How To Make Your Own Non-toxic Paint From Easy Nature Finds

Before you reach for that box of paints, consider turning to your backyard and your kitchen cupboard first to create your own inks for arts and crafts. This is an easy way to get your kids involved in a non-toxic DIY project that will nourish their creativity and teach them about color theory while they experiment. Thanks to Jason Logan for this cool idea!

DIY Paint

Homemade inks can be made out of almost anything you can find outside - walnuts, bark, moss and even many weeds yield beautiful shades of earthy browns and greens. No two batches of homemade ink will come out the same, and though this medium is not as permanent as industrial inks, the natural fading and changing is all part of exploring your kids’ curiosity. 

Here’s What You’ll Need

  • Foraged leaves, flowers, and berries
  • Water
  • Salt
  • White vinegar
  • Gum arabic (available at art-supply stores)
  • Colorful plant
  • Whole clove or wintergreen oil
  • Old pot (stainless steel works best)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Rags
  • Coffee filter
  • Funnel
  • Wide-mouth glass jar
  • Glass bottles with lids 


  1. Gather your materials - explore the backyard, the front yard, the creek next door or the forest outback. 
  2. In an old pot, add leaves, flowers, or berries, water, salt (1 dash per cup) and white vinegar (1 tsp per cup). Heat, keeping just below boiling.
  3. Simmer for at least an hour, until the water takes on deep rich pigment. Test with a strip of water until you get the desired shade. 
  4. Place a coffee filter inside a funnel, then the funnel inside a wide-mouth glass jar. Pour the water slowly into the top to filter the ink.
  5. In a glass bottle, add gum arabic (one part to 10 parts ink) and a whole clove or a drop of wintergreen (as a preservative). Pour ink into the bottle, leaving some space at the top. Close with a tight-fitting lid.
  6. Label your ink - what will you call your very own colors?

We can’t wait to try this over the weekend. Try it out, tag us and let us know how yours turn out on our Instagram! 

Happy Painting! 👨‍🎨

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