Egg Tempera Hand Prints – Tie Dye

Who doesn’t like color!  Summer color!  Spring color!  Fall color!  We have a great project – immortalizing your child’s hand print with an age old technique – Egg Tempera Paint.  In previous posts we discussed how to make egg tempera paint but we haven’t talked about color…

Making egg tempera paint isn’t as daunting of a task as you might think – but tinting your paint may seem more than you have bargained for…  not to worry we have an idea for that….  Tie Dye!

Tie Dye doesn’t rely on a pure color, it will be a great way for you to play with color and not worry about whether you got the right color or the wrong color.  There is no wrong color in Tie Dye!


Start with your egg paint, (click here for the recipe) and then pick a color any color – here we chose blue.  Put a few drops of blue on the outside of our yolk paint and then slowly blend the color in by making tiny circles with a fork.  You can see the blue is quite dark where we started and the gradually blends with the yellow of the yolk as we continue…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  tie dye prints k

We did a color test. If the color is where you like it…. then print – we like this print because the yellow of the yolk is really coming through and it has a luminous quality that is lost when we have a completely color saturated mixture…

tie dye print i

This was our best print.  ( And it a favorite of mine!  Look at the marbling effect on the palm…  amazing, like marbleized paper.)
Then we added another color…

tie dye mix a  tie dye mix c

A little red to mix it up…  and check out these results!

tie dye mix f

Easy and carefree color! There is no recipe to follow.  There’s no worry – no fuss – no muss!!  And it is all little hand made…

Homemade Egg Yolk Tempera Paint Recipe – Part One

In our previous post, My Very First Mark, Melissa and I talked about the wonders of Egg Yolk Tempera Paint.  As we have been using this paint with our kids, we started to write down some of our color recipes and thought to share them with you….   a sort of Egg Yolk Tempera Paint Color Palette guide line…

To start the process we wanted to clearly lay out how to make the prep the egg yolks for tempera paint –

Cracking and separating the eggs is a step that your kids can help with – help them be gentle with the egg yolks.  Kids are natural helpers and involving them with the paint making process let’s them show you how much they have grown!


We are after the egg yolk.  After cracking and separating a yolk from the white of an egg, gently place the yolk on a paper towel to dry off more of the white.  This can be tricky!  you do not want to break the yolk just yet….


Roll the yolk around on the paper towel to dry off more of the white.  Once you feel that you have gotten as much white from the yolk as you can – puncture the membrane of the yolk and drain the yolk …


You only want the yolk, not the membrane.  You can scrape the yolk from the paper towel into your container while keeping the membrane separate…  as I said, a little tricky but be patient, it is worth the time.  When you have as many yolks as you need – add one drop of vinegar per yolk to your paint mixture.


Then add water and flour.


Then mix.  This is a great part of the recipe for kids – “Mash until there are no lumps!”  When the mixing is done, you should have a a mixture that is about the consistency of pancake batter…


Now comes the color.  Melissa and I have separated this part of the recipe – mixing color off of a yellow base can be difficult, complimentary colors can become muddy and brownish.  We want to take a full post just on color mixing to show you how fun and easy colors can be!

Start with an easy color project – Tie Dye Hand Prints.

My Very First Mark

egg hand print

We want the precious moments of our child’s life to be permanently burned into our brains.  However, the reality is our children’s childhood is all too fleeting and impermanent.  We have an idea that is exquisitely fun, done in an afternoon easy, and offers a lifetime of memories!

Try it once for a great keepsake.  Or try it a lot and have a colorful collage record of your child’s growth.  Here is a great recipe for baby friendly tempera paint with results that have limitless “AAAWWWww!” factor.  

Baby is never too young for this first art project, the younger the better. It is a great gift idea also, if you know someone having a baby.  They are most definitely going to be too wiped out to be thinking straight, so here is where you could come in with a priceless gift.

Bring a few supplies with you:  make sure to make the paint just an hour or so before you start stamping.  This project utilizes common household items, found in everyone’s home. Great for spur of the moment guerrilla art making!

When my daughter turned 2, she had not played much with paint.  I decided to make our own. I was quite concerned that the first place the paint would go was in her mouth, so it was important to me to have a high quality, stable and totally EDIBLE paint.

As an art student, I had learned about EGG TEMPERA.  I knew that it was used by renowned artists hundreds of years ago.  The quality must be great if artists such as  Botticelli used it!  (And his art has been around 500 years)  I researched recipes and with a little tweaking created a food based paint that rendered great possibilities for detail.  For our daughters birthday, we had such success, you could see all the detail of her tiny hand.  Superfine creases, lines and marks that will fade as she grows are memorialized with egg tempera!

egg print list


   You will need:
egg yolks
food coloring
a pie pan
paper towels
precut watercolor paper (or any heavyweight archival paper )

You can use ANY paper around the house….but for longevity you may want to visit a craft store  for something archival.  That means it has a neutral Ph and will not degrade or discolor over time.

You will need to separate the egg yolk from the whites, even rolling it around on a paper towel to “dry” it off.

*pic here of jack separating, pic of yolk on napkin*

You will then use a knife to cut a slit in the yolk at the edge of the towel and let the yolk run into a bowl.  Be sure to not allow the yolk casing into your bowl.  You can start with 3 yolks, that should give you plenty of “paint”.

*pic here of knife to yolk, and pic of knife holding casing back*

Add one drop of vinegar per egg yolk you have used.  Drop in your food coloring until you like the saturation.  Less color=more transparent.  More color=more opaque.  (For those who are interested – Melissa and I have published some great Egg Tempera Color Recipes *here*)

You can play with adding water, but not more volume than the egg you’re using.  I like to keep the paint nearly paste like because I feel like that is how you get the detail.  Keep in mind you’re starting with yellow each time, so remember your color wheel!  Sprinkle a little flour in your yolk mixture to thicken it up.  Using  a little flour is how you can truly achieve the detail found in hand-prints!

*pic here of yolk after flour mixed in, before color*


Now you’re ready to stamp.  It is helpful after a fresh dip, to stamp the hand 2, maybe 3 times.  You’ll see the 3rd or 4th stamp per dip is the best one, so plan accordingly.  If it’s going really well, and baby is having fun, (or just snoozing), try a little foot next!

Here is an example of the detail you can achieve using egg tempera paint.

palm detail

pad detail

palm detail 2

Not only does this project yield amazing original results…  you can take your hand prints further with a little electronic know how and an online photo service….  You can create cards, gift tags, even your own wrapping paper!  Find an online service that will print your treasures on cups, mouse pads, t-shirts etc….  we have a post for the “Techie” aspect of this project here – 

“Art” is about being creative.  “Art” is about experiencing the world around you and expressing those experiences with your heart and soul.