To the Bone

A quick starter guide on how to turn your beloved pets or findings into an art medium.

Step one

Get some bones from either the butcher or by scavenging through the woods. If you are looking for a creative way to commemorate your deceased pet, you might find some solitude in this method.

Step two

Boil the bones into a pot of water for 4 to 5 hours, check upon them regularly to make sure everything is going well. Add more water when it starts to evaporate.


Step three

Drain the pot and take the bones to a well ventilated area.

Step four

Pluck the remaining pieces of flesh from the bones and scrape the gelatine off of the surface with your nail or a sharp object. Use gloves and a mask when you feel squeamish.

Step five

Place the plucked bones into another pot or bucket and fill it with a mixture of 2/10 soap and 8/10 water. This can be any household soap, however, household soap may take multiple rounds of rinsing and repeating than stronger degreasing soaps.

Step six

Scrub the cleaned bones underneath a warm stream while softly brushing it with a toothbrush, this will get rid of the remaining gelatine.

Step seven

Place the bones into a bucket consisting of 1/10 hydrogen peroxide and 9/10 water. When using a lower percentage of hydrogen peroxide (like the 3% variant) the bones might have to soak for a few days. Check upon your bones regularly to see if they’re white enough and to prevent corrosion.

Step eight

Take the bone marrow rich bones and soak them in a solution of food coloring and water, the consistency depends on how much food coloring you have, don’t go thinner than a 50/50 mixture as this might not be strong enough to stain them, this also depends on the type of food coloring you use. More food coloring equals a stronger mixture which will stain better and quicker. I personally prefer Jo-La which you can get at any asian oriental supermarket.


Step nine

After soaking the bones for 2 to 3 days in food coloring, take them out and rinse the outside. Wear gloves as food coloring also stains the skin.

Step ten

Take a multitool and drill the bone marrow out of the bone. Make sure you do this on a smooth and flexible surface like a sheet of plastic, that way you can easily collect the bone marrow into jars or bowls, dividing the colors. Bone marrow can be both paste and powder, they are both workable and can be combined so save as much as you can.

Step eleven

Place your bone marrow into a mortar and crush it until the dyed bone marrow has become powder.

Step twelve

Take your bone marrow and set it aside. Take a few cups of flour and water, depending on how much you want to make, and heat it up till a minimum of 40 and a maximum of 70 degrees. Boiling water will cook the flour and make it clumpy, this can happen quickly and is the main reason why we add the bone marrow at the end.

Step thirteen

Mix the water and flour little by little using a mortar. When you’re happy with the consistency of your paste, add the dyed bone marrow. Add more food coloring if you run out of bone marrow and need more opacity.


Step fourteen

Bottle the homemade bone marrow paint into containers, close the lid to prevent it from drying out.

Step fifteen

Stir before use and enjoy your bone marrow paint.

And you’re done!

Now you know how to transform bone into paint.

Happy painting!