Artists, Want to Save Money By Making Your Own Paints?

a pigment store in marrakech

Image by austinevan via Flickr

English: Pigments for sale on market stall, Go...

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Acrylic paint red pyrrole dab
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Painters who make their own paints have control over what’s in them. Making paint is easy. Here is the link to several paint-making recipes.

You will find dozens of recipes for making your own paints and mediums in the book Formulas For Painters by Robert Massey. I’ve owned a copy for years and have tried many of the recipes in this book.

If you don’t want  to work with powder pigments, it is even easier and more economical to purchase pigment dispersions in squeeze bottles and add color to a medium, such as acrylic matte medium, to make your own acrylic paints. A gallon of acrylic medium and several pigments in dispersion will produce much more paint at a lower cost than purchasing the same quantity of paint in tubes or jars from any art supply store. I have used pigment dispersions for several years and have found Guerra provides consistent quality and fast delivery.

Pigment dispersions and a gallon of gum arabic produces a lot of watercolor or gouache. You can buy gum arabic dry or liquid.

English: Gum arabic powder in tub

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Oil painters have many more options open to them for mediums that will work with pigments, either dry or in dispersion.

If you work with oil paint perhaps you have used cold wax medium– a small jar of cold wax medium costs several dollars in the US at your local art supply shop. That is why I want to share this simple recipe for making much more for much less. This is a recipe I have used myself so I know that it is simple and easy and produces a quality product. You can find inexpensive blocks of white wax at stores that sell candle making supplies, and you can pick up a can of turpentine at your local home improvement store.

COLD WAX MEDIUM RECIPE

1 part white beeswax

3-6 parts turpentine

Melt the wax in a double boiler, then turn off the heat source. Gently mix the turpentine into the wax. Allow to cool. It will thicken into a soft paste and will look identical to the cold wax medium you purchase from art suppliers.

Store the cold wax medium in a container with a lid. Use it with or without added color. Cold wax medium will go on smooth and easy and then harden on your canvas or panel.

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11 thoughts on “Artists, Want to Save Money By Making Your Own Paints?

    • thanks–glad you like it. I really don’t like shopping and I spend much less time shopping when I make my own. Plus, what if the store is out of the color you need?

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  1. Thank you! I was just thinking the other day about what a racket retail is! All those containers with so little in them… of everything, cereal, bread, you name it… we should make our own everything!

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  2. Pingback: More on Ways to Save Money in the Studio – Artist Marketing Resources

  3. Pingback: Part 3: On Saving Money in the Studio – Artist Marketing Resources

  4. Pingback: Part 4: Ways For Artists To Cut Down On Studio Expenses – Artist Marketing Resources

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