I love painting with acrylics-- but painting with 36+ kids can be extremely stressful. After lots of trial and error, I have come upon a few hacks I would like to share with ya'll today!
Hack #1: Use condiment bottles to hold acrylic paints! You can label the bottles with the name of the color to make refilling a breeze. The mouth of the condiment bottle is large enough to pour from a half gallon and the little cap fits neat and clean on the end to prevent clogging. Kids are less likely to take too much paint because it doesn't pour as fast too! I bought my condiment bottles on Amazon here. You can also find them at the Dollar Tree!
Hack #2: Use foam plates and gallon zip loc bags to store paint in. If your students are like my students, they like to save paint colors. The foam plates won't absorb the water from the paint like a paper plate would and the zip loc keeps it all from drying out! I have kids keep these in their drawers with their assigned paintbrushes.
Hack #3: Speaking of paintbrushes....I have kids pick 2-3 general use paintbrushes to keep in their drawer for the entire painting unit. I repeatedly tell them that if they don't take care of their brushes, they are stuck with a gross, dried up brush for painting. Or they have they buy their own. They don't get replacement brushes! I can't tell you how much this has saved me from having to pick up brushes from the bottom of the sink! Make them take ownership of the supplies!
Hack #4: And for those brushes that do meet an ugly fate....THIS STUFF is great! The Winsor Newton Brush restorer can save a lot of brushes. Not all, but a lot! Simply use a small amount in a glass jar and leave brushes hair side down soaking in it overnight. In the morning, rinse! You may have some paint to peel off, but this has restored a lot of brushes for me. I NEVER TELL KIDS ABOUT THIS STUFF, simply for the fact that I don't want them relying on it and thinking they don't need to wash brushes. This stuff works on acrylic and oil painted brushes! The only downside of this stuff is the cost. $14.99 for a 16 oz bottle. Less expensive than new paintbrushes though!
Hack#5: This may seem obvious to some art teachers, but labeling your jugs of paint with the season & year will take the headache out of figuring out which bottle to use first! We tend to have leftover paint from the previous year. This helps kids know which jug to open next...I tell them to look for the oldest bottle and use that first! Saves money and paint.
I will be adding more painting hacks in the future! I hope you found some of this tips and tricks useful or that you will try them in your own classes! Let me know how it goes by leaving a comment below!
I am a 7th year high school art teacher in Rochester, MN. I have taught middle school for 2 years and high school for almost 5 years. I truly enjoy working with students on a daily basis. I also enjoy teaching real-world skills such as problem solving, using technology, and the power of teamwork and collaboration. My joy is sharing my passion for art with others!
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