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  • Writer's pictureLieke Hulshof

Cowdung paint

Soon it’s time to paint walls inside the house. Amazing! If something can make a difference quickly to a home, it is a splash of paint. I already start dreaming about creamy smooth walls. Paint is available at the local market, but only in the once that have many chemicals. It does not suit the intention of our project. I open the laptop and scroll through Google. Shortly after I start to look cross-eyed from all the options. Emulsion paint, latex paint, chalk paint… An explosion of paints and colours come my way. It seems to be the Colour Run. My eyes flash everywhere, first eager then somewhat dizzy. After thorough research I know all the theories about pigments, making flour paint and the do’s and don’ts of clay paint. It’s some work, but it’s possible. I look a little further.

Eco paint market

My bear feet rest on the bed. A fly zooms by. The afternoon sun shines into the room as I click further. There are different websites for eco paint. There is Annie Sloan chalk paint, for example. It looks beautiful and I love their colour range. They are more expensive as well, of course. There is a growing number of enterprises that make local, sustainable products in India: from naturally died cloths to ecological face masks to bamboo tooth brushes. Everything seems possible. Of course there are many cheaters as well. Also that is possible in India. That’s why you need to do research yourself to know if something is really that eco-friendly as they say it to be. According to our local horticulture officer, organic is the ‘most spoken yet the least understood concept of these times’.

Benefits of cowdung paint

I select a Khadi Prakritik Paint. It appears to be made of cowdung. The use of cowdung in Indian building tradition has been present for centuries. I am curious how that went at the time. That someone looked at a cowdung heap and thought: what if I smear this on my wall? And then he got the whole village following him, too. It is still used in rural areas to build and plaster walls and floors. It works antibacterial and isolating. Lately I heard of someone covering his room in Delhi with cowdung. He must have been desperate, I thought when I heard it. A room with cowdung becomes relatively cooler, which is nice in high temperatures around forty degrees. Now I myself consider to buy this paint. It is ecological and cheap. The Khadi Prakritik Paint supports the income of the local farmer as well, as they make some extra profit selling the waste material of their cows. Yes, it seems to be a good deal. Satisfied I put it in the shopping cart. It comes in white, but you can add pigments and sand for colour and texture. We can combine it with some flour paint on other walls. Experimenting. That’s where the best ideas originate from, even though they might look strange at first.

With love,



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