Homemade clay paint is a great alternative to acrylic or latex paints. It is suitable for existing walls in conventional houses or over plaster in natural homes. It is a non-toxic, sustainable and  healthy option for families. It is water soluble when it dries making it unsuitable for wet conditions, unless sealed with linseed oil or another masonry sealer OR if an additive was included instead of the wheat paste, such as Casein glue, acrylic, or soy resin. If using it on bare drywall, we recommend a conventional primer first.

In this film we collected soil as an example of the diversity of colors in the earth, but you can easily purchase white and/or grey clay and add pigments to achieve any color. Ingredients:

  • Clay – You either use bagged clay (which is a purer form of clay) from local ceramic suppliers or some hardware stores OR you can harvest your own soil as we did in this film. Most soils have some clay content in it, but you will have to process it as we show in the video. We soaked our soil in water to screen it wet, however soil can still be screened dry. We used a windowscreen but you can use smaller mesh if you want your paint finer. If you sift your clay wet, you need to get rid of the excess moisture to make a clay putty. Here we achieved this by hanging it in cloth for a few days, allowing any excess water to drain. This resulted in a clay putty, which has a toothpaste-like consistency.
  • Wheat-Paste Concentrate – This is your common glue to use paper mache and other craft projects. You need to use white flour as wholewheat is not sticky enough. The recipe for the wheat-paste concentrate is: 1 cup Flour Mixed with 2 cups cold water Add mix to 1½ cups of boiling water Cook until thick and translucent Mica Powder – We added Mica Powder as a paint thickener. You can use a very fine sand and marble powder but these can be very heavy. You might have luck with calcium carbonate or limestone powder if you can’t find Mica powder. 
  • Pigment – We did not use pigment in the video; we used a small amount of green pigment in one of the colors, otherwise all the colors were natural. You can use any pigments from your hardware store that are dyes for cements, or from your ceramic stores. You can also get tints from paint counters at hardware stores. There are also a million places online.
  • Paint Recipe (using Clay Putty): 1-part Wheatpaste Concentrate 1-parts Water 1-part Clay Putty 1-part Mica powder Mix all together and adjust to desired consistency.
  • Paint Recipe (using Dry Clay) 1-part Wheatpaste Concentrate 2-parts water 1-part clay 1-part Mica powder Mix all together and adjust to desired consistency. If you are not planning to use within 24 hours, store in the fridge, as the flour will begin to ferment. Apply with a brush, roller or even spray.

You can watch this very tactile video at www.youtube.com


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