Make natural paint with leftover fruits and veggies

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Homemade fruit and vegetable paint is recycling at its finest.

When you just can’t finish that bag of wilting spinach (hey, it happens to the best of us), DIY paint is a great way to make the most out of a droopy, potentially smelly, situation. Plus it’ll buy you time between trips to the compost bin and save you a bundle on toddler craft supplies. 

So rather than trying to pass smoothies off as dinner for days on end, whip up a delicious family meal, pop an organic mint, and turn those old food scraps into chemical-free vegan paint for the kids.

The other nice thing about vegetable paint is it’s incredibly easy to make and it’s versatile, too. The instructions below are for making a veggie-based dye, which you can use for things like clothing or Easter eggs. With just one or two additional ingredients you can also make craft paint or face paint. Start with some boiling water and an assortment of veggies for color variety, and you’ll have the kids making all kinds of DIY crafts in no time.


Spinach, kale, swiss chard = green

Strawberry, beets, grenade, blueberry, raspberry = red

Blueberry, blackberry, red cabbage = blue / purple

Carrot, orange peels, yellow onion skins = orange


In a small saucepan, mix 2 cups of water with 1 cup of each fruit or veg. Bring to a boil over medium heat and leave to simmer for about one hour.

Turn off the heat and allow the water to cool to room temperature.

Strain the juice into glass containers.


Mix one teaspoon of dye with approximately six tablespoons of powdered sugar.


Combine equal parts corn starch and your favorite vegan face lotion. Add about ¼ teaspoon vegetable oil to help smooth out the mixture.

Add a spoonful of vegetable dye to the lotion mixture. Repeat with all your dye colors in separate containers until you’ve got a complete set of face paints. 

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