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Tempera Paints - Quality Counts

Any elementary teacher can tell you that Crayola crayons are the only crayons worth your money. The cheap crayons break easily and have more wax than pigment (color.)


As an art teacher, quality supplies are even more important. Have you ever been coloring something with a marker and it runs out of ink? Frustrating isn’t it? Well that is what it is like to use “washable paints” in the art room.


I recently tested 2 brands Crayola Washable tempera and Creatology washable tempera (from Michaels.)

Both were so transparent that it was like looking through stained glass. So unless that is the look you are going for, don’t buy “washable” tempera paint.


So what should you buy?

My top quality brand is still Crayola Premier Tempera Paints. Unfortunately, the smallest size bottle is 16oz. This is great for classrooms or but not so great for home, unless you are manic painters and can use up the bottle within a year.


After about a year, this paint becomes much more dense and harder to paint with. You can add water to it and thin it out but let’s be honest most of us would probably just toss it.


So a better choice is a brand that comes in 2oz bottles. I tested 3 different paints for quality and they all came out pretty close to the same.


In order from most expensive at about $10 for 6 bottles is Crayola tempera paint, be sure the package does NOT say washable. This paint is getting harder to find.

Blick premium tempera paint is about $9.50 for 6 bottles.

And the least expensive by at least a dollar, Blick Student Tempera.

While the Crayola brand mixes to make a green more like what you would see in a rainbow, both Blick paints have a bottle of green included in the set. Crayola’s 6th bottle is brown, which is also nice. If you feel you need a true brown, you can get it in a 4oz bottle.

The white in the Crayola paint also covers a bit better than either Blick white paints. Interesting enough the least expensive, student white paint from Blick is a bit better than the Premium.

One more nice thing about the Blick paints is they come with a flip top lid so that you never have to take it off and thus loose it.


Bottom line: for my classes I am going to stick with the Crayola Premier white tempera paint and save a few bucks by buying the Blick Student Tempera in the other colors.


You can see I also want to test the Crayola Artista II washable tempera paint but it also only comes in the larger size bottles and I really wanted to test paints that could be used at home.



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