• Natural pigments are one of the oldest art forms, and they are the foundation for all of the pigmented art, dye, paint, and ink, that we see today. Here are some really easy ways to begin exploring the colors that the natural world can provide to make creative art projects that also happen to be super fun.

    Creating pigment from stone is a super simple way to explore natural art. Go down to a creek bed and look for soft river stones. 

  • Natural Pigments

  • Hello Playhouse Family! As my time in isolation increases, I am finding myself tapping back into that childlike curiosity that is so easily stifled under the veil of business and staying on schedule. Giving ourselves (and our children permission) to explore and be curious is such an incredible part of imagination building and development. One of the things that I always loved as a child and an outdoor educator was experimenting with natural pigments.

  • The  process of finding and gathering soft river stones fun in itself, because you get to spend time down in the creek exploring spring plants and critters beginning to emerge.

    Pick a few different types of stones to experiment with. Typically the smoother looking ones will be softest, but you can test a few different types out by scraping them against another stone and seeing if they leave a mark. Testing to see how different stones break is all part of the fun though, so don’t worry too much about getting the “perfect ones.” 



  • Once you have a few stones picked out, you will need to find a harder smashing stone.

    I used a piece of quartz, which tends to be harder than most river stones that you find. Being very careful not to smash fingers, use your smasher stone to hit your river stone until it breaks into powder…the goal of this is to make the finest powder possible. That will make your thickest and most pigmented paint. (The other ways that you could do this would be using a file or course sand paper to create a fine stone powder)

    I do not have any files or sand paper at my house right now, so I chose the pounding method–and to be honest I enjoy this one more, because sometimes you just need an excuse to hammer on some rocks and release some energy!

  • Once you have created your fine powder, you can begin experimenting.  Adding small amounts of water will make a watercolor paint that can be used on paper or skin.

    If you wanted a longer lasting paint, you can mix in oils or fat instead of water. I have used coconut oil, lard, and even bear fat to create oil based paints, but be aware these are much more permanent, and can be a real pain to get off the skin! Use the powder to paint pictures and do some natural body painting!

  • Once the experimental curiosity bug has bitten, it can be hard to turn off. Explore outdoors and see what else you can use to get a natural pigment. I used mud, leaves, and flower rubs on paper to see what colors they would produce. You can try other things like charcoal, ash, and berries! 

  • The possibilities are endless, you can make full on pictures using just the colors found in nature!

    Just be careful to harvest plants ethically (take only one or two leaves from each plant, don’t rip up the whole plant, and try to use plants that are growing all over the place instead of ones that only have a few plants around) also make sure you are not using anything potentially dangerous (like poison ivy pictured below)!

  • I am missing all of my Playhouse friends in these isolated times, but creating and making natural art helps me stay curious, engaged, and exploring the outdoors.

    I hope you all have some fun experimenting with natural pigments, and I would love to see what you come up with!! Be sure to share anything cool that you make on social media and tag The Children’s Playhouse so I can see it!

    Stay safe and well! Love, Kara (and Twig)

Celery Printing and Exploring Patterns in NatureViolet Citrus-Ade
PHP Code Snippets Powered By : XYZScripts.com