Easy Casein Paint Recipe: Make Your Own with Step-by-Step Guide

Have you ever wondered how to make your own casein paint? As visual artists, we are always on the lookout for new and exciting ways to paint. One painting medium that has been overlooked for years is casein paint. Casein is a natural protein found in milk and has been used as a binder in paint for centuries but it isn’t exactly easy to find. But what if I told you that you can make your own with this easy Casein Paint Recipe?

In this article, I will be discussing a casein paint recipe that you can use to create your own paint at home. We will cover the ingredients, the mixing process, and how to apply the paint to different surfaces.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced artist, making your own paint can be a fun and rewarding experience. I tried making it with my kids and while it ended up a mess it was a fun experience and I will make casein paint again as it’s just so different.

With this recipe, you can create a paint that is not only eco-friendly but also has a unique texture and finish. By using natural pigments, you can create a wide range of colors that are not found in traditional paint. So, let’s get started and learn how to make our own casein paint!

Note: Casein paint is not vegan so that’s just my little warning for vegan artists out there who were thinking of trying out this casein paint recipe.

What is Casein Paint?

If you’re not familiar with casein paint, it’s a type of paint that uses a binder made from milk protein, or casein. Casein is mixed with an alkali to create a strong binder that adheres to surfaces and pigments.

Casein paint is known for its durability and permanence, making it a popular choice for artists who want their work to last. It’s also relatively easy to make and less expensive than some other types of paint.

One of the advantages of casein paint is that it dries quickly, allowing artists to work more efficiently. It’s also water-soluble, which means that it can be thinned and cleaned up with water.

When it comes to pigments, casein paint works well with a wide range of colors. It’s also possible to create custom colors by mixing pigments together.

Overall, casein paint is a versatile and reliable option for artists who want a high-quality paint that’s easy to work with and produces great results.

Easy Casein Paint Recipe – Ingredients

When it comes to making casein paint, there are a few ingredients that you’ll need to have on hand. Below, we’ll go over the various components that make up casein paint, including casein powder, pigments, water, borax, lime, oil, chalk, wax, glue, and preservatives.

Casein Powder

art casein powder fresco extra fine 500

Casein powder is the main ingredient in casein paint. It is made from milk protein and is available in both dry and liquid forms.

Dry casein powder is typically used for making paint, as it can be stored for longer periods of time and is more stable than the liquid form. When purchasing casein powder, make sure to choose a high-quality product that is free of additives or fillers.

Now here’s something a little weird…

Can you use casein protein powder to make casein paint?

This idea only occurred to me after looking for casein powder and realizing it’s not the easiest thing to get hold of so I did some research. Apparently you can use casein protein powder to make casein paint.

Casein protein powder is made from the same milk protein as casein paint, so it can be used as a substitute for the traditional casein binder in a homemade casein paint recipe.

To make casein paint using casein protein powder, you will need to dissolve the powder in water and mix it with an alkaline substance, such as borax or baking soda, to create a stable emulsion.

This emulsion can then be mixed with pigments to create a variety of colors.

It is important to note that the quality and consistency of the final paint will depend on the quality of the casein protein powder used and the proportions of the ingredients in the recipe.

And as I will go into later in this post, the paint will have a shorter shelf life than commercially prepared casein paint as they have stronger preservatives added. So it is important to properly store the paint or use it within a reasonable amount of time.

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Pigments are what give paint its color. In casein paint, pigments can be added in the form of pigment powder or pigment paste. When using pigment powder, it’s important to sift it first to remove any lumps or impurities.

Pigment paste is a pre-made mixture of pigment and water that can be added directly to the paint.


Water is used to dilute the casein powder and to mix in the pigments. It’s important to use distilled water to ensure that there are no impurities that could affect the quality of the paint.


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Borax is used to help the casein powder dissolve in water. It’s typically added to hot water and then mixed with the casein powder. Borax can also act as a preservative, helping to extend the shelf life of the paint.

Pro Tip: Baking Soda / Bicarb Soda is basically the same thing and easily found in supermarkets


Lime is used to help the paint adhere to surfaces. It can be added in the form of lime powder or as part of a lime putty mixture.

Lime putty is made by mixing hydrated lime with water and allowing it to sit for several weeks until it forms a paste.


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Oil can be added to casein paint to make it more flexible and to help it dry more slowly. Linseed oil is a popular choice, but other oils such as walnut or poppy seed oil can also be used.


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Chalk, also known as calcium carbonate, is used to add body to the paint and to give it a matte finish. It can be added in small amounts to the paint mixture.


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Wax can be added to casein paint to make it more water-resistant and to give it a sheen. Beeswax is a popular choice, but other waxes such as carnauba or candelilla wax can also be used.


Glue can be added to casein paint to make it more adhesive. Fish glue or rabbit skin glue are both good options.


Preservatives can be added to casein paint to help extend its shelf life. Shellac or ammonia hydrogen carbonate are both good options.

This is waaaaay too hard. Is there an easier way?

Now if all of this just got too hard you can purchase Casein Emulsion and mix it with paint pigments and you can make your own paints that way.

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Preparing the Casein Paint

Now that we have everything we need, let’s start preparing the paint. Here are the final steps for the easy casein paint recipe:

Mixing the Casein Powder

The first step is to mix the casein powder with water. Soak 2 1/2 oz. (80 g) casein powder in 9 fl. oz. (250 ml) room temperature water for at least 10 minutes. Pre-heat the soaked casein.

Adding Pigments

Once the casein is heated, we can start adding pigments. Sift 2 parts Casein into half of your water (8 parts). Stir thoroughly to avoid lumps. When mixture is smooth, stir in 1 part dry pigment. You can also use pigment paste if you prefer.

Adding Borax and Lime

After the pigments are added, we can proceed with the borax and lime. Dissolve 1 oz. (32 g) borax in 9 fl. oz. (250 ml) hot water. Add the borax solution to the casein mixture and stir well. Then, add 1 oz. (32 g) lime powder to the mixture and stir well again.

Adding Oil, Wax, and Glue

Next, we can add oil, wax, and glue to the mixture. You can use any oil you prefer, such as linseed oil or walnut oil. Add 1/2 oz. (15 g) of oil to the mixture and stir well. Then, add 1/2 oz. (15 g) of wax and 1/2 oz. (15 g) of glue to the mixture and stir well again.

Adding Preservatives

Finally, we can add preservatives to the mixture to make the paint last longer. You can use shellac or ammonia hydrogen carbonate as preservatives. Add 1/4 oz. (7 g) of preservative to the mixture and stir well.

And that’s it! We have successfully prepared our casein paint. Remember to store the paint in an airtight container and use it within a few days. Have fun creating beautiful artworks with your homemade paint!

Application of Casein Paint

So we have implemented the casein paint recipe and we now have a couple of colors that we want to try. When it comes to applying casein paint, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure the best results when we actually start using it. Let’s break it down into sub-sections:

Preparing the Surface

Before applying casein paint, it’s important to prepare the surface properly. This means ensuring that the surface is clean and free of any debris, dust, or oils.

If the surface is porous, it may be necessary to apply a filler to create a smooth surface. For wood surfaces, sanding the surface before applying the paint can also help to create a smooth finish.

Applying the Paint

When applying casein paint, it’s important to keep in mind the flow and viscosity of the paint. Using a muller or double boiler can help to create a smooth and consistent texture.

To avoid lumps, it’s important to strain the curds through cheesecloth before mixing with water. When applying the paint, use a brush or roller and work in thin, even layers.

For glass or plastic surfaces, it may be necessary to apply a primer before applying the paint.

Drying Time

Casein paint typically dries to the touch within a few hours, but it’s important to allow the paint to fully dry before applying additional layers or handling the surface.

Depending on the thickness of the paint and the humidity in the air, drying time can vary. It’s best to wait at least 24 hours before applying a second layer of paint.


Casein paint dries to a matte finish, which can be desirable for some applications. However, if you prefer a glossy finish, it may be necessary to apply a varnish or sealer after the paint has fully dried.

It’s also important to note that casein paint can be prone to cracking over time, especially on surfaces that are exposed to frequent temperature changes or moisture.

How long does home made casein paint last in storage?

The shelf life of homemade casein paint can vary depending on the recipe used, storage conditions, and the quality of the ingredients. In general, properly stored homemade casein paint can last for several weeks to a few months.

To extend the shelf life of homemade casein paint, it is important to store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Some people also recommend adding a preservative, such as borax or sodium benzoate, to the paint to help prevent spoilage.

If the paint develops an unusual odor, mold, or a lumpy texture, it is likely that it has gone bad and should not be used.

It is important to note that homemade casein paint may not have the same shelf life as commercially prepared paint, which often contains additional preservatives to help prolong its life.

My own casein paint lasted about 2 weeks and then I threw what was left out because I had not sealed the containers properly and it developed a little mold. Next time I will try freezing it to see if that works.

Casein Paint Tips and Tricks

When it comes to using casein paint, there are several tips and tricks that can help you achieve the best results. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Making the Casein Paint Safe

One of the benefits of casein paint is that it is non-toxic and safe to use. However, if you are using dry pigments to create your own paint, it is important to wear a mask to avoid inhaling the particles. You should also avoid using pigments that are known to be hazardous.

Storing the Paint

Casein paint has a relatively short shelf life compared to other types of paint. To extend the life of your paint, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This will help prevent the paint from spoiling.

Thinning the Paint

If you find that your casein paint is too thick, you can thin it out with water. However, be careful not to add too much water, as this can cause the paint to become too transparent.

Adding Glycerin or Honey

If you want to give your casein paint a smoother consistency, you can add a small amount of glycerin or honey. This will help the paint flow more easily and make it easier to work with.

Using as a Primer or Sealer

Casein paint can also be used as a primer or sealer. Simply apply a thin layer to the surface you want to prime or seal, and allow it to dry completely before applying additional layers of paint.

Using with Metal

Casein paint can be used on metal surfaces, but it is important to prepare the surface properly first. Clean the surface thoroughly and apply a coat of primer before painting with casein.

Creating Opacity or Glaze

If you want to create a more opaque effect with your casein paint, you can add more pigment to the mixture. On the other hand, if you want to create a more translucent effect, you can thin the paint with water or add a glazing medium.

Using Different Tools

Casein paint can be applied with a variety of tools, including brushes, rollers, and palette knives. Experiment with different tools to find the ones that work best for your project.

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