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Joyful Creative Life Blog Articles
Written & Illustrated by: Tanya J. de Wet

Loose Flowers & Natural Pigments

Experiments with Natural Pigments

Home Made Liquid Colours from Nature & the Kitchen

If you've ever wanted to experiment with Natural Pigments, then extracting the natural pigments found in flowers, leaves, earthy clay, herbs & spices are for you.

Playing & discovering the colours while interacting creatively, is a fun way to explore the natural world. Part of the experience is gathering the plants & earthy elements you want to experiment with. Use a little bowl of beautiful “watercolours” from nature is safe for all ages & the perfect opportunity to spend time being creative.

Today’s Creative Experiments are just the right medicine for you to curb some of the indoor blues. Being outdoors, exploring & gathering some flowers, leaves & earth from your favourite places.

If you are still somewhat home bound, raid the kitchen cupboards for herb & Spices.

Next in line are the gardens, your own, a neighbour or a park.

A lovely habit to start & when you feel up to it, is going on a leisurely stroll. Wandering around your town & just getting out is a good beginning & it feels regenerating to spend some time in nature. Even if it is a tree in the parking area.

We have to of course have a little disclaimer here…

- Please be aware not to pick Botanical's directly from Nature Reserves, Parks or other peoples gardens, you might get into trouble. Rather see what you can find lying around. Nature has much to offer, we don’t have to pillage anything, just pick up what is on the ground.

- These natural pigments are for fun only! We cannot sell the pigments or the art we’ve created with it, simply because the colour doesn’t last & it’s not archival.

There is some good news too! You can play with them, make something pretty & if you feel up to it, your creativity can be captured with photography & technology. Scanning is another way to utilising some technology, we can capture our creations and have it on our computer’s, then share them in interesting places like your social media sites. Best part is that the scans & photographs can last for a very long time & they can be printed at home. This is just another creative idea to add to the whole process & broadens your skill levels…

“Creativity can never be used up,

It can only become more”

– Maya Angelou

Imagine the pretty pictures on the fridge or in a sweet collection of natural hand painted pages full of delicate nature inspired colours. Wouldn’t that be something to treasure as a shared memory. My kids often tell me about their favourite memories together & they are almost all from doing something creative together, just like this project.

When you make your natural pigments & use your colours, please share it with us & if you want to show off your pretty pictures with the world, I’d really appreciate a social mention as we can always learn from each other by sharing what we create.

You can use the hashtags

You’ll notice in the beginning that it feels like you are going to make something to eat with the bowls, the ingredients & the spoons everywhere. Breaking down the petals into pulp & adding spoon full of water to loosen up the mix.

Then the colours appear & you get excited… Maybe that’s just me, but I’m sure that after your first try, you may like to dip your paintbrush, in more than just petals & leaves or earth from the backyard.

Just don’t dip it in the tea!!!

Nature has so much to offer, a variety of clay, ground up soil, rocks & minerals are great choices too. Many of the natural paint brands contain these with a binder to turn them into long lasting Watercolour and other Paints.

Plant bugs also have many colours to share. I’m thinking of the Cochineal bug.

It’s a scale insect from which the natural dye Carmine is made of. This little insect lives on cacti & feeds on the plant juices and nutrients.

It’s colour is very staining & a truer red is hard to find. As a matter of interest, I prefer Carmine Red to many of the other Cadmiums, especially because it is the healthy, non-toxic alternative. Not just for humans, but nature too.

“For me it is so very beautiful that we could use nature to assist us in creating works of Art & explore our own Creativity, without causing harm”

– Tanya J. de Wet

The process is Easy:

- Go outside & gather the petals, leaves & earth

- Place them in a small bowl & crush lightly with a spoon (You don’t need heavy duty stuff like a mortar & pestle)

- Add a very small amount (a teaspoon at a time) of water

- Use the liquids you’ve extracted straight from the bowl


Create Variation by adding a pinch of bi-carbonate of soda to a small amount in a separate bowl, the colours are altered slightly as they become more alkaline or acidic when you add a squeeze of lemon. Their chemistry changes accordingly & it's a great little Science project to explore.

Essentially, each colour can have 3 variations, have fun & experiment

Here are some photos from my first round of experiments with tea leaves

I used tea leaves in a group of 4 colours from my delicious tea leaf collection

It was raining today & as the inspiration for this post came along, the tea leaves I had available came in really handy. Using the “watercolour” pigments to paint loose translucent flowers & leaves turned out to be a very relaxing session. I made some tea to drink, from the Green Tea & Jasmine leaves before I added them to the small bowls.

Notice how my tea leaves are left as whole ingredients & I added a drop of food colouring to the Green tea to make it look greener, as the tea was very pale. I found the natural food colour in the baking isle of our grocery store.

Here are the four colours I made from the tea leaves:

- Green: Green Tea + 2 drops o green food colour

- Yellow: Chamomile buds

- Orange: Rooibos tea

- Pink: Rose & Hibiscus petals

I used boiling water to help the tea leaves along, as I think cold water wouldn’t have worked as well. My advice is to keep experimenting & even try out the food colouring in the back of your kitchen cupboard

I loved using the Natural Pigments & painted the whole sheet with some lovely loose flowers right there in the kitchen. Absorbed by the process & in complete relaxation mode. It was a true blessing to see the video was recording, as I do not recall pressing record at all. Thanks to a slip, I am able to share the video with you.

If you are giving your creativity a go at home, please show me by tagging me @tanyajdewet on Instagram or use the hashtags #andsocreative & #sketchbooklovers so I can see what you’ve created.

From Nature to the Sketchbook in a seamless Creative Lifestyle where Everything comes together perfectly
Flowers & my large Sketchbook

From Nature to Tea Po

From Tea Pot to Natural Pigment


From Natural Pigment to Sketchbook...

"I guess you can tell that I adore my Sketchbooks. With all the natural delights

Mother Nature has to offer, the beauty to inspire us, can truly never run out!"



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