DIY Eco-Friendly Paint

While I’m waiting for my new subscription to Mother Earth News to kick in (thanks, Mom and Dad!), I picked up a copy of the October/November issue yesterday. The issue, as usual, is chock-full of good stuff, from easy solar power to composting basics to an excerpt from the book An Inconvenient Truth. The article that really caught my eye, perhaps because of the poor shape of my front porch, was on do-it-yourself eco-friendly paints. We’re all aware that standard house paint is full of nasty chemicals that off-gas into our homes, and eco-friendly options (I’ve used Benjamin Moore’s) tend to be fairly pricey. Depending on what you’re looking to paint, you may not have to go much further than your kitchen or basement to find materials. According to article author Bill Steen,

If you’d like to create a warm and inviting living space, consider using homemade, eco-friendly paints. Using natural materials is a great way to bring the outdoors in, and they’re easier on your home because they can allow painted surfaces to release moisture naturally. …

Many DIYers are choosing instead to make their own paint. Creating your own paint is considerably less expensive and can be an extremely satisfying endeavor for anyone whose goal is self-reliance. Mixing your own paint is sometimes the only way to achieve a specific color or effect. In fact, natural paints offer unique finishes very different from those of manufactured products.

The article contains recipes for paints suitable for just about any job, inside or out. Materials range from flour to linseed oil to nonfat milk. I suppose I found this article kind of cool because I think this is project that falls within my own skill range; if you’re a little nervous about making your paints from scratch, Steen also lists a range of companies that sell cleaner, greener alternatives to the standard fare.

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