Making Paint out of Copper Carbonate

Making Paint out of Copper Carbonate

Hello, and welcome to the 13 th episode of
my paint and pigment making series. This isn’t really a natural organic pigments
but to be totally honest those are becoming a bit of a headache right now. So this time, I’m going to make paint out
of something stable and predictable: copper carbonate. One of you recommended this to me and although
I would have liked to make it from scratch- I am too self aware of my abilities. So, Im sorry to say I took the easy route
and just bought the powder ready made. If you want a good tutorial on how its made
though Ill leave a link or two in the description. I got my copper carbonate from a ceramics
store that sells glazes and slips – it was really really cheap – at least where I live
so I’m excited to see how good of a paint this turns out to be. Its used in so many things ranging form jewelry,
fertilizers, fireworks, to paints and glazes – so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find
wherever you are. I will also link to some in the description
below. Also, since this is a synthetic pigment its
super important to take a look at its Material Safety Data sheet – some synthetic pigments
are extremely toxic and nobody should ever take a risk like that. So, taking a few seconds to look through these
keeps you safe but also gives you useful information such as solubility. For example, it says here that copper carbonate
is insoluble in water so you wouldn’t want to use it as a dye or ink that’ll just save
a lot of time. As for safety, its not too dangerous, but
it can be irritating to the eyes, skin and lungs. If you work with it regularly or in large
quantities you should wear protection but since this is a one off Im just going to be
careful and not to agitate it and make it go in the air. Its super important though that you don’t
pour it down the drain since its toxic to some fish and algae. Now that thats out of the way, I start as
usual by placing my pigment on a glass slab that has been rubbed with sandpaper and since
this pigment is so pretty, its getting the macro treatment. I usually use walnut alkyd but today I’m
switching that up to walnut oil because this channel is full of plot twists. Gotta keep it fresh, ya know. Honestly this paint is so pleasant, easy and
relaxing to mull – I really get why synthetic pigments beat out the plant based ones. Its such a pretty color and makes an incredibly
fine and smooth paint. Im just enjoying this one a lot, you have
no idea. No stress, no surprises, no disappointments
– just easy good paint. I make a few test swatches on a blank piece
of canvas. Since I know that this paint isn’t affected
by UV light or oxidization, I won’t make any color and lightfastness tests. I paint a swatch of the paint by itself with
no additives. Very gorgeous turquoise. Unfortunately cameras have a kind of dulling
effect and can’t really show how vivid some colors are but this one is quite bright and
strong in real life. Heres a little transparency test. Next swatch is the copper carbonate with titanium
white paint – and to be honest, its not the most pigmented since only a little bit of
white washed it out dramatically. Its still a very very pretty pastel color. Next swatch is with grey and nothing too special
there, but I still like the color. In the end, not much to say there except that
this one was a solid success. Feels pretty good. I hope you enjoyed this paint, as much as
I enjoyed making it and please remember to leave comments, questions, or suggestions
in the comments below. I really love reading and replying to them
since this is such a niche topic. As always, thanks for watching!


  1. Everything you said about safety is spot on however copper carbonate is a naturally occurring mineral called malachite. Interestingly, this same mineral can occur as a blue solid called azurite. The renaissance artists used azurite for skies mostly. The downside is that over time azurite (blue) turns into malachite (green). Today you'll notice which artists did this because they have green skies. The expensive and best blue came from lapis lazuli which retains its brilliant blue after many centuries. I'm a huge fan of mineral paints incase you couldn't tell LOL! Although its beautiful ,and dangerous, vermillion is also a natural mineral but grinding it is bad because of the mercury getting in your lungs. But you've made some beautiful lake paints so I don't guess your interested in going that direction. Great video work! I'm glad you don't have a shaky camera while your working!

  2. Yeah vermillion is made of cinnabar (mercury sulfide). You can actually take a lighter and hold it up to the mineral for a few moments and the red stone starts dripping with mercury. Dangerous but beautiful too!
    If you buy your own lapis lazuli you'll be in for quite a job. There's other minerals in the lapis. The ancients found a method of mixing wax and lye to sort it out, and dissolve the bad stuff. There are old texts you can research on the net that will tell you the process. But later in the 1800's they made lapis by chemical synthesis. They called it french blue (a jab at french people using a fake lapis instead of the real thing). There's a guy on youtube who makes pigments and goes through the process of refining lapis. He also has a video of making lead white.

  3. That french blue I mentioned is actually called french ultramarine. After they process lapis lazuli the paint is called ultramarine. The synthetically made pigment is called french ultramarine.

  4. Hey there is something I could use some insight on. I know of several chemicals to make different colors but haven't been able to find what makes certain well known paints such as Naples yellow, Van dyke brown, etc. With Van dyke brown I imagine a black iron oxide mixed with brown manganese oxide would do it but it would take some experimenting. If anything a ratio would be helpful. Any thoughts on that? An episode about it maybe? LOL!
      Also I tried making oil pastel sticks recently. I used mineral oil, melted candle wax mixed and pigment. Its ok but I don't think its a good equivalent to professionally made oil pastel sticks. I used the copper carbonate as my pigment by the way. I had an idea about mixing it all together while hot then pour it in a copper pipe (stoppered on one end) to cool and shape it simultaneously. Pull the plug out of the copper pipe and push out the stick once cooled. What do you think?

  5. Beautiful! I could watch mulling all day ! Btw- i am hearing about courses in making natural pigments thru my interest in geometric drawing. Sadly they're in London & the Middle East. Trying to find info closer to home.

  6. Im curious to see how carrots, berry varieties, and flowers would turn out. Id also like to see the difference with swatching them on canvas and on mix media paper. I love your videos interested on seeing more

  7. omg that corgi video during the safety sheet, love it. just on a spiral of your vids, they're beautiful and i'm learning so much

  8. love your channel! Im also doing some research right now since i might make this an option for my thesis, but with mt own twist!

  9. Since copper carbonate is a mineral, i think you should try making paint out of some minerals cus i mean technically they’re natural ???? Trust me it would be much much better. Though pricy, i suggest you start with lapis lazuli (aka the original ultramarine pigment). Mineral pigments are MUCH more stable and vibrant as well. If you’re persistent on plant pigments, i suggest trying flowers (but be ready for disappointments and low light fastness haha 😂)

  10. Copper carbonate is easy to make. Copper Sulfate is water soluble blue crystals available at many home improvement centers as a septic root killer. Make a solution of copper sulfate in warm distilled water in a container twice the volume of the solution. Then carefully add baking soda until fizzing stops and all copper is in carbonate form. Run green slurry through coffee filter. Then just pour distilled water through filter to remove soluble salts from copper carbonate paste. Then air dry. Very easy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.