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Get Busy Naturally- DIY Natural Oil Paints

Winter break… Bord kids… Wanting to have some quality time working on a project together? These natural oil paints are a wonderful option. 

It’s basically oil mixed with spices to give different colors. 

  • The materials are readily available. 

  • It’s great for fine motor skills. 

  • These paints spark interesting conversations about natural dyes and how colors were made before the Industrial Age. 

  • These paints are made using natural materials that are so non toxic that they are edible!

We used an inexpensive cooking oil that I don’t use for cooking but I really didn’t want to use our olive oil for an arts and crafts project. What more olive oil itself is dark green so it influences the color of the paint. This is totally up to you and your comfort level and your kids age and tendency to put things in their mouth…

For dyes we used:

  • Paprika for reddish orange 

  • Cinnamon for brown

  • Turmeric for yellow

  • Ground hibiscus flowers for purple 

  • Ground eucalyptus leaves for green

  • Black pepper for grey

For best results use as fine a powder as you can find or make. 


  • Put two teaspoons of spice in a little bowl. 

  • Add one teaspoon of oil and mix. 

  • Slowly add another teaspoon of oil and mix it in. 

You are looking for a liquid consistency but make sure that the oil is fully saturated with spices and that you don’t have a layer of oil over the spices. 

Make all your colors.


  • Paint with paint brushes or with your fingers. 

  • If using paint don’t dip the brush in water to get the paint off instead wipe clean with a rag or paper towel. 

  • Different paper reacts differently. Regular paper soaks up the oil and create a transparent halo around the brush strokes. On wax paper it doesn’t happen.

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