Tempera Paint - Great Material for Kids

Tempera paint is the most popular painting medium for kids crafts use.

What Is Tempera

According to Wikipedia Tempera, also known as egg tempera, is a permanent fast-drying painting medium consisting of colored pigment mixed with a water-soluble binder medium.

This ancient material is long lasting, non-toxic, inexpensive and cleans up easily with soap and water. It's also known as poster paint.

tempera paint powder

Versatility of Tempera

Tempera is extremely versatile, it can be mixed with water or liquids - such as glue, and added to other materials including modeling clay, plaster, dough etc.

Because it is fast drying, it's great for painting layers creating different effects. Pastels, charcoal, crayons, pencils and markers can be used either on the top, bottom or in between various layers.

Powdered paint can also be used in various color mixing science experiments and paint recipes.

Buying Tempera

Tempera is inexpensive to buy. It comes in both liquid or powder form. Powdered paint can be much more economical especially if you are buying it online.

The powder tubs will cost less in freight than the heavier liquid bottles of pre-mixed paint. In contrast to liquid color, the powder has an unlimited shelf life and requires little storage space.

Mixing Powder

Tempera powder is easy to mix. You can mix as little or as much as you need when you need it.

As a time saver - pre-mix paint and store in refillable tubes or other sealable containers.

There is no ratio rules for mixing the powder into a liquid or modeling material. For the purpose of kids arts and crafts use, mixing it with water or glue and use a ration of 1 to 1.

If the resulting texture doesn't fit your needs, you can always add more powder or more water.

Guide to Mixing With Water

Kids painting at a table

Use this easy-to apply texture.
  • powder color of choice
  • equal amount of water

Add water to powder and mix into a smooth consistency.

For toddlers learning how to paint

This recipe gives a much thinner texture, and is therefore easier to handle for very young children.
  • 4 tablespoons of powder
  • 1/2 cup of water

Add water to paint and mix into a smooth consistency.

Painting sculptures, paper mache, wood, glass, cardboard or using an easel

The texture is quite thick, a bit more difficult to handle, but stays well on cardboard etc.
  • 1/2 cup of paint powder
  • 1/3 cup of water or glue

Add water or glue to paint and mix into a smooth consistency.

You could also mix traditional tempera powder with egg yolk. This makes a thick glossy paint that's easy to apply to paper, wood, cardboard, plastic or grass. Once dried it does not flake or smell.

Top Tips for Saving Paint:

  • Only mix small amounts at a time - unless you are storing paint in sealable containers.
  • If you are giving your child more than 1 color - make up your own tempera paint palette by taping 2 or 3 yoghurt tubs together. This will reduce spills and wastage. You can also use muffin tins.
  • Cover any remaining paint with cling wrap or place in a sealable container for later use.

Tempera Powder Safety

When purchasing tempera paint from discount stores, or at any craft supply outlet (including the internet), ensure that the label states that it is non-toxic and that it conforms to the applicable standards for your region.

When mixing the powder, do so either outdoors or in a well ventilated area. Avoid breathing in the powder dust.

Even though the powder itself is non-toxic, the dust may cause coughing and may even damage your lungs if breathed for a prolonged amount of time.

Cleaning Up Tempera

Powered paint is so easy to clean. It easily wipes off surfaces and washes off skin with soap and water. To prevent stains soak or wash clothes immediately after use.

See my best Clean Up tips for tips and tricks on reducing the mess and making the clean up easier.

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