Natural watercolor paint from…flowers!

Natural watercolor paint from…flowers! Yes, you  read right!

Today is World Art Day and here at A Shiny Day we celebrate it in a handmade and completely naturalistic way!

Would you believe me if I told you that you can make the most beautiful red-orange natural watercolor paint at home only from flowers? It’s true, and in this article I will show you how!

The backstory 

Oh how much I love the colors that nature so generously gives us! The more I experiment, the more colors I add to my plant palette. So, the idea for this article didn’t require much thought! On our balcony, among the small and large plants, there is a pot of calendula. During the usual morning watering, I noticed that some of the petals had withered and somewhat reflexively I began to wonder what color I could get out of them. I know this is not the first thought that the average person would have, but the average person probably does not have a Natural Dyes category in their blog.

* As in all my experiments with plant colors, what excites me the most is that they are unpretentiously low waste, since when the calendula petals begin to wither you use them for color, thus extending their life cycle.

Did I mention that they’re also non-toxic? I love how much nature cares for us! Here’s a nice pastime to spend time with the youngest members of the family. * kids friendly *

Take notes! I will describe to you exactly how I did it to hopefully inspire you to experiment too!

Calendula / marigold watercolor paint : The process
  1. As soon as I noticed that the calendula petals (also known as Marigold) began to lose their vitality, but before they were completely dry, I removed them from the plant. First I cut the stalk to make a new flower and then I removed only the colored petals.
  2. Heat some water in the kettle. You want the water to be hot but not boiling.
  3. In a very small bowl, I put the petals of 3 calendula flowers with 10 tablespoons of hot water.
  4. I left the petals in the water for several hours and every now and then tried to see if they really gave pigments to the water. At this stage, it’s not worth telling you that we have to leave the petals for more than 20 hours, because it is important that you observe it too.
  5. When several hours had passed and the water was quite colored, I sat down at the table to start experimenting.
  6. I got 2-3 lids from jars, a little vinegar and soda * and my brushes.
  7. On special watercolor paper, I painted!

Notes :

  1. Soda and vinegar, change the pH of the mixture. By changing the proportions, we can achieve different shades, as you can see in the image below.

  2. When the paint dries, it darkens slightly.
  3. If you want, you can reapply the color 2-3 times for an even more intense color effect. However, calendula produces quite a strong color on its own.
  4. You can try to get colors from other plants and flowers that you have available. This process is in itself very enjoyable and relaxing. However, my own experiments have shown that the most intense color is given by this particular flower.
  5. If you’ve spent a few hours painting and want to stop, you can store the paint in a jar and save it for later. In fact, we can leave the petals in the water, so that they produce even more pigment.

  6. This color is successfully applied to watercolor paper. Unfortunately, it isn’t one of those colors with which you can dye fabrics and keep the color.

I first started experimenting with the natural dyes that flowers can give us in the spring of 2020 and it was really a very relaxing activity that filled me with energy.

There’s so much magic hidden in nature, we just have to discover it! In the photo below, you can see the colors I got from some flower petals. Isn’t it wonderful?

And it’s even more wonderful to know that you are painting something without inhaling tons of harmful chemicals, such as those found in most acrylic paints.


So what do you think? Will you try it?

I will be very happy to read your experiences with natural dyes in the comments!

See you soon,

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