How Were the First Paints Made?

Over 100,000 years ago, before the beginning of recorded history, people made paints from plants, from charcoal, from clay, from minerals in the soil, and from blood!

These colors, or pigments, were ground up and mixed with water, oil, or animal fat, then made into a paste. Primitive man then either rubbed this paste on rock surfaces or blew it on through a hollow bone.

You may wonder how we know about these prehistoric times. Modern man has discovered caves and tombs containing painted walls, and scientific testing has revealed these primitive “recipes” for paint.

About 8,000 years ago, the Egyptians began using paint in a wide variety of colors, using materials from the earth and plants which they imported from India. They learned how to bind their pigments together with beeswax and egg whites, leaving behind colorful paintings, carvings, and scrolls.