Is tempera paint washable

Tempera colors: test & recommendations (05/21)

Our approach

Welcome to our big tempera color test 2021. Here we present you all of the tempera colors we have tested. We have compiled detailed background information for you and also added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We want to make the purchase decision easier for you and help you find the right tempera colors for you.

You can also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer you interesting test videos. You will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy tempera paints.

the essentials in brief

  • Tempera paints consist of color pigments, binders and a water-oil emulsion.
  • Tempera paints are mostly made in-house. In most cases, egg and casein tempera are used.
    Due to the short shelf life, complicated manufacture and difficulties in the
  • Application, tempera paints are not suitable for beginners. Artists also rarely use tempera paints.

Tempera paint test: the ranking

1st place: Nerchau tempera colors (20 ml) 12 colors

The Nerchau 1048891 tempera colors are offered in a set of 12 colors with 20 ml each. The set offers you a good choice of colors with the following colors: opaque white, real yellow, orange, English red, vermilion, magenta, violet, ultramarine blue, colin blue, emerald green, light ocher, ivory black.

The good color quality and luminosity are particularly valued by buyers. The tempera paints have good coverage and can be mixed perfectly. Pictures in watercolor style are also possible.

The colors can be used on different painting surfaces. Whether watercolor paper, drawing board or chipboard. You do not lose opacity in the process. The colors are non-toxic and are good for school and young children.

2nd place: Herlitz tempera paints 10 tubes 16ml each

The Herlitz 8543058 tempera paints are offered in a set of 10 tubes with 16 ml each. The set offers a solid choice of colors and is very suitable for art class at school.

The colors can be diluted with water and mixed well without losing color intensity. Covering and painting over is no problem.

3rd place: Koh-I-Noor tempera paints, set of 10 19ml tubes

The Koh-I-Noor tempera colors come in a set of 10 colors with 19 ml each. The set offers a good color selection with the following colors: titanium white, lemon yellow, madder lacquer, cobalt blue, ultramarine blue, light green, dark green, burnt sienna, ivory black.

The colors are very suitable for both professional painters and art class. The tempera paints are thick in their composition and can be easily diluted with water.

Customers particularly appreciate the high coverage and ease of use. After drying, the colors are strong and lightfast.

Buying Guide: Questions to Consider Before Buying Tempera Paints

What are tempera paints?

Tempera paints are composed of color pigments that are bound with a binding agent from a water-oil emulsion. In addition, the aqueous part of the emulsion can also contain glue.

Who are tempera paints suitable for?

Real tempera paints are rarely used by amateur painters because the manufacturing process and handling requires experience.

Due to their short shelf life, tempera paints are expensive and only last with a high proportion of preservatives. For this reason, artists make their own colors. However, this process requires experience and is difficult to assess, especially for beginners.

Dealing with tempera paints is also not that easy and requires experience and knowledge. Tempera paints must be applied by lightly painting in several layers.

What do tempera paints cost?

There is a wide price range between the different suppliers of tempera inks.

When choosing, it should be noted that tempera colors are available in different sizes. For example, they are sold in 1 liter bottles or in small tubes of 16 ml each.

Weight Price range
100 ml 1,32€ – 10,00€

For a set of 12 colors each 16 ml you pay an average of 15 €. You can also buy tempera paints individually in different sizes.

Where can I buy tempera paints?

You can find tempera paints in department stores, in art supplies and in various online shops.

We have made a list for you of the online shops that sell most of the tempera paints:


All tempera colors that we present on this page have a link to at least one of these shops. Once you have found tempera colors that appeal to you, you can strike immediately.

What are the alternatives to tempera paints?

The term tempera is often mistakenly used to refer to gouche colors. Tempera and gouche are two different types of paint. They differ in composition and surface properties.

The binder for gouche paints is based on gum arabic or other glue binders, pigments and water. In contrast to tempera, they are always water-soluble and dry matt.

To find out more about gouche paints, we have selected a suitable video for you with the most important properties and an example of how to paint with gouache paints.

Gouche inks are not only used by artists, but also in the hobby and school sector because they can be mixed well and dry quickly. They can be easily thinned and are washable. This makes them particularly suitable for children. Stains can be easily removed.

Type ingredients surface
Gouche Aqueous part:
Gum arabic and / or other resin solutions
Water soluble, matt, opaque
tempera Aqueous content: gum arabic, egg, casein solution, oily content: drying vegetable oils and / or resin solutions Water-repellent, matt to glossy, transparent to opaque

Other alternatives to tempera are acrylic and watercolor paints.

Decision: What types of tempera paints are there and which one is right for you?

Tempera colors are differentiated according to the type of aqueous emulsion content. For example, they are divided into casein, egg, starch, and wax tempera.

The most important types are still egg and casein tempera. They have water-soluble properties and thus bring some advantages in painting.

Casein tempera

The binder for color pigments in casein tempera is based on casein, a milk protein. To this end, water and an oily component are added. This can consist of linseed, poppy seed, sunflower or walnut oil.

Casein tempera is easy to work with and has a high covering power.

Egg tempera

Egg tempera consists of equal proportions of water, egg yolk and linseed oil. Depending on the desired opacity, color pigments are added. Chamois chalk can be added to thicken it.

Egg tempera has a strong luminosity and an increasingly strong opacity with the addition of color pigments.

What distinguishes tempera paints and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

Tempera paints are extremely age-resistant. Cracks that occur in oil painting, for example, are not a problem.

Tempera paints dry relatively slowly. This has the advantage that they can still be edited for a long time.

  • Aging resistance
  • Dry slowly
  • Limited shelf life
  • Complicated manufacture
  • needs experience

Making tempera is not easy. It takes experience and knowledge to create the right mixing ratios.

Painting with tempera is also not easy and requires a lot of practice. The correct use of the brush and the opacity of the colors must be learned.

Purchase criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate tempera colors

In the following we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between the multitude of tempera colors.

The criteria that you can use to compare tempera colors include:

  • Color quality
  • Health hazard
  • Oil / water content
  • quantity

In the following paragraphs we explain what is important for the individual criteria.

Color quality

The color intensity and light resistance differ greatly in tempera colors. Tempera inks are offered in different quality levels and for different target groups.

Tempera paints for children tend to be of poorer quality and lightfastness. That means the colors don't shine so nicely and fade in the sun.

In comparison, tempera paints for professionals are more intense and lightfast. So if you want to have something of your work of art for longer, you should pay attention to the color quality.