Natural Paints

The use of natural paints can help create an outdoor world within your home.  Natural paints allow for the air inside your home to remain healthy and for the walls of your home to breathe and release moisture when need be.  People use natural paints in green homes to help keep up the natural quality of health in and around a home.

When thinking of traditional paint, most are unsure what is in a typical gallon of paint.  You can begin with pigment, one of the three most basic properties of paint.  The pigment of typical paints include metals and toxic chemical compounds.  A natural pigment can be created with the use of colors from plants, insects, iron oxides, and minerals.  All of which are created from or found in the soil beneath our feet.

The next property of paint which allows it to adhere to other paint particles and the wall is known as a binder.  The acrylic and vinyl binders in commercial paints are derived from the byproducts of refining crude oil.  You can create a binder in a natural way by using materials such as starch in flour, casein (protein in milk), and linseed oil made out of pressed flax seeds.

Thirdly, texture is a quality that is vital in distinguishing between paints.  To create a natural texture you can use minerals such as talcum, limestone, silica, or marble.  When using starch as a binder, clay is recommended to provide texture.  Clay is used because it reinforces the binding capability of starch and can be easily found because it is plentiful in nature.

The fourth property of paint in a gallon of regular pain is a solvent.  Solvents or thinners allow for consistency in a paint that allows you to work with it.  Typically organic compounds are used for solvents.  Sounds good right, but it really is not.  VOC’s or volatile chemical compounds can outgas or evaporate and cause nausea, headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, and fatigue.  These symptoms can increase based on ventilation and how often one is exposed to paints.  To counteract this a natural solvent such as citrus thinners or natural turpentine are recommended, even though they still give off low voc’s.

Lastly, additives are added to a typical store bought paint.  These additives are included in aims to prevent things like mold from occurring.  Also things like plasticizers, foaming, antifoaming, driers, biocides, and anything else that may prevent water damage from occurring.

The most recommended type of natural paint to work with is flour paint.  It is recommended because of its ease of use, its large room for error, its cheap, and can be good for indoor uses.  The flour is also most commonly used because it is binded and texturized with a clay based solution, something quite accessible in nature.

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2 Responses to Natural Paints

  1. Ooh, did you find which brands carry these paints?

  2. After adding my comment, I headed out to Ace hardware, part of my to-do list for this Sunday. I went for grass seed but ended up browsing the paint section. I’m renting an apartment now that has very odd color choices and was interested in repainting some rooms. I looked for some of these paints that Luke mentioned but found that much smaller companies, not like Benjamin Moore or others, carry these.

    http://www.motherearthnews.com/Do-It-Yourself/2006-10-01/Make-Safe-Natural-Paint.aspx?page=5

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