How to make a Tough, Consistent Colour Clay Paint


By far the most common email i get from this post is ‘i have X wall, will this paint work on it?’….

My answer to everyone is, do a test somewhere discreet. If the surface is at all absorbant you have the best chance of the paint sticking. It should work on cement render, it should work or lime render, it does work on clay render, it probably wont work over a modern paint.

*2023 HUMIDITY update*

A few people have used this paint in homes that are currently suffering with damp.

When this paint gets wet for extended periods of time it will mould much more than non organic paints and renders!

I have had this paint in my home for 3 years now and it is still good and strong. But i have a dry house. So if you think you may experience problems with rising damp or have a leaky roof then this paint isnt for you. Also in very humid climates it could be an issue.

Here we have experimented with various natural paints over the years. Most looked good, but had some negative points such as the requirement for too many layers (such as with some lime paints) or the issue with the clay dusting off the walls when you touch it. The issue with dusting does reduce over time, and in our bedroom the wall which the bed is against dusted heavily for the first week or so but now is sufficiently buffed that it is smooth to touch and no longer drops dust. But we wanted a paint we could apply once, would not dust, and would have a nice consistent matt finish (and of course be made using natural breathable materials). We have finally found our recipe, and with the help of the street artist no less.

To make a strong natural paint we knew that wheat paste could be added to a clay paint, or even just pasted over the top to make the wall durable, a little waterproof and stop dusting. So who better to ask for a strong wheat paste recipe than the fly-poster community?

We combined a fly-poster recipe with our clay paint. The paint we made when dry was incredibly durable, gave a beautiful consistent colour and barely dusted even right after drying. So without further ado, here is our recipe:

  • 6 parts cold water
  • 6 parts white wheat flour
  • 12 parts boiling water
  • 2 parts sugar

combined with…

  • 18 parts cold water
  • 20 parts fine filter clay
  • (add colour pigment here if you like)

Coverage – we found that around 1 litre covered about 2 square metres on a clay wall. Only one coat was necessary for a smooth finish.

Using the measurements above, with one ‘part’ equalling about one cup, we made around 14 litres of paint.

and how to make the mix…

First up, take your 12 cups of water and set it on the hob to boil.


Take another pan and add you 6 parts of cold water


Slowly add to this 6 cups of flour. You can alter the measurements if you like depending on your desired consistency. We wanted quite a thick paint to cover the small cracks and bumps so we stayed with 6 water, 6 flour.


Mix well and make sure there are no lumps.


Hopefully your 12 waters are on their way to boiling


When they have, add them to the flour/cold water, and keep stirring over the heat. The longer you keep it on the heat the thicker it will get so be careful.


Next add your sugar, again still stirring, still on the heat if you want it to thicken. We had taken it off the heat by this point.


And there you have your flour and sugar component.


Hopefully whilst you were busy making the above, your beautiful assistant was filtering the clay. We start with a large filter to take out gravel and rocks.


Then we use a filter made for flour to take out the larger sand particles, and leave only the finest clay

how to make natural clay paint

And then you are left with an incredibly wonderful, soft clay.


We measured out 20 cups in to our new buckets.


Then we poured 18 cups of water into the wheelbarrow.


Next add your clay, stirring well, removing lumps.


Now you can add your flour sugar mix, making sure to get all the lumpy stuff from the bottom. This paint will always sink and separate so whenever decanting, using, moving or anything this paint, make sure to mix and shake it first or you will lose all the solids at the bottom.


When the paint is fully mixed you can decant it into paint pots. Just make sure the pot is shallow enough to allow you to stir the paint regularly as you use it.


And then apply the paint as you would any other paint. We used brushes but I imagine this consistency of paint would lend itself well to a roller too.

natural clay paint

As you can see from the photo of the dried wall below, the paint gives a very nice consistent, matt colour. We brushed the wall after application and there was minor dusting which was expected. To get rid of this you just need to pass a brush or hard dry sponge over the wall.

natural clay paint

If you have any questions, please get in touch. Until next time, there is our recipe for a strong, breathable, natural, clay and flour paint


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