The Incredible Egg – Egg Painting

Time 45 minutes
Age 7 & up
Group Size Less than 10
Tags Art, Egg, Individual,   more...

Create a beautiful, shiny paint with eggs

Before oil paints were invented, painters used egg yolks as an ingredient in their paint. Your kids can paint like the old masters by creating their own egg tempera paint. This activity is part of the Incredible Egg series of activities, which are designed to be done during the Spring—start your students off with some of the “egg science” activities, then move on to egg art, like this activity, and finally take the Egg Drop Challenge!


See the instructions for The Incredible Egg for preparations regarding all of the activities in this series. For this activity you will need to collect several egg yolks, approximately 2 per student. Make sure to try out all of the other “Incredible Egg” activities:

Egg Science Activities:

Egg Art Activities:

Culminating Activity:

The Incredible Egg – Egg Painting

Suggested Materials


  • Egg yolks
  • Powdered tempera paint
  • Gesso (optional)
  • Bowls or cups
  • Paint brushes
  • Paper, blocks of wood (4” X 6” or 5” X 7”, 2 inches thick) or square ceramic tiles to paint on




Make it Matter

Opening Discussion

Ask your students what they think artists did a long time ago, before there were art supply stores where they could buy paint. Did they make their own? What kinds of materials do they think the artists used to make paint? Tell them that they will be creating a kind of paint used by many famous painters, and that it is still used by some artists today. This paint is special because it is made from egg yolks!

The Challenge

Make your own egg tempera paint, then use it to paint your masterpiece!


Make it Happen

Doing the Activity

  1. If your students are old enough, they can help you make the paint. Egg yolks are surrounded by a thin membrane—you can remove this membrane by poking a hole in the yolk, and letting the fluid inside drain into a cup or bowl. You can still make the paint without removing the membranes, though you may notice small clumps as you paint.
  2. Once you have drained several yolks, you can make paint by mixing some of the powdered tempera with some of the yolk.
  3. Make several different colors, then distribute the paint and have your students create whatever they would like on the paper or blocks of wood you have provided to them. The blocks of wood offer what feels like a more special medium – if using the wood, you may wish to first paint each block with a coat of gesso to provide a white background.
  4. Students will likely need to share colors. You can assign brushes to colors (rather than students each having a brush) and have students share bowls of paint; or you can disperse paint by putting a glob of each color on plastic plates and distributing those plates to each student.

Make it Click

Let’s Talk About It

Ask your students what words they would use to describe the egg paint. Do they notice that it is shiny? This shininess makes egg tempera paint special, and it is why some artists still like to use it when they paint today.


Make it Better

Build On What They Talked About

Have students create more paintings, or add to their current work.


  • If you use blocks of wood or tiles instead of paper, you can first paint gesso on them and let it dry. Gesso is a white base paint that helps the egg tempera stick and stand out. It’s not necessary, but good to use if you have it.
  • Many famous painters used egg tempera paint, including Botticelli and Michelangelo. Some modern painters like Andrew Wyeth also used tempera paint.
  • Why not let the egg whites join the fun? You can also experiment with making paint by mixing powdered tempera with the egg whites. If you do this, ask children to observe and comment on the differences between the egg yolk tempera and the egg white tempera.
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