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Day Twenty

Theme: Egg Tempera

Today we are going to make egg tempera paints. Have you ever made or worked with egg tempera? The texture of egg tempera paint is similar to Finger Paints. It has a shiny finish to it and it's fun to make!

A Brief History of Egg TemperaEgg tempera has a history of going back as far as the Egyptians and was found in temples in India. It was also regularly used by early Renaissance artists  such as Sandro Botticelli and many others. Powdered pigments were culled from things such as stones, sticks, and bones, and were mixed with water and tempered with an egg yolk as a binding agent.


You're going to make a version of egg tempera that is safe to use. I used watercolor paints to add to the egg yolk. You can also use ground chalk pastels or food coloring. 


Egg Tempera Directions:


You will need:

  • 1 egg. Once you crack it, you'll need to use the yolk only. Have you ever used only a yolk in a cooking recipe? If not, you may need help with this part.

  • Once you have only the yolk, you can take a toothpick and poke the yolk.

  • 3 small bowls

  • Pour some of the 1 egg yolk into 3 separate bowls, like in the middle photograph.

  • You can add a small amount of watercolor paints and a very small amount of water. I wet my brush and stir it to blend the yolk and paint.

  • If you have  chalk pastels, you can crush and ground them and add that.

  • It's okay to experiment. Experiments sometimes fail, but thats okay! You can try again.

  • If you use food coloring, REMEMBER it stains everything it touches. I recommend being very careful if you use food coloring. 

  • You will need a heavier paper to paint on. Egg tempera was used on wood, but the wood was prepared. Try not to use plain copy paper. It will not work well.

  • Once tried, it will have a smooth, glossy finish.

You can see from the photograph, I added red to one bowl, blue to one and  yellow to the other. The red looks orange because what happens when you add red to yellow? YES! It makes orange! If you want it to be more red, add more red pigment. 


Eggs are used this time of year in the celebration of Easter, and also used in Judaism for Passover Seder. The egg is a symbol for many representing birth.


Coloring eggs is always a fun activity. One of my favorites. And it doesn't have to be a holiday to decorate eggs! Painting on a beautiful, smooth white surface such as an egg makes a wonderful canvas.


To make the eggs you see here, we used a dyeing method, along with placing a leaf or flower on the egg and wrapping it with nylon stockings. We hard boiled the eggs first before putting them in the dye bath.


You'll need an old pair of stockings to cut into pieces about 5" long. Have them ready to wrap around the eggs. We tied each end of the stocking. You can also use a rubber band.


Find leaves and flowers, the smaller the better. You'll want it to fit on the egg. Position the leaf or flower on the egg. Hold in place and put the stocking over the egg. You can see we used a pair of sheer black stockings. Tie at each end. 

The dye bath is made from red cabbage. Here is the recipe. You can also use onion skins for a light brownish color.: Dice the cabbage finely and place in the dye pot. Cover it all with water and add a tablespoon of salt for every 1/2 cabbage. Simmer for approximately half an hour, to get as much color as possible from the cabbage. Strain off the cabbage, squeezing it to extract any color left.

Some of the eggs you see were painted with non-toxic watercolor paints. 

Gratitude: I'm grateful there are so many ways to use creativity to make the world a better place. What are you thankful for today? 

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