Pigment into Paint

Once you have collected pigment from the plant source it is possible to make it into a solid watercolour paint using a few simple ingredients and some basic equipment.

You will need:

a muller and muller plate, pestle and mortar, glycerine, gum arabic, isopropyl, runny honey, boiled water, spatula, measuring spoons, paint containers
Make up some mixing solution:

100 gsm gum arabic powder + 55 gsm glycerine* + 55 gsm honey + 333 gsm boiled water
*the glycerine will prevent cracking when the paint is dry
1. Grind the pigment in a mortar and pestle until it is fine.

2. Use teaspoons to measure the volume of pigment.

3. Place pigment on the plate and mix in a few drops of isopropyl to wet it out. Mix together with a palette knife.
4. For a radio of 1:1, measure out the same volume of glycerine/gum arabic solution as pigment and mix into the pigment. Start grinding with the muller. This could take up to 30 mins. Keep grinding until you can’t hear/feel anything gritty.
5. After a while, test the paint on paper. Leave it to dry and then rub with a soft cloth. If the paint tends to rub off a little, add a half measure of glycerine/gumarabic and keep grinding. Re test and repeat as required.

6. Make a note of the ratio of solution to pigment used for future reference.

7. Spoon the paint into a container like a pan or half pan and leave to dry.

Find out more about making your own paints and crayons:

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