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dbclemons
10-02-2006, 04:45 PM
I thought I'd write up a demo of sorts on how to mix up your own casein emulsion and create your own paint. It's a relatively simple process. Please feel free to add any comments, experiences, or questions you may have.

Making Casein Emulsion and Paint

Stage 1 – Creating the Glue:

1 ounce casein powder
5 ounces distilled water (room temperature)

Stir into a container, cover it, and let sit overnight (@ 8 hours.) It turns into a stiff gel.
Water amount can vary. A very wet emulsion will cause the paint to act more like watercolor or ink.
The gel will smell like musty cheese. If it smells bitter or like vinegar (sour milk,) don’t use it.

Stage 2 – Making the Emulsion with Borax:

1 ounce borax
5 ounces distilled water
Casein glue mixture

Heat the water (not to boiling – just hot to touch,) stir Borax in water until dissolved.
Add Borax solution to Casein solution slowly and stir until it’s all combined.
Let mixture sit for @ 2-4 hours.
Pour mixture into a double boiler on low heat until it liquefies (heat to @ 140į.) See note below.*
Let it cool to room temperature and it’s ready to use.

Stage 3 – Wetting Pigment:

1 ounce pigment
Ready supply of distilled water

Caution: almost all pigment is hazardous, so handle with care. Protect yourself from inhaling it or getting into open sores. Don’t work in the kitchen, even for washing. Refer to paint-making sites for health and handling issues.

Place pigment powder in a pile on work area. Glass or marble works nicely.
Make a small hole in pile and add @ 1 teaspoon water.
Fold pigment into water. A long flat palette knife works well.
Add drops of water until you get a paste that doesn’t cake, and not too fluid.

Stage 4 – Add Emulsion to Paint:

Add small amounts of emulsion to pigment paste (not paste to emulsion,) about 1 teaspoon at a time.
Mix it together until you reach desired opacity and viscosity. Amount will vary by chosen pigment.
Test on spare paper for proper adhesion. If it’s too weak (rubs off easily when dry) add more emulsion.
If paint gets too liquid, you can thicken it by adding it to more pigment paste, or add whiting, or chalk.
Those fillers can make the paint pale when it dries.

Notes:
The casein powder can be found at various paint-making places, and “milk paint” suppliers. For example:
http://www.kamapigments.com/
http://www.sinopia.com
http://kremer-pigmente.de/englisch/catalog.htm
http://www.milkpaint.com/
http://www.realmilkpaint.com/
This site shows how to make it from cottage cheese, which I’ve never bothered to do:
http://www.angelfire.com/yt/modot/painting.html

*In Stage 2, the use of double boiler heating is not absolutely necessary, but will help make the emulsion less viscous.

Raw pigment can often be rough and gritty, so invest in a mortar & pistil or glass muller for further grinding. A good source for pigment is places that supply ceramic or pottery material for glazes; although, they tend to not have vibrant colors.

Different pigments require varying amounts of emulsion to get a decent paint. There’s no standard amount that works for all, so experiment. The measurements above are approximated to give me a decent wet paint. They can vary to your own taste, especially the pigment paste Step 3.

In place of borax, ammonia can also be used, ideally ammonia hydrogen carbonate. Ammonia thins the gel somewhat and adds that odor you need to deal with. I’m investigating if trisodium phoshate (TSP) works the same, or with any drawbacks. I’ve read of certain preservatives that can be added to extend it further (formaldehyde & Dowacide A,) but I prefer not to use them, and I’d have to account for the thinning they cause.

Glycerin is a nice additive to use to increase flow and slow the drying of the paint without severely thinning it as you would with water. Use in small amounts. Tip: works with gouache too, and possibly egg tempera.

This glue is very strong and is a good substitute for PVA or hide-glue applications. The emulsion makes a good glue for gesso (whiting and pigment,) a good sizing alternative, and when diluted, coating paper to make it a little less absorbent for casein paint. It dries somewhat brittle, so keep it thin and don’t use on a flexible surface (unmounted or thin paper,) or else expect to see cracks. Remember that it is still milk, so certain pests may enjoy tasting it.

-DBC

dbclemons
10-02-2006, 04:53 PM
Addendum credits:
The milk powder shown is courtesy of Kama Pigments. The borax came from a local grocer. The pigment is a pottery stain from Mason Color Works (http://www.masoncolor.com/newfiles/ceramicstains.html) by way of Armadillo Clay (http://www.armadilloclay.com/home.html).

Weezy
10-02-2006, 05:29 PM
David you are a veritable fountain of information. Thank you. And now for a totally innane question.....Does anyone know of a way to save off an entire thread in a document format? Is it possible on WC?

Cause this is one I'd love to save in one of my special methods folders. Its got gems of information in it.

Thanks again David.

pinkrybns
10-02-2006, 06:00 PM
Thanks David for this info!!!

For anyone in the Netherlands looking in on this thread and looking for casein powder (caseÔnepoeder), Peter van Ginkel art supplies has it:
http://www.petervanginkel.nl/index.php?id=155

Does anyone know of a way to save off an entire thread in a document format? Is it possible? Hi Weezy, yes it is possible.

* Go to the tab "Thread Tools" at the top of this thread and
* click on "Show Printable version" in the drop down menu.
* Then go to your web bowser tool bar and click "select all"
* and then "copy"
*and then open up a Word doc and paste it in as is, or you can select to paste it in non-html print which leaves out the WC! logo and all that.
(Sorry, my Word program is in Dutch so I'm not sure what the English really is anymore for the commands ... :rolleyes:)

Edit to add: You won't get the attached image however, but you can always right click that and save it as a jpg. and paste it in your doc.

dbclemons
10-02-2006, 07:53 PM
You're most welcome. I hope people find it helpful.

If ordering from Italy is any easier for some, I hear good things about a company called Zecchi (http://www.zecchi.com/pag1.htm). They carry what looks like a nice range of items, but I've never ordered from them.

Weezy
10-03-2006, 09:39 AM
This thread is worth its weight in gold. Thanks to the two of you for some really good information. This is why I love WC. Cause if you don't know soemthing, somebody out there does, and with this crowd is willing to share and help. You just can't find that everywhere else!

dbclemons
10-03-2006, 10:42 AM
Re: TSP
Well, I made up a test batch again last night using TSP this time in place of borax in equal portion. All I can say is it didn't explode.:p I don't see any difference in the mixture or smell. I'm not sure there's any benefit to using TSP or risk to the paint or paint surface, so at this point until I know more, I'm not recommending it. From what I've read of phosphates, there's a pollution concern with disposing of it improperly, and borax is often listed as a better replacement.

Meisie
10-05-2006, 01:45 PM
THANK YOU!!! I'm going to wait a little longer before I print this thread. It is a 'must have' for sure!! :clap:

I wonder clove oil will help keep critters away without causing problems? Someone - I don't remember the name- here on WC mentioned using it in Egg Tempera for preserving purposes, and keeping critters away.

How well/ long does the emulsion mixture keep and stay fresh for use?
How do you store it?

Meisie

gerdbrunzema
10-05-2006, 05:03 PM
I use this:
You have three components:
Borax-powder,
water to dissolve the borax, and, yes,
simple curd.
The low fat one from the supermarket.
----------
The weight ratio of these three components is :

1 part borax : 8 parts water : 20 parts curd

So, if you have, for example 1000 gram curd, you need 400gram water to dissolve 40gram borax.
The same goes for ounces ;-)
-----------
You put the curd in a non-metallic container, dissolve the borax in hot non-boiling water, and add it to the curd. Mix it good! I use a power drill with a mixing- thing applied to it. Leave it alone for two or three hours, then mix again.
Thats casein. That is NOT an emulsion! Add linseed-varnish or any other oil or dammar (it keeps it fresh, it is bactericide) WHILE MIXING, then it is an emulsion. I never use pure casein. It is pretty agressive stuff.

Sincerely

Gerd Brunzema

http://www.thedailypaintedegg.blogspot.com

dbclemons
10-05-2006, 05:58 PM
...
Thats casein. That is NOT an emulsion! Add linseed-varnish or any other oil or dammar (it keeps it fresh, it is bactericide) WHILE MIXING, then it is an emulsion. I never use pure casein. It is pretty agressive stuff...

Well... TECHNICALLY (:p ) it IS an emulsion. An emulsion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emulsion)is anything mixed with something else in liquid form. In this case we've got casein, borax, and water. You actually had casein even before you started, since casein (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casein)is the protein that's in the curd, so you just removed everything else. ...But, let's not quibble. What you've got there sounds like a good home-grown recipe. Thanks for sharing. :)

dbclemons
10-05-2006, 06:03 PM
...I wonder clove oil will help keep critters away without causing problems?

...How well/ long does the emulsion mixture keep and stay fresh for use?
How do you store it?

Thank you , Meisie.

I've heard that about clove oil before also, plus it smells nice :), but haven't tried it. If you get to it first, let us know how it works out.

I've never had a batch that hung around longer than a couple weeks. The longest I've heard recommended is about 1 month, perhaps longer if you add a preservative of some kind.

I keep it refrigerated. That's why I don't make more than I need, as there's not that much room in the fridge. :p

dbclemons
10-05-2006, 06:17 PM
Since I had a bit extra casein left over, I thought I'd make up some sizing and gesso with it, and post up another demo of how it was done. This should give folks an idea of how versatile casein can be.

Casein Size and Gesso:

Iíve adapted various recipes for making traditional gesso by substituting casein emulsion for the hide-glue. Itís recommended to only be used on firm supports such as wood panels. Iíve read that itís more brittle over time than hide-glue, and more absorbent; although, tempering (mentioned below) helps prevent that. Itís a bit easier to manage than hide-glue, I think, since it doesnít require using a double boiler. Iíve used this surface for both oil and casein paint, but casein paint doesnít need as many coats. The whole process takes about 4-5 days, not including final drying time, so doing several panels at once is a good idea.

You will need:
Casein emulsion
White pigment (titanium, or titanium and zinc)
Whiting (calcium carbonate, chalk, marble dust, or gypsum)
Denatured alcohol (or vodka [!] for the pigment/whiting putty)
Distilled water
Cheesecloth for straining gesso
#300 & #2000 grit sandpaper
Alum (optional)
Shellac (optional)
Wood stirring spoon/sticks & spatula for mixing pigment
Several bowls for mixing
Measuring cups and spoons

Making the Size:
Dilute the emulsion to a sizing liquid by a ratio of 1:10 (10 times the water) by volume*. One tablespoon as a unit makes about Ĺ cup or so. This should be plenty for about 2x2 ft. with two coats. It dissolves well if you set the container inside a larger bowl of hot (not boiling) water and stir gradually until itís all diluted. Apply two coats on all sides of the panel, and let it dry well for 2-3 days before adding gesso.

Making the Gesso:
Mix 1 part pigment and 3 parts whiting**. Mix a few drops of alcohol diluted in your sizing liquid (1:1) and add gradually to the powder until it mixes into putty. This helps the glue adhere to the powder better. Let this sit for at least 15 minutes.

Pour some of your sizing liquid (@1oz.) into a large bowl, and add a ball of the pigment putty. Keep adding more liquid or more putty until it gets to a creamy consistency, and you have enough for your needs. If it gets too thin, pour a little of that into another bowl and add more putty. It also shouldnít be too thick, but milky and opaque. Test its properties on a scrap surface. Stir it slowly until the mixture is blended.

Cover another bowl with cheesecloth and strain the gesso into it slowly. Stir the gesso with a clean spoon. Strain as much of the grit out as possible.

Itís always better to make slightly more than you need. A Ĺ cup should be plenty for @ 1x1 ft. panel.

Apply the Gesso:
Start applying the gesso by stippling the brush (sponge brushes work well) in a rather thin amount across a small area. If youíre leaving brushstrokes, itís too thick. Use short back and forth strokes in one direction, making sure thereís no uncovered spots or bubbles. If the coat seems too ďstreakyĒ the gesso may not be thoroughly mixed.

Let this coat dry for at least 30 minutes, lightly sand with #300 paper, and then dust off. Iíve tried accelerating that with a hair dryer, but it seemed to cause cracks to appear, so just I recommend waiting. Apply another coat in the same manner with brush marks going in an opposite direction. Six to eight coats make a thick, smooth surface. Panels that have a mix of dark and light grain patterns will need the most coats. Give a final sanding with the #2000 paper.

To harden the surface more, soak an alum solution of 1 teaspoon into a pint of boiling water that has cooled before using. When the last coat of gesso has dried, dab this thinly with a sponge onto the surface in a single coat.

Tip: If you can use a large cylinder, like a tall jar or large bowl, to hold you gesso, itís easier to remove excess from your brush by dragging it inside the container, rather than across the rim, which can add air bubbles.

For storage, a glass container with a lid works best, and a plastic wrap inside the lid helps keep out bacteria. Don't use metal containers. It will keep for 1-2 weeks refrigerated, but I generally donít make up that much.

Let the panel dry for at least one week before painting. If youíve never used a traditional gesso panel before, I think youíll love the smooth feel. Itís similar to slate or chalkboard. Very nice.

Tempering with Shellac:
Tempering the final coat of gesso makes the surface less absorbent, plus it keeps the gesso from lifting off with the first layer of paint. You can do this with a single thin layer of bleached de-waxed shellac cut 1:1 with denatured alcohol. Dried shellac flakes are better to use, since the commercial cans often contain lubricants or waxes to extend the shelf life and add gloss which you donít need. Wait for the final coat to cure for one week before you cover it. The shellac layer should dry for at least an hour before you start painting.
------------------------------------------------------------------
* This ratio of 1:10 varies for RSG sizing recipes Iíve found, sometimes as high as 1:14. Strong glue can cause small cracks to appear later, so if you see that happening, use a more diluted mixture next time.

**Remember, when handling pigment to use a respirator to avoid breathing it in, and donít wash your hands or tools in the kitchen. The powder easily flies off everywhere.

Meisie
10-06-2006, 01:09 PM
Thank you Dave! Wow, this is a great 'do-it-yourself' medium :clap:

As a matter of interest, do you know what one would use to make a black gesso? especially a substitute for the chalk/calcium carbonate ingredient?

Gerd, does the supermarket curd not have additives that could affect the final product? Otherwise it sure sounds like a good way to make a trial batch...

Meisie

dbclemons
10-06-2006, 05:40 PM
Meisie, I have mixed in greys and umbers on occasion, along with white to get a toned surface, but not regulary. They often turn out more streaky or spotted. It seems reasonable to me to keep them as bright as possible. Usually I just go with white and paint a toned imprimatura later. All grounds I know of, even oil and acrylic, include a filler of some sort, usually marble dust.

Meisie
10-12-2006, 11:28 AM
Thanks Dave!

Meisie

Meisie
11-09-2006, 12:23 PM
I was wondering if casein paint will stay wet for use over several days on a palette, such as a stay-wet type? or sealed with wrap over the palette? kept in the fridge so it doesn't turn into a science experiment ;)

dbclemons
11-09-2006, 05:36 PM
I don't think a sta-wet tray is really necessary for casein, as it stays workable as is for quite a while. I'll admit I've never tried it, as I've never felt compelled to. Typically, I only squeeze out what I think I'll need, and don't bother saving leftovers.

Meisie
11-10-2006, 11:51 AM
Thanks Dave...I'll just have to learn what those amounts to squeeze out will be....and that only my own experience could tell me ;)

gerdbrunzema
11-23-2006, 03:42 PM
Dear Meisie ,

if you use low-fat curd,I canīt see a problem (the grease in natural curd, that is non low-fat, wonīt dry and stay greasy so to speak). I use it and had no problems yet.


sincerely

Gerd
http://www.thedailypaintedegg.blogspot.com

gerdbrunzema
11-23-2006, 03:55 PM
Well... TECHNICALLY (:p ) it IS an emulsion. An emulsion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emulsion)is anything mixed with something else in liquid form. In this case we've got casein, borax, and water. You actually had casein even before you started, since casein (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casein)is the protein that's in the curd, so you just removed everything else. ...But, let's not quibble. What you've got there sounds like a good home-grown recipe. Thanks for sharing. :)

Well. Casein in itself is a solid matter (powder, usually) Borax as well. If you put that into water under the right conditions, the borax dissolves and that solution reacts chemically with the casein.
An emulsion (thatīs how I learnt it, at least...) is a stable balance of at least two liquid matters of which one is not soluble in the other (like water and oil for example)
So when you add linseedoil to the caseine, it is an emulsion.

The curd is of course not fat-free. So here is a point. But youīre right, let's not quibble.:)


http://thedailypaintedegg.blogspot.com

dbclemons
01-24-2007, 10:14 AM
UPDATE:
I thought I'd post an update to this thread in regards to shelf-life. I saved a small amount of the emulsion (borax and glue) I mixed up for this demo. Typically, I make up a batch, use as much as I need, and flush the remainder, but this time I just wanted to see how long it would keep. The left-over has been in the refrigerator for about 4 months now, and by all appearances seems as usable as the day it was made. It has no odor or signs of spoilage. I stirred it up a bit, mixed a little pigment with it, and it behaves just as I'd expect a fresh batch to perform. Very encouraging.

Meisie
01-24-2007, 11:17 AM
Sounds good David!

Jeanne-M Turner
05-02-2007, 04:25 PM
I love the use of casein paint. It handles just the same way as Gouache or water colour and flows with the ability to create fine detail or impasto as one wishes. I use this paint as an ideal under painting to the use of W/S oil paint and this gives me the solidity and base more quickly to the oil paint. My problem is that I have a tin of emulsion from Shiva but have no idea what or how to use this. So far, water has been all that I need to create a painting.
I read that the emulsion can be mixed with dry pigment to add colours to the range of Shiva tubes but can one use this with gouache or watercolour paint to turn these into casein paint also? What else can this emulsion be used for? and why have it?
Jeanne-M Turner.France.

dbclemons
05-02-2007, 08:24 PM
This is what Richeson/Shiva writes in their documents (http://www.richesonart.com/cat11.pdf):
"Casein Emulsion is the pure casein binder that is used to make casein paints. As such, it can be mixed with casein paints to improve the brushability or flow without altering any other characteristics. When using casein paints for very thin washes, mix one part Casein Emulsion with five parts water to ensure color brilliance and to maintain adhesion and integrity of the paint film."

Essentially, it's recommended use is the same as when adding any other medium to paint (oil, acrylic, etc.) Yes, you can mix it with gouache or watercolor. The emulsion I make can also be used with oil to make a water mixable emulsion, so I assume the Shiva will work that way also.

Jeanne-M Turner
05-03-2007, 03:54 AM
Thankyou very much for your quick response. I do have a cadmium red pale tube of paint from Shiva sent with my other tubes from Dick Blick and this seems to be like tough jelly and does not dilute the same as the other colours. Is this because it is old and has not been stored properly or is this the normal consistency? My only objection to this paint is the strong smell of Shiva tubes. I find it pretty revolting and have no problem with the plaka casein paint in the same way but the shiva colours are better and more translucent.
jeanne-M. France.

dbclemons
05-03-2007, 09:52 AM
... I do have a cadmium red pale ... and this seems to be like tough jelly and does not dilute the same as the other colours ...

No, it's not normal for casein paint to be that way, but sometimes their tubes are either too dry or too wet. I've a tube of their Cad. Red Deep that is very liquid.

...My only objection to this paint is the strong smell of Shiva tubes...

Yes, that odor bothers me too, even more than using turpentine with oils. Use proper ventilation when painting with these Shiva paints.

AriadneArts
05-28-2007, 12:50 PM
Thank you Dave for this wonderful, very informative thread.

AriadneArts
05-28-2007, 01:24 PM
I wonder clove oil will help keep critters away without causing problems? Someone - I don't remember the name- here on WC mentioned using it in Egg Tempera for preserving purposes, and keeping critters away.

Meisie

I posted some time ago that I use it in my egg tempera. In over five years, I've had no critter problems, and I don't varnish or frame behind glass.

AriadneArts
06-04-2007, 10:36 PM
BTW, I've rated this thread. If others are interested in rating it, perhaps we could make a sticky. Well worth it, I think. :clap:

pinkrybns
06-05-2007, 03:31 AM
BTW, I've rated this thread. If others are interested in rating it, perhaps we could make a sticky. Well worth it, I think. :clap: *cough* Eileen, it already is a sticky :D
This thread is part of this Sticky (see third entry):
Casein: Informative threads (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=391186)

:wave:
Judy

AriadneArts
06-09-2007, 12:49 PM
Oooooops! :o

Must be that danged Oldtimers Disease peekin' out again. Forgot where I was. :)

dbclemons
02-02-2008, 07:12 PM
Yet another update to this thread:

I wound up tossing the original mixture after six months. Although it didn't seem to have spoiled any, it had become very thin and watery compared to its original state, and had lost adhesion.

There had been some discussion in another thread that labeling this as an emulsion is missleading, since it's not an emulsion until it's emulsifying something, such as oil. True enough. I used the term based on the way Shiva uses it for their own product. Nonetheless, the final result can be more properly referred to as a binder or glue, but only AFTER adding the borax; another poor write up on my part that has confused people. In the first step of diluting the casein powder you don't have a glue, just re-hydrated casein curds. Only when borax is added do you get glue. Sorry for the confusion.

Diluting the casein powder by 1:5 as I posted gives a thin but useful medium for painting. If you're making a glue for gesso, I'd suggest 2:5 for a thicker mix. You can then dilute this with more water for a paint medium.

Regarding waiting 8 hours on the casein solution: the longer you wait, the harder the casein solution becomes (this is before adding borax.) "Overnight" is the advice I've seen in several casein recipies out there. I've waited up to 12 hours. In a recent test, I mixed up some fresh glue by immediately adding the borax solution after diluting the casein - no waiting. It appeared to work fine, but I'm concerned that the casein may not have dissolved completely. I believe 8-12 hours is still good advice at this point, until I'm convinced otherwise.

So, that's it. Just some more clarifications and updating. Ask if you need more info.

P.S. I'm considering posting a write up on how to make casein glue directly from fresh milk if anyone's interested.

pinkrybns
02-02-2008, 08:33 PM
Thanks for the update to this thread David and yes, your informative threads are very much appreciated. I hope you continue to contribute.

cheers,
Judy

dbclemons
02-02-2008, 11:19 PM
No problem, Judy.

I'm also keeping these articles I've written up to date at my own website (http://www.dbclemons.com/articles.htm). I try to adjust them as I make new discoveries or improvements. Anyone who's using this information for their own purposes, I'd be interested to hear feedback.

JeffG
02-03-2008, 10:27 AM
... I'm considering posting a write up on how to make casein glue directly from fresh milk if anyone's interested.

I'd be interested as well. :thumbsup:

stephanie4665
07-23-2008, 12:15 AM
hello guys, so i was talking with my friend the other day, and he told me that if you put just one drop of black paint into any can of paint, like nay colour any size it woudl keep it fresh and like we dont know how it keeps it fresh, but the only thing i want to know is that if its true, and if you guys have heard anything like that.

thank you,
steph.

dbclemons
07-23-2008, 09:13 AM
One drop of paint, no matter what the color, wouldn't have any effect. One drop of preservative would, however, if it was concentrated enough. Formaldehyde or phenols of some sort are typical additives.

eeya
07-11-2011, 11:57 AM
Hello, im new here and there is some wonderful information you people are sharing... Can we use this homemade emulsion paint as the base coat on my finished paper mache ?
and is this the same borax we use on carrom board?

peace to all
eeya

dbclemons
07-11-2011, 01:35 PM
I don't know what a "carrom board" is, but as long as the item is just boric acid and not mixed with something else it should work fine. Some grades of borax are more refined than others.

Casein can easily be painted on paper mache.

eeya
07-12-2011, 02:04 PM
thanks for the information carrom board is a table top board game with a striker and some round carrom men and the only two uses i knew for borax so far are to make this carrom board slippery and to kill coakroaches ....

lensman
05-11-2016, 07:00 PM
I have a tin of emulsion from Shiva but have no idea what or how to use this. So far, water has been all that I need to create a painting.
I read that the emulsion can be mixed with dry pigment to add colours to the range of Shiva tubes but can one use this with gouache or watercolour paint to turn these into casein paint also? What else can this emulsion be used for? and why have it?
Jeanne-M Turner.France.

Yes, I know this is a VERY old thread but knowledge is always sought... I too have purchased a bottle of Richeson Casein Emulsion. I had hoped to turn my gouache paints (and maybe my unused watercolours) into casein paint. However this does NOT work using the casein emulsion alone. I have personally experimented with this notion and just confirmed this by writing to Richeson & Co. It is intended as a medium to use WITH casein paint only...