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How to make egg tempera paint by Robin-Lee Hall

Posted on Fri 09 Aug 2019

'Egg tempera is not whay you buy in tubes; real egg tempera paint is made by the artist,' says Robin-Lee Hall. 'Every time I sit down to work I make new paint. Imagine a blob of dried egg yolk on your plate: it appears semi-transparent and a little waxy. The resulting paint has some of those properties. Don't be fooled though, it's not watercolour even though it has some similarities (it dries quickly). It is water-soluble but once dry it can't be lifted off. Egg tempera takes about six months to dry properly and is more durable and stable than oil paint'.

How to make egg tempera


  • One fresh chicken's egg, preferably organic freerange as the yolk is stronger.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar - this keeps the mixture fresh for up to ten days in the fridge.
  • Distilled water (obtainable from your chemist).
  • Basic palette of pigments


  • Small jam jar
  • Teaspoon
  • Porcelain palette
  • Craft knife
  • Palette knife
  • Water pot for cleaning brushes
  • Paper towel
  • Bowl to separate your egg into


  1. Separate the yolk form the white, taking care not to damage the yolk sac.
  2. Discard the white. Clean the yolk sac by either gently rolling in a paer towel or running under a cold water tap.
  3. Pierce the cleaned sac with a knife; do this over a jar so the yolk runs in, but not the membrane.
  4. Add distilled water at the ratio of 1:1 and 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar; stir gently
  5. With the palette knife, transfer the pigment to your palette - the quantity equates with one third of your little fingernail - add about two to three drops of the egg mixture. You want to achieve the consistency of single cream
  6. Stir well and you're ready to paint!

Click here to follow Robin-Lee's demonstration to paint Freddie (see below).

How to make egg tempera paint by Robin-Lee Hall


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