Make Your Own Egg Tempera

Aim of Experiment

This experiment will show you how to make an Egg Tempera paint. Egg Tempera is a paint which was widely used before modern synthetic binders were produced.

What You Need

Egg Tempera set up

Pigment can be obtained from any good art supplier. The easiest pigments to obtain are powder paints. Your art supplier may have a range of natural pigments, which would have been the only pigments available to people in the past. To see where we got our pigments from, and to find on-line suppliers, take a look at our suppliers section.

What To Do

Seperate egg Egg Tempera picture
  1. Break the egg and separate the egg white from the yolk. Place the yolk into a cup.
  2. Add one heaped teaspoon of pigment to the cup, and mix thoroughly
  3. If necessary add water to thin your paint
  4. Use your paint to paint a picture!

The Science

Pigments are small particles that are insoluble in water. In order to make a paint it is necessary to bind these small pigment particles together. Before modern synthetic binders were invented paint makers relied on natural substances to bind pigments together. Egg yolk has been used for over 2000 years to make paint. Egg yolks contain a natural polymer (the protein albumen) which can bind the pigment particles together.

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