How to Paint Without Paint

How to Paint Without Paint

Painting is a fun experience, but not everyone has the budget or the resources to purchase paint colors. Here is what you need to know about painting without paint.

Learning how to paint is a great way to promote brain function and focus. However, it’s no secret that paint can be expensive; especially if the painting medium you choose is gouache or oil paint. There are some people who provide tutorials on how to prepare ink from different materials, but you need to have the right materials to properly execute with these pigments. With all the steps that go into creating pigments, it can be confusing if you’re still learning about colors and how to make pigments pop. In this article, we cover what you need to know about painting without paint.

If you want to learn more about cheaper alternatives to buying paint or just want to shift to a more eco-friendly medium, you should learn more about how to paint without using paint. 

A lot of the people who teach you how to make paint out of flowers and other things that impart pigment are often people who live sustainable lifestyles. Aside from that, some types of paint contain multiple chemicals that can be harmful to the environment, especially if you don’t dispose of them properly. We hope these tips are helpful in teaching you to practice painting without paint.

The Process of Painting Without Paint: 

This may sound strange, especially because the paint is included in its name; but a lot of people have figured out how to do this, and you can too. This is also good if you want to explore different art styles or just don’t want to spend money on more painting materials. 

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How To Paint Without Paint:

  1. Painting with oil pastels: If you’re a fan of textured paintings but cannot afford to splurge on oil paint and linseed oil, you can get the same effect with the use of water-soluble oil pastels. Faber-Castell has a set of oil paints that are thick when applied dry, but the colors spread out like watercolor when you run a damp brush through the colors. This is good if you’re hosting an art class for kids, but don’t have a budget to buy everyone paint sets. 

  2. Coffee painting: Another great way you can try painting without paint is by using coffee as your pigment. Everyone loves coffee, and this can be bought anywhere. If you don’t have access to fresh beans, you can use instant coffee; just make sure not to use 3-in-1 coffee because you want the coffee to be the darkest you can get. Aside from that, the smell of your final product will be interesting, and you can make the pigment last longer by coating it with a matte varnish.

  3. Painting with tea: If you’re not big on coffee, you can always try painting with tea. Some flavors of tea have different colors, which offers you more variety than coffee, but some of these flavors can be pricey. You can also use flower teas and get pigments by cooking and crushing the flowers. 

  4. Berry painting: Research has shown that our ancestors used the materials available to them in order to create their art in their caves. One of the ways Native Americans would do a painting without paint is by using berries. You could mush a couple of berries together and come up with some of the most beautiful red pigments. However, they don’t last too long; but you can use berries to lay down your initial ideas.

  5. Using dirt: One way people still get some pigments is by using dirt or minerals, and you can do the same. Using clay, soil, and umber will give you interesting results, which is why you should consider getting down and dirty (literally) to get your colors.


Whether or not you’re trying to promote a more environmentally-friendly solution to painting or you just want to try painting without paint, there are multiple ways you can do this. While some people use berries, you can get creative and forage around your local gardens and see which flowers you can use for your projects.

Or, if you’re part of the population of the world that enjoys coffee and tea you can also use these drinks to make interesting artwork. Protip, you can elevate your coffee painting by tracing the final shapes with a fine-ink pen, similar to what is done in China.

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