Eco Friendly Acrylic Paint Alternatives 

Eco Friendly Acrylic Paint Alternatives

Are you an art enthusiast who loves to express your creativity through painting? If so, you’re likely familiar with acrylic paints and their vibrant colors, easy-to-use nature, and versatility. 

However, have you ever considered the environmental impact of acrylic paints? 

These traditional paints contain harmful chemicals and non-biodegradable components that can harm our planet. 

But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. In this blog post, I’ll explore some eco-friendly alternatives to acrylic paints. Get ready to learn about some fantastic and sustainable options for your next art project.

Eco Friendly Acrylic Paint Alternatives

The best eco-friendly acrylic paint alternatives are those that are made with natural ingredients and sustainable practices. Some of the top options include watercolor paints, gouache, and natural earth pigments. Other options are poster paint, starch, cellulose backdrop, bioshield, and gum water among others. 

Is Acrylic Paint Eco friendly? 

No, acrylic paints are not eco-friendly due to several reasons. They are made with plastic polymers, which are non-biodegradable and can harm the environment. 

Acrylic paints also contain harmful plastic polymers, chemicals like formaldehyde, and toxic heavy metals, which have negative impacts on human health and the environment. 

The production process of acrylic paints is also not sustainable, and the disposal of unused or leftover paint can contribute to pollution. 

Traditional Acrylic Paints: What Makes Them Harmful? 

Traditional acrylic paints are harmful due to their composition, health hazards, and environmental impact.

These paints are made with acrylic polymer emulsion, which is non-biodegradable and can harm the environment.

Making plastic needs a lot of fuel from fossils. This creates gases that cause the climate to change.

The manufacturing process can also release harmful chemicals and by-products into the environment. This contributes to air and water pollution.

Additionally, these products contain chemicals such as formaldehyde and heavy metals. 

These chemicals can make you sick. They can cause skin irritation, breathing problems, and even cancer.

When it comes to the environment, traditional acrylic paints can have negative impacts in several ways.

For instance, when making acrylic paints, Volatile Organic Compounds can get into the air. These chemicals also pollute the air.

Improper disposal of leftover paint can be bad for the environment. The chemicals in paint do not break down and can pollute rivers, lakes, and soil.

Eco Friendly Acrylic Paints: How They’re Different 

Eco-friendly acrylic paints are different from traditional acrylic paints in several ways. 

The composition of eco-friendly acrylic paints includes natural ingredients, such as plant-based binders, and omits harmful chemicals, such as formaldehyde and heavy metals.

Compared to traditional acrylic paints, eco-friendly acrylic paints are a safer and more sustainable option. 

They are made with renewable resources and do not contain harmful chemicals that can harm the environment and human health. 

Additionally, they are produced using sustainable practices, such as using recycled materials and minimizing waste.

One of the biggest benefits of using eco-friendly acrylic paints is their reduced environmental impact. 

They do not release harmful VOCs into the air during production and are biodegradable. This means they break down naturally over time. 

Additionally, eco-friendly acrylic paints often come in recyclable or biodegradable packaging.

Interesting read: Why did acrylic tank manufacturing go out of business?

Eco Friendly Acrylic Paints

Are Regular Acrylics Eco-Friendly?

When it comes to the question of whether regular acrylic paints are eco-friendly, the answer is not straightforward. 

Some traditional acrylic paints are made with harmful chemicals and non-biodegradable components. Some acrylic paints are also made with sustainable practices and natural ingredients. 

In the table below, I’ll explore the eco-friendliness of different types of acrylic paints. 

Acrylic paint brandEco friendly?
Liquitex BasicsNo
Golden Acrylic Sustainable production
Liquitex heavy body acrylic paintNo
Winsor & Newton Professional AcrylicsSustainable packaging
Blick Studio paintSustainable
Blick Artists’ paintSustainable
Utrecht Artists’ Acrylic PaintSustainable
M. Graham & Co.: M. Graham & Co.Yes
Old Holland New Masters Acrylic PaintNo
Chroma Atelier Interactive Acrylic paintSustainable
Hippie Crafter Acrylic Paint No
Holbein AcrylicsNo
Matisse AcrylicsYes
Daler-Rowney System 3No
Reeves Acrylic PaintNo
Arteza Acrylic PaintNo
Grumbacher Academy AcrylicsNo
Amsterdam Expert Acrylic PaintYes
Lascaux Artist Acrylic PaintNo
Pebeo Extra-Fine Artist AcrylicsNo
Sennelier Acrylic PaintNo
Acrylic Paint Set by Crafts 4 ALLNo
Castle Art SuppliesNo
Tri-Art Artist AcrylicsSustainable

Characteristics of Eco-Friendly Paints

Eco-friendly paints are a great choice if you are looking to create a healthier home environment. These paints are made from natural ingredients, making them safer for both human health and the environment. 

In addition to being less toxic than regular paints, they are also more durable and provide better coverage. Here are some of the characteristics of eco-friendly paints:

Low VOC content

VOCs are organic compounds that are released into the air from everyday products like paint and cleaning supplies. Regular paints often contain high levels of VOCs. 

This is harmful to both human health and the environment. Eco-friendly paints, on the other hand, are formulated with low levels of volatile organic chemicals. 

This makes them safer to breathe in and eliminates their contribution to air pollution.

Biodegradable paint

Eco-friendly paints are also biodegradable, meaning they can be broken down by natural processes. This makes them easier to dispose of and reduces their impact on the environment. 

In addition, some eco-friendly paints are even made with water-soluble formulas that can be easily washed away with soap and water.


Eco-friendly paints are made with natural, sustainable ingredients such as plant-based oils and minerals. 

These ingredients make the paint less toxic and also have fewer environmental impacts throughout the production process. 

By using eco-friendly paints, you can help reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a healthier planet.

Improved coverage

Eco-friendly paints are also more effective than regular paints, providing better coverage and long-lasting results. 

These paints are formulated to adhere better to surfaces, which means fewer coats are needed for full coverage. 

This not only saves time and money but also reduces the amount of paint used overall.

18 Best Eco Friendly Alternatives to Acrylic Paint

Egg Tempera Paint

Egg Tempera Paint is one of the oldest types of paint mediums out there, dating all the way back to the early 1800s. What makes it so special is its composition. 

It is made by mixing egg yolk, water, and pigment. It creates a unique texture that gives paintings a matte finish and allows for precise details to be captured in each brushstroke.

When it comes to application, use a small brush to get the most out of this medium.

When using this paint, try layering, while thinly building it up, or adding a touch of white paint to create highlights. 

You can even try mixing in other mineral pigments to create an endless array of colors. 

If you want to try making your own Egg Tempera Paint, all you need is some egg yolks, water, and powdered pigments. 

If you don’t have the patience or ingredients to make it yourself, you can always find it at your local art supply store.

As for removing tempera paint from clothing, promptly scrape off excess paint, rinse the stained area with cold water, pre-treate with dish soap or stain remover, soak, and launder.

Interesting read: Acrylic vs tempera paint

Pros Cons
Non toxic and environment friendlyNon-toxic and environment friendly
Quick to dryLimited availability
Easy to useLimited blending
Easy to wash
Egg Tempera Paint

Poster paint

If you’re looking for versatile and user-friendly paint, poster paint is a great option. Its water-based composition makes it easy to clean. 

Its vibrant colors can be applied to a variety of surfaces with ease. When applying poster paint, try different brush strokes and techniques to create unique effects. 

You can find poster paint at most art supply stores, or even make your own at home with a few key ingredients.

The ingredients include water, acrylic paint, cornstarch, and a few drops of liquid dish soap.

Read the battle of poster colour vs acrylic colour.

VersatileLimited color range
Quick dryingNot very durable
AffordableLimited texture
Easy to clean upNot very vibrant


Did you know that you can use starch as an alternative to acrylic paint? Not only is it environmentally friendly, but also saves you money.

You can use starch for a variety of applications. From creating beautiful art pieces to enhancing decorative projects.

One technique to try is using a stencil to create a pattern or design. To make your own starch paint combine cornstarch, water, and food coloring or acrylic paint. 

You can also find starch paint in most craft stores.

AffordableLimited color range
Eco friendlyNot durable
Easy to applyLimited availability
BreathableLimited texture


As eco-consciousness continues to spread, artists and crafters are looking for more environmentally friendly options. Enter cellulose paint, a fantastic alternative to traditional acrylics. 

You can use cellulose paint both indoors and outdoors. It’s also an excellent choice for a variety of creative projects.

Cellulose paint is created from sustainable plant-based materials such as cotton cellulose and natural pigments.

To make cellulose paint, you’ll need cellulose powder, a thickening agent of your choice, water or solvent, and any additional pigments or dyes.

First, combine the cellulose powder and thickening agent together in a container until they form a paste. 

Add in your water or solvent to create a smooth consistency. Stir in your pigments or dyes and mix until you achieve the desired hue.

Pros Cons
Quick dryingHighly flammable
High gloss finishLimited color range
Non toxicLimited availability
Easy to apply
Excellent adhesion

Gum Water

Have you ever considered using gum water as an alternative to acrylic paint? If not, you might be missing out on a versatile and cost-effective option.

Gum water, also known as gum Arabic, is a natural substance that is used to create watercolor-like effects. 

Its unique composition allows you to layer colors, create textures, and achieve a variety of different tones and shades. 

If you’re looking to experiment with a new medium, gum water is definitely worth trying. And the best part? You can easily make yours, using ingredients that are already in your kitchen. 

With a few simple techniques and tips, you can create stunning works of art with this remarkable substance.

TransparentLimited surface compatibility
Non toxicLimited availability
Easy to control
Gum Water Paint


If you are looking to switch up your painting routine and try something new, BioShield might be the perfect alternative to acrylic paint. 

Not only is it natural and eco-friendly, but it also offers a unique texture and finish.

To achieve the best results, try layering the paint or experimenting with different application techniques. 

If you like to get creative, making your own BioShield paint at home can be a fun and rewarding project.

Do this by mixing natural ingredients like beeswax, linseed oil, and pigment of your choice. 

This DIY paint can then be used as wall paint, furniture paint, or even sculpture paint.

Low VOC contentSlow drying time
Non-yellowingNot good for furniture
Custom color optionsLong-lasting
Non yellowing
Easy to use


Backdrops are a great alternative to traditional acrylic paints. They provide a unique twist to your artwork. 

Made from a variety of materials, from fabric to paper, backdrops offer a versatile canvas for your creativity.

Whether you’re working with watercolors, charcoal, or ink, backdrops are the perfect foundation for your compositions. 

With the right application, your artwork will come to life in ways you never thought possible.

From adding texture to enhancing color, backdrops can be used in a variety of techniques to create stunning results. 

For those who love to DIY, making your own backdrop is easy and cost-effective.

To do this, you’ll need some basic supplies, like fabric or paint, and a few simple tools. If you prefer to buy them, they are readily available at art stores and online retailers.

Pros Cons
Easy to applyCostly
DurableLimited surface compatibility
Low odor
Excellent coverage
Large color selection
Stain resistant

The Real Milk Paint Co

If you want to substitute acrylic with a more sustainable option, look no further than The Real Milk Paint Co. Their unique composition is made from five all-natural ingredients. 

This makes it a safe and eco-friendly alternative to traditional paints.

The creamy texture of milk paint provides a smooth finish that is perfect for rustic and vintage looks, as well as modern designs. 

The application of milk paint is simple and forgiving, allowing for easy touch-ups and layering. Techniques such as distressing and color mixing can also be easily achieved. 

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even make your own milk paint with their DIY kits.

You can also purchase it online or at various retailers, and see for yourself why milk paint enthusiasts rave about its unique qualities.

VersatileDries quickly
Easy to applyNeeds multiple coats
Non-toxicNot suitable for concrete surfaces
Custom color options
Suitable for both porous and nonporous surfaces
Eco friendly and pet friendly

ECOS Paint

ECOS Paint is a good eco-friendly acrylic paint alternative. Their composition includes natural ingredients like plant oils and clay, resulting in a low-toxicity and low-emission paint. 

Not only is it better for the environment, but also has an application process and coverage comparable to acrylic paint. 

You can also experiment with various useful techniques and tips to achieve your desired look. Feeling adventurous? Try making your own paint with ECOS Paint’s DIY kit. 

Do this by mixing your choice of pigments and the ECOS Paint base to make a unique color. And if you’re looking to purchase, ECOS Paint can easily be found online or at select retailers.

ECOS Paint is easy to use on interior walls, furniture, crafts, and more. The paint can easily be applied with a brush or roller and it will dry quickly within an hour.

Low VOCsCostly
VersatileNeeds priming
Eco friendly
Has many finishes
Excellent adhesion
Non toxic

Natural Earth Paint

If you’re on the hunt for an alternative to acrylic paint that is eco-friendly and safe to use, natural earth paint may be the way to go. 

Made from natural ingredients like clay, minerals, and plant extracts, these paints offer a more sustainable and gentle approach to creating art. 

The application process may take a bit of getting used to, but once you find the right technique and consistency, you’ll be impressed with the results. 

If you’re feeling adventurous, why not make your own? It’s as simple as mixing the natural ingredients together and adding water.

If you’re not ready to dive into DIY just yet, there are plenty of places to purchase natural earth paint online or even at your local art supply store.

Non-biodegradableStains clothes
VersatileNon biodegradable
High quality
Different mediums
Natural Earth Paint

Earth Pigments

Earth pigments are what you need if you’re looking for eco-friendly alternatives to acrylic paint. 

These pigments are made from natural materials like soil and clay and can be used to create a wide range of colors with a beautiful, organic feel. 

When it comes to application, earth pigments can be mixed with water, oil, or other mediums to create paints, inks, and dyes.

Purchase your pigments, and check out a local art supply store or an online retailer. 

To make your own earth pigment, you’ll need a few simple ingredients like soil, clay, and rock powder. Combine your desired colors of the soil and clay in a bowl. 

Add water to the mixture until it becomes the consistency of pancake batter. Mix in some powdered rocks or minerals for texture and color enhancement then allow it to dry.

Can be mixed to create custom colorsCostly
High quality pigmentsRequire preparation
Non-toxicTexture variations
Great value


If you’re looking for an eco-friendly alternative to acrylic paint, Earthesy is what you need. 

This natural paint is made from organic materials and contains no harsh chemicals or synthetic resin binder. Applying Earthesy is a pleasure too. 

It has a smooth and creamy consistency that blends beautifully, glides on evenly, and dries to a matte finish. 

As for usage techniques, it’s versatile and can be used in a similar way to acrylics, with the added benefit of being water-soluble for easy clean-up. 

You can even make your own Earthesy paint by mixing natural pigments with water, flour, salt, and honey.

There are a few online retailers that stock it, and it’s becoming increasingly popular in specialty stores.

Non toxicLimited range of colors
Low odor
Child friendly

M. Graham & Co.

Try out the M. Graham & Co. as an alternative. This brand offers unique and high-quality paints, made with a composition that allows for rich and vibrant colors. 

The application is smooth and easy to work with, making it a favorite among artists. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try making your own paints. 

Do this by mixing pigments, oils, and other ingredients with M. Graham’s mediums.

For an even larger range of colors and effects, consider using the vibrant liquid watercolors from M. Graham. 

You can also find M. Graham & Co. at your local art supply store or online.

Solvent-freeLong drying time
Unique formulationCostly
VersatileHard to clean 
Non-toxicLimited color range
Non toxic

Colourcraft’s Eco Acrylic Paint

Colourcraft’s Eco Acrylic Paint is another eco-friendly option for acrylic paint. It is made up of natural ingredients such as plant and mineral extracts.

Interestingly, it is vegan-friendly. Not only does it offer an environmentally conscious option, but it also performs well as traditional acrylic paints.

When it comes to application, the paint goes on smoothly and dries quickly to a matte finish. Simply use the same techniques and tips that you would with traditional acrylic paints. 

If you’re feeling extra DIY, you can use the paint to make your own eco-conscious masterpieces. 

Don’t know where to find it? Colourcraft’s website offers a variety of colors and sizes to choose from, and they even offer starter kits for those who want to give it a try. 

Non toxicCostly
Eco friendlyNot very durable
Easy to clean
Good coverage

Best Biodegradable Paint alternatives to acrylic

As people become more environmentally conscious, the demand for eco-friendly paint alternatives to acrylics has increased. 

With the advancement of technology, there are now many biodegradable paint options that are sustainable, non-toxic, and safe for the environment. 

This is great news for artists who want to create beautiful pieces without causing harm to the planet. In this section, I will explore the best eco-friendly paint for artists. 

Watercolor (best eco-friendly paint for crafts)

Watercolor paints are made from natural pigments, gum Arabic or other natural binders, and water. You can apply them to paper or other porous surfaces using a brush and water.

The techniques and tips for using watercolor paints include wet-on-wet, wet-on-dry, and dry-brush techniques.

If you want to make your own watercolor paints, use pigments, gum Arabic or other binders, and distilled water. 

You can customize the paints to create unique colors and effects. This is a great way to experiment with different mixtures and create unique colors.

When painting with watercolors, use the right brush for the job. A soft sable brush works well for thin washes of color.

Eco-friendly watercolor paints can be purchased at many art supply stores or online retailers.

Interesting read: Difference between watercolor and acrylic.

Non toxicMay fade
Easy to cleanDifficult to control
VersatileNot lightfast
Easy to use


Gouache might just be the most versatile of all painting mediums. With its opaque and highly pigmented formula, gouache can be used to achieve a range of different effects and techniques. 

From smooth, airy washes to bold, graphic brushstrokes, gouache has the ability to adapt to any style or creative vision, provided you use specific gouache brushes.

One of the best things about working with gouache is that it can be applied on a variety of surfaces, including paper, board, and canvas. 

For those looking to try their hand at making their own paint, gouache can be made at home with a few simple ingredients. 

Whether you’re an experienced artist or just starting out, gouache is a wonderful medium to explore and experiment with. You can find gouache at most art supply stores or online.

Read also: What is the difference between acrylic paint and gouache paint?

Easy to blendChalky finish
Dries quicklyRequires specific paper
Odor-freeCan be painted on limited surfaces
Easy to use

Oil Paints

Oil paints have been a favorite of artists for centuries. They are prized for their rich colors and unique properties. 

Made from a combination of pigments and linseed oil, oil paints are thick, have a buttery consistency, and have a slow drying time. This allows for greater flexibility and control.

Oil paints are applied to a surface using a brush, palette knife, or other tool. They can be layered, blended, or thinned with solvents like mineral spirits or turpentine to create a range of effects.

There are several techniques and tips for using oil paints, including alla prima, glazing, and impasto techniques. 

If you want to make your own oil paint, mix natural pigments, like ground-up rocks or minerals, linseed oil, and other natural binders. Luckily, you can customize these paints to create unique colors and effects.

Oil paints can be purchased at many art supply stores or online retailers.

DurableLonger drying time
VibrantDifficult to clean
Less VOCs
Recyclable bottles

DIY Paint 

DIY paint is a great option if you want to create your own non-toxic and eco-friendly paints.

Here is a simple recipe for making DIY paint:


  • Natural pigment (such as ground-up rocks, minerals, or plants)
  • Natural binder (such as egg yolk, gum Arabic, or wheat flour)
  • Water


Mix the natural pigment with a small amount of water to create a paste.

1. In a separate container, mix the binder with water until it becomes a thin, milky consistency.

2. Add the pigment paste to the binder mixture, stirring until you achieve the desired color and consistency.

3. Adjust the thickness of the paint by adding more water or pigment as needed.

You can modify and customize this to create a range of colors and effects. 

Adding more pigment will create a more vibrant and opaque color. Adding more binders will create a more translucent effect.

Short shelf lifeCost-effective
Cost effectiveInconsistent quality
CustomizableTakes time to prepare

Do These Alternatives Work Equally Well?

The effectiveness of paint alternatives varies depending on the specific product and its intended use. Some alternatives may work well or even better, while others may not be as effective.

For example, watercolor paints can offer a range of effects and are a popular choice for artists and crafters, but they may not provide the same level of coverage or opacity as other types of paints. 

Gouache paints offer more opaque coverage but may have a chalky finish and can be prone to cracking when dry.

Test different paint alternatives to determine their effectiveness for your specific needs. 

Some eco-friendly paint alternatives, like milk paint or natural pigments, may require special techniques or preparation to achieve the desired results.

Interesting read: Is acrylic toxic to dogs?

What Paint is Environmentally Friendly?

There are several types of paint that are considered environmentally friendly. Here are a few options:

  • Watercolor paint
  • Gouache paint
  • Milk paint
  • Natural earth paint.
  • Bio-based paint

More Ways to Make Acrylic Paint Eco-friendly

To make acrylic painting more eco-friendly, there are several steps that artists can take. 

1. Using eco-friendly additives that can improve the paint’s performance while reducing its environmental impact. 

2. Disposing of acrylic paint properly. Allow it to dry out completely before disposing it in the trash or taking it to a hazardous waste facility. 

3. Choosing eco-friendly brands can also reduce the environmental impact of acrylic paint. Some companies offer non-toxic and sustainable options. 

4. Using reusable palettes and brushes, as well as water-based cleaning products, can also help reduce waste and toxic chemical use. 


Is acrylic paint bad for the environment?

Yes, acrylic paint can be bad for the environment. Acrylic paints release volatile organic compounds into the air during and after application. This contributes to air pollution and has negative health effects on humans. However, they have environmental advantages over oil paints. 

Is acrylic biodegradable?

No, acrylic is not biodegradable. Acrylic is a synthetic material made from petroleum-based chemicals and other non-biodegradable materials. Therefore, it does not decompose naturally like organic substances such as wood or paper.

Is acrylic sustainable

Yes, acrylic is a sustainable material. Although it is made of non-biodegradable materials, it can be recycled and repurposed into new products.

Is acrylic paint plastic

Yes, acrylic paint is basically liquid plastic. Acrylic paint is a fast-drying, water-based medium made from pigment suspended in an acrylic polymer emulsion. It can be used on canvas, wood, metal, and other surfaces and dries to a durable and long-lasting finish that won’t crack or peel over time.

How to dispose of acrylic paint properly

The best ways to dispose acrylic paint include:
Determine if the paint is still usable. If the acrylic paint is still usable, try to use it up in future projects or give it away to someone who can use it.
Allow it to dry completely in its container or on a piece of cardboard or paper.
Check with your local waste management facility to see if they accept dried acrylic paint for disposal or if there are specific guidelines to follow.
Dispose of it in the trash. If your local facility allows it, you can dispose of dried acrylic paint in the trash.


There are numerous options available if you want to reduce environmental impact when painting. 

There are paints made with natural, sustainable ingredients, products designed for low-VOC emissions, as well as water and plant-based formulas that break down quickly in the environment. 

By choosing an eco-friendly alternative, we can all do our part to help protect the planet while enjoying the art that we create.


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