The 5 Best Tempera Paints in 2021

Used for over 2,000 years, tempera paint, sometimes called egg tempera paint, was used in the ancient world primarily for religious purposes. One of the most famous tempera paintings was found in Egypt from the first century BCE of the Fayum Mummy Portrait. Today, tempera paints are very different from their ancient counterparts and are no longer commonly made from egg and artists pigments; rather, they are water-based and are primarily used in schools since they are economical and non-toxic. Anyone new to this medium might wonder which tempera paint set is the best to buy, which we will cover, along with the best tempera paints based on whether they contain allergens, quality, and price. We will also discuss which tempera paints are best for kids, washable tempera paint, and powdered tempera paint.

How to Choose the Best Tempera Paint

Today, the tempera paint found in stores is water-based, and while it’s possible to find pre-mixed egg tempera, it’s expensive but well worth the cost for serious artists. Professional tempera paint is usually made by the artists themselves who know how to make their egg tempera paint from scratch and generally will not use the water-based version.

Tempera Paint vs Acrylic Paint

Unlike acrylic, tempera doesn’t change color or become more transparent over time and is comparable to gouache in its matte finish. Acrylic is also permanent once dried, while tempera is available in washable form. In addition, tempera paint is thinner than acrylic due to its water base and doesn’t bond easily to every surface, similar to watercolor, and is not as lightfast. While it is possible to use tempera paint on canvas, the egg tempera paint will adhere better and last longer than water-based tempera paint. Overall, tempera paint has a more attractive finish, more vibrant colors that remain over time, and is less glossy than acrylic paint.

Allergens

Today, many children are allergic to common paint ingredients, like casein, eggs, latex, or nuts. It’s essential to know if any potentially harmful ingredients in tempera paint can cause an allergic reaction in a child. While almost all water-based tempera paints are non-toxic, there may be organic ingredients like peanuts, soy, or other allergens.

Quality

Like most other art supplies, specific brands are well known for their quality paints, and tempera is no different. It’s important to choose the best quality tempera paint you can afford if painting for professional use. If using this medium for kids, know that most tempera paints will flake once dried if layered too thickly.

Price

Price is always a factor, especially if purchasing large amounts of tempera paint for a kids’ event like face painting or fingerpainting. Some brands sell tempera in gallon jugs for a bargain, and it’s better to buy a whole tempera paint set initially, then replace the colors as needed.

Our Product Recommendations

Best Tempera Paint Overall – Sennelier Egg Tempera Paint

Sennelier Egg Tempera Set, Assorted Colors

Selection Criteria

  • Price – ~$55.65
    • Our score: 9/10
  • Contains allergens – Yes
    • Our score: 8/10
  • Quality – Professional
    • Our score: 10/10

About Sennelier Egg Tempera Paint

Professionals looking for egg tempera paint will appreciate this five-piece set of Sennelier egg tempera paint. Each color is premixed with egg and can be used immediately. The colors are more vibrant than water-based tempera paints and will work beautifully on canvas and last for centuries under the proper care. The paints go on smoothly, are lightfast, and dry true to color, even when dry.

Pros

  • Does not flake
  • Professional quality
  • Excellent for layering without flaking

Cons

  • Contain toxic pigments as a color base
  • Contains egg

Best Tempera Paint for Kids – Crayola Tempera Paints

Crayola Artista II Washable Liquid Tempera Paint

Selection Criteria

  • Price – ~$49.12 (Was $55.89)
    • Our score: 8/10
  • Contains Allergens – No
    • Our score: 7/10
  • Quality – Student
    • Our score: 9/10

About Crayola Tempera Paints

Tempera can arguably be the best paint for kids. It’s non-toxic, washable, easy to use, and generally very economical, and this Crayola tempera paint for kids was rated one of the best tempera paints on Amazon. The 12 piece tempera paint set is perfect for painting pumpkins, face painting, and finger painting with bold and creamy pigments. This set even includes black tempera paint and is also a good tempera paint for windows.

Pros

  • Can be used on a variety of surfaces
  • Non-toxic
  • Includes black tempera paint

Cons

  • Flakes once dried

Best Washable Tempera Paint – Colorations Simply Washable Tempera Paints

Colorations Simply Washable Tempera Paints

Selection Criteria

  • Price – ~$20.03 (Was $21.06)
    • Our score: 8/10
  • Contains Allergens – No
    • Our score: 10/10
  • Quality – Student
    • Our score: 9/10

About Colorations Simply Washable Tempera Paints

For parents or school teachers looking for tempera washable paint for walls, clothes, or tables, this six-bottle set of Colorations tempera paint was a top choice. This thick and vibrant paint works well for even consistent applications, and one of the best features is that it’s made of ingredients that are entirely allergen-free. It is also one of the best washable paints for toddlers and will even wash right out of a carpet, and there’s no need to prewash clothes to get stains out, unlike other brands. Most Colorations colors are also available in one-gallon jugs.

Pros

  • Includes white tempera paint
  • Washable on most surfaces
  • Buttery application
  • Guaranteed not to flake once dried

Cons

  • May stain some surfaces

Best Tempera Paint for Wood – Shuttle Art Tempera Paint Sticks

Tempera Paint Sticks by Shuttle Art

Selection Criteria

  • Price – ~$23.99
    • Our score: 8/10
  • Contains Allergens – Yes
    • Our score: 9/10
  • Quality – Student
    • Our score: 9/10

About Shuttle Art Tempera Paint Sticks

Another tempera paint for kids, these tempera paint sticks are ideal for painting wood and include 30 metallic, neon, and standard colors that have the consistency of pastel but dry matte. These tempera paint sticks work like lipstick in that they twist to release more pigment and do not require water to be added before applying to most surfaces. In addition, unlike liquid paints, there is no clean-up needed. Each color is rich and vibrant, and this set includes a large variety of colors.

Pros

  • Dries in less than two minutes
  • Easy to use and apply
  • Also a good tempera paint for windows

Cons

  • Metallics and lighter colors tend to require more layers

Best Tempera Paint Powder – Colorations Powdered Tempera Paint

Colorations Powder Tempera Paint

Selection Criteria

  • Price – ~$45
    • Our score: 8/10
  • Contains Allergens – No
    • Our score: 10/10
  • Quality – Student
    • Our score: 9/10

About the Colorations Powdered Tempera Paint

Teachers and parents looking for a less messy alternative to liquid tempera paint will appreciate the versatility of this 10 piece set of tempera paint powder. It is different from liquid tempera paint in that water is added directly to the powder to achieve the desired thickness, making it useful in a water cannon for stamping or even pottery painting. Although not washable, it can be mixed so that it adheres to many different surfaces.

Pros

  • Does not contain allergens
  • Can be used on windows and other solid surfaces
  • Easy to set up and use

Cons

  • Isn’t washable

Conclusion

This wraps up our guide to the best tempera paint. Not only have we discussed how you could identify different types of tempera, but we’ve also shared our recommendations in various contexts.

We’ve discussed how you can choose the best tempera paint and why allergen information, quality, and price are the key deciding factors. We’ve outlined them thoroughly to help you understand them easily.

Lastly, we have combined our recommendations in different situations. So whether it is a tempera paint for kids or an egg tempera paint, or the best tempera paint powder, we’ve discussed it all.

Thanks for reading, we hope our suggestion helps you choose the best product for your needs.

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