Simple Green Project: Using Food as Paint

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Every once in a while, I fancy myself an artist and try taking brush to canvas to create something fun and funky. In the spirit of fun and funky, here’s a simple green project to try: Painting with food and drink. The threat of ants notwithstanding, it will make a one-of-a-kind piece of art for your home and prove to your kids once and for all that there is a way to make any project greener.

I’m sure we all remember using coffee at school to add texture and “authenticity” our history assignments, but it’s unlikely you’ve considered using other food options on canvas. When you try it, you’ll get to flex your artistic muscles and perhaps include it as part of an impromptu lesson for your kids about how the individual ingredients in their food look and smell when they’re on their own. Here are some of the foods and drinks you could put on canvas.


This is probably the most obvious choice. Think of the rich colors of paprika, cinnamon, and turmeric. They’ll make for beautiful, colorful paintings. Just slowly add a little water (a few drops at a time) until you get a consistency that feels right, and you’re ready to paint!

Cordials or Juice

There are lots of colorful cordials that could be a good choice for art, from a Blue Lagoon to a Black Russian. But if you don’t want to waste your finest liqueur for your artistic endeavors, you can always opt for a colorful juice, or even just add food coloring to water. In the case of the latter, you can control the strength of the color depending on how much you dilute the color. And you can always paint with Kool-Aid.


Berries are probably the best choice for this. If you’ve ever gotten home from the supermarket only to find that your raspberries or blueberries have stained everything else in your bag, you can probably see the potential of using berry juice for paint! Just take the time to squeeze the juice from the berries, and use it undiluted for potent color.

Wine and Beer

I know. I know. There are better ways to use wine and beer — like drinking it. But if your alcohol is past its best, this is good option to avoid just throwing it away you don’t want to end up in a non 12 step rehab right?. Red wine in particular will deliver potent colors, and beer or white wine could be used for more subtle washes.

What other foods do you think would make a good art medium? Share your suggestions in the comments below.

Written by Laura at Shiply

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