Welcome to Lines, Dots, and Doodles. This is the place for students, parents, and teachers to find out what has been going on in my art class. I have included pictures of my student's artwork and basic explanations of the projects. I hope when you leave this blog, you feel inspired to create. Feel free to browse this blog and borrow any of my art lessons.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Washable tempera

I have gone most of this year with very few art supplies.  There were numerous problems, but basically the art order I had made this year got mixed up and I ended up either getting the wrong supplies, or not getting what I ordered at all.  After calling the company, I found out that it wasn't their fault, it was a mixup in the county's ordering system.  Anyway, to make a long story short, I ran out of drawing paper half way through the year, and am running extremely low on paints, glue, and pastels.  This means I have been begging for art supplies from everyone.  I have asked classroom teachers to send me any art supplies they are not using.  As a result, I have been given an interesting assortment of supplies.

One of the things that was generously donated was several gallons of washable tempera paint. Until recently, I had not used washable tempera in my art class.  I have always used Sax Versa Temp for my classroom.  I had not realized how spoiled I was.  Washable tempera is nothing like Versa Temp.  It is watered down, and sometimes dries transparent.  Students have to paint 2-3 coats to make their painting look nice.  I have been racking my brain for ways to make the washable tempera better.  Does any know of an additive that can be added to tempera paint to make it thicker?  I know that their are many acrylic mediums out there to change the consistency of acrylic paint, but I have never seen anything for tempera.  I would love to hear any suggestions.


  1. Ugh! Like you, I always used Versatemp, and can't stand the quality level of washable temperas. I've not tried this, but I'm wondering if you pour it into bowls and leave it out overnight to thicken if it would help?

    Another thought is that if you have some leftover Versatemp white, if you mix it with the crappy washable stuff it will probably have better opacity and you could the tint colors for spring flowers and other light and springy paintings.

    Also -I know this sounds goofy - but try adding a squeeze of Elmer's GlueAll to each dish of paint. I've done this with the Versatemp, and it makes it into more of an acrylic-like paint. Don't know what it would do to the washable stuff, but it's worth experimenting, no? Just make sure brushes get washed!

    I'm wondering about other thickening agents you could add - here's a crazy idea - perhaps some cornstarch? Or talcum powder?

  2. All of those ideas sound interesting. I really like the idea of adding Elmer's Glue. I will have to try that. I have already tried leaving them out over night. It did thicken, but I ended up with large globs in the paint. This resulted in large globs of paint on the students pictures.

  3. I'm not a fan of washable paint! I ordered some because students are always getting it on their new shirt and freaking out about it. Don't know if I'll order it again!

  4. If all else fails make sidewalk chalk with it. Mix with plaster of Paris. Pour in a TP tube with duck tape on one end. Let dry, remove and go outside!

  5. As a retired art teacher of over 30 yrs. I understand your dilemma. Now that you have started a new year I hope you didn't throw away the washable tempera paint. You can buy dry tempera that some teachers buy if storage is a problem. But seeing as it is powder, adding it to the washable should make it a little more substantial. Hope you have a great year!

  6. I was wondering about the powder but I was afraid of playing mad scientist with the only paint I currently have on hand. My plan is to invest in some Versatemp (a quality paint I can trust) and add a bit of this washable stuff to "stretch" it out and use the stuff up. I've mixed them before with fairly favorable results. Thanks be that I have something called "internal funds"