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Review: Earth Paint

by Lynn

I’m no “painter,” but I often use paint on craft projects and of course am always interested in Earth-friendly, healthier alternatives. So I was excited to try out the samples sent to me by Leah Mebane, owner of Earth Paint, whom we interviewed a couple of weeks ago.

I asked for the children’s paints which are water soluble. (Earth Paint also offers oil paints made from natural Earth pigments and walnut oil.)

The paints are made primarily from naturally occurring earth pigments (pure clay) collected from the ground, dried, crushed and sifted into pure pigment, plus organic milk powder. The pigments have been tested by a toxicologist (Environmental Medicine Inc.) and certified completely non-toxic, no heavy metals, nothing bad is in them, just pure natural clay. They also comply with US Safety Standards testing ASTM D4236.

The children’s paint kit comes in a recyclable cardboard box that is just the right size for little girls to decorate for a purse if they don’t want to keep the paints in it. You get six packets of powdered colors along with biodegradable mixing cups and an instruction book.

Those six small packets make a lot of paint!

Instructions direct you to “mix water with the powdered colors to create a creamy paint similar to tempera. or add more water to create watercolor like effects.”

The suggestion to start with one part water to one part paint, calmed my concern that I’d create an unwanted consistency, and then be adding more water or more paint in a never-ending dance to get to the right thickness.

There’s also a note to mix only as much as you’ll use in one painting session. Unfortunately, the first time we mixed paint, I overestimated how much we’d need. Next time, unless we plan to paint a mural, I’ll start out with a couple of teaspoons and go from there!

The paint can be saved up to a week, but if you’re not planning to use it that soon, you’ll need to toss it (due to the milk powder). So heed the warning and start with a bit and make more as needed.

I loved the consistency of these paints. They were smooth as butter, no lumps and they went on brilliantly. Except for a bright blue, the other colors included in the package—red, orange, yellow, green, and brown are, as you might suspect given the company’s name, earth tones. (The red tends toward a southwest hue rather than a bright red.) But even though they are not kindergarten brights, the colors still pop on the paper!

It’s easy to understand why when you realize that these are the same types of paints that were used starting at least 100,000 years ago for the cave paintings that still awe us today. “Humans on almost every continent ground up earthen clays and minerals and mixed them with a binder such as honey, urine, blood, sap, grease, or oil. This basic technique, with numerous variations, became the prevailing method of oil painting until the Nineteenth century’s introduction of synthetic pigments and petroleum-based paints.”

My granddaughter painted on cardstock and I used some leftover watercolor paper that I then cut up and fit together into a 3 dimensional collage. We both were pleased with the way our projects turned out.

I’d love to see Earth Paints release more colors, but other than that, I think this is a great product for crafters and kid painters alike.

For more information or to purchase go to www.NaturalEarthPaint.com.

Note: I received a set of Earth Paints to test for this review. The fact that I received these at no cost in no way influenced my opinion as expressed above. If you have any questions about our Disclosure Policy, please see this link.

Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson are mother and daughter and authors of  Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family, and founders of Green Halloween®.

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