I can say with 100% certainty that making berry paint is not for the faint hearted! My patience was pushed to the limit because of the overly complicated instructions that required the use of every cup, plate, bowl, beaker, spoon and saucaepan in the kitchen. The paint didn't thicken as it should, the children were bored because they just wanted to paint and the dog was sick all over the floor because she ate some, (probably) poisonous berries, (don't worry, she's still alive.) Luckily for us though, it's not all about the finished product.
The actual process of picking all the berries was enourmous fun. We did this yesterday at Park Campus with snow still thick on the ground. We took a sledge with us and also some food for the ducks. Turns out the sledge came in very useful and Jenson in particular had a blast!
The ducks were also very grateful for a feed and we all giggled as we watched them waddle over, slipping and sliding across the icy pond.
We picked a lovely variety of different berries, a few of which we managed to identify such as ivy, snow berry and pyracantha.
Just look at this wonderful winter harvest of beautiful berries.
How To Make Your Own Berry Paints
Squish a handful of berries up and add to the pan. This turned out to be not quite as straight forward as the instructions would like you to believe.
Some berries are surprisingly tough to the point that Jenson even tried squashing some under the table leg!
Add one cup of water to the squashed berries and simmer for 30 minutes.
Strain berries through a sieve and put the liquid to one side.
Grate soap flakes into a bowl and pour in half a cup of boiling water. Stir until the flakes dissolve.
Mix one cup of cornflour with half a cup of water to make a paste. Stir the paste into the soap mixture.
Add the berry juice into the soap mixture to create the paint.
Despite the arduous task involved to get to this point and ignoring the fact that the dog was sick everywhere and Wren nearly tipped boiling water all over herself, the beautiful colours we obtained from the natural juice of the berries was stunning.
Sadly it went even further down hill though. The consistency of the paint still wasn't right and so I gave up and resorted to pouring in gallons of PVA glue.
We did this to each of the six individual colours. By this point Wren had given up to play with her toys in her room and told me just to call her back in when the paint was ready! Jenson to be fair to him had a second wind and stuck at it.
The PVA addition turned the rather striking colours into soft pastels but they still looked pretty.
After two hours of making the damn paint the children were very excited to start using them! Sadly the glue addition made the paint dry clear when applied to the paper!
Being the problem solver he is these days Jenson suggested trying black paper instead. This made little difference.
In the end I resorted to glitter. The children didn't care one bit that this went against the moral of the whole activity because they were having too much fun spreading as much glitter as possible around the house.
Jenson's enthusiasm for the project ended rather abruptly when he discovered this enourmous piece of frozen ice in our pond! He is shouting at me here to stop taking photos because his hands are freezing cold!!
The moral of this story? When I asked the children if they would rather make their own paint or go to Hobby Craft and buy some Wren told me she would rather go to Hobby Craft. Jenson on the other hand said he would rather make his own. I admired his desire to try and please me but Wren's honesty was far more accurate.