought cherries, raspberries or blackberries. As you can see in the photo I also had blueberries but they did not work in producing any juice.

The berries that I used were black elderberries, wild mulberries (these produced the thickest paint), wild black raspberries, cherries, some wild red berries (I don't know the type of plant these were from) & I also tried using some cherry tomatoes (those didn't work well).

In order to make a green-colored paint, you will need some spinach. I also used ground ginger and turmeric to make a range of colors from yellow to dark brown (when mixed with berry juice). You'll also need to have a little bit of flour to mix with the juice & and a colander to strain.

In order to complete a painting, you will also need paint brushes and any type of watercolor paper.

Step 2: Mashing & Collecting Juice

Be sure to have an apron and lots of paper towels and bowls on hand. Collect the fruit you plan to use in bowls. Then mash the fruit with a fork and then put it through a colander (mash some more) to finish up collecting all the juice. Some items are best boiled to collect pigments, but for this Instructable we're using the quickest methods possible - and are mostly just smashing them to extract the juice.

The only exception is in making a green color paint - as this will require you to boil some water (on the stove or in the microwave) and let spinach leaves steep to extract the color. I did this as I really wanted a green to use in my painting.

To create a nice thick yellow color, I used tumeric. Ginger works also but not as well as tumeric. With the tumeric, you can also mix other berry juice to make a range of colors.

Step 3: Finishing Up the Paint-Making

Next, add a small amount of flour to each of the paints you have created - to help thicken it up a bit. The amount you add is up to you - although I added about 1/4 to a 1/2 a teaspoon per paint bowl. The turmeric paint was created by adding the turmeric powder then mixing it with a small amount of water. Add more water if it's too thick. Then you can take some turmeric paint and add some berry paint to make shades of yellow to brown.

Step 4: My All Natural Painting - the Process in Photos

For the last step here I just wanted to share some pictures of my process in my all natural painting. I first painted what I wanted in a light wash of water and ginger & tumeric paint (the light yellow). Then I began adding color to create depth. I sometimes needed to wait for the paper to dry before adding more dark colors on top - it is tough with this type of paint to get that depth of color. I found that the wild mulberries made the deepest color and used that to create contrast. Good luck with your painting projects! If you have any questions please let me know in the comments below!

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    20 Discussions

    Thank you and awesome painting!

    This article has been very helpful for a school project, thank you so much!

    I havent tried it yet but im sure it will turn out great

    can you give a detailed list on EXACTLY what you need and how you get the paint thank you

    I was looking for a recipe to make natural color like art student usually do and BAMMM this is awesome!!

    Oh and I'm wondering how do you store these colors and does it get spoiled and change the color after being painted on the paper?

    1 reply

    Thanks for the comment! So happy this might be useful for you! I'm not sure how long it can be stored. But, I'm guessing if you put these in little jars and in the fridge (or freeze them) they could last a long time. Some of the colors might face a little bit when dried on the paper. But, I know something like elderberry does not - and is super rich in color and stains things easily! :)


    3 years ago

    those paints are so cool!

    what did you mix with the tumeric? and can i dye cloth with this?

    Nice!! You are so talented... I can almost smell them... =)

    This is a wonderful idea. I have pokeweed around my house, and it also makes a nice paint, and dye. You can't use it with young kids, tho, because the berries will definitely make them sick. TYhe mature plant is poison if eaten.

    Beautiful. Thank you! Exactly the kind of project I was looking for. My 3 yr old loves to color with flowers and leaves, and this is the perfect next step!

    They are called poison berries from where I live…diarrhea and a stomach ache

    Nice painting.

    I believe the little red ones you couldn't identify are called "Choke Cherries" around here. Really don't eat those. It'll be like eating 2 boxes of X-Lax and sour milk.

    Thank you! I'm pretty sure it would work on fabric - which is a great idea for a whole other project. :) I believe it would work because the mulberry and black raspberries stain everything and it doesn't seem to come out with washing!