Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Leftover paint, anyone?


Does anyone get sick of complying with your kids' demands of more and more paint... to end up throwing most of it away? It really, really bugs me. I have no problem with my kids using loads of art supplies but I hate wasting it.

To try to ease my pain of wastage I keep a leftover paint canvas which is Cakey's artwork in progress. This canvas makes an appearance when I am faced with a painting session about to abruptly end and a ton of unused paint. I never supply any new paint for this canvas. Sometimes she doesn't want to paint on the canvas and sometimes it sparks her interest and the painting session lasts longer.

Here is the progression of our current leftover paint canvas, it has gone through four painting sessions:


The canvas has become a beautiful layered painting. Unfortunately Cakey has started to lose interest in this canvas so I think it might be time to start a new one.


My other technique to deal with leftover paint is to simply seal the tubs with cling wrap and hope to use them the following day. More often than not, this simply delays the cleaning process!!

How do you avoid being left with unused paint? 
Do you have any handy tips for using up leftover paint?

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33 comments:

  1. Oh that looks so lovely! And what a great way to use left over paint. Fantastic!

    Thank you for sharing on Kids Get Crafty! Great to see you there!

    Maggy & Alissa

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  2. Such a great idea! I hate washing leftover paint down the drain, I'm so doing this next time we paint!

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    1. I am glad you liked it. I am looking forward to starting a canvas for my youngest too.

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  3. try providing an unusual surface such as an upside down apple tray that you see in the fruit markets, maybe paper with a patchwork design outline on it, or a tree with leaves on it. I don't usually suggest any pre- conceived designs but as a quick time filler or as something that could lead to another project it might be worth it and act as a stimulus. E.g the tree leaves could vary according to the paint colour available and the season. In fact thinking about it it doesn't need a design you could just suggest an ongoing project, e.g maybe we could look at the trees in our garden and then let's paint a tree trunk, let's paint some paper with the left over paint and then cut it out into l leaf shapes - that would make it more open ended and with Cakey able to express her ideas ( with Boo's help of course)

    Your idea of an ongoing canvas is inspirational

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    1. They are great suggestions, thanks so much.

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  4. another idea is to put paint in to squeeze bottles (if you are brave) and make a squirty picture. Great fun but stand clear.

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    1. Ha ha I would have to be very, very brave. Cakey with a squeezy bottle she would love it and maybe I could lock myself inside the house and watch from the window!!! :)

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  5. Let Little M go wild! She will use every last drop of paint. she scoops it out and mixes is it up in her hands. It's really quite a sensory experience. ;) Love your idea! I think I just might try it.

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    1. Aren't kids all so different?? We always have leftover paint. One minute they are going strong and the next the painting session is all over.

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  6. My little Aiden tends to use every drop of paint I give him; although I do tend to give him small amounts at a time for fear of waste. I love the layering on your canvas!

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    1. Thanks you, the canvas has turned out beautifully and is now hanging on the wall.

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  7. I usually let the kids explore different methods of printing, painting,etc. onto different types of paper using left over paint. Then I would cut them into smaller pieces. The kids will have a stack of color explosive paper for collage projects or card making.

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    1. Great idea, it is very useful to have different patterns/colours for collage.

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  8. Julie P England16 March 2012 at 04:18

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  9. Great idea! I'm definitely keeping this in mind. :-)

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  10. julie P England20 March 2012 at 00:18

    Sometimes it is better to give them a smaller amount or use powder paint if you know your child would like to explore colour mixing. The best way to do this is by using an empty egg carton and put a little paint in each dip. This does lessen the wastage. With powder paint you need egg box or small palette, powder paint (7 colours, 2 reds, 2 blues, 2 yellows and white - these are known as hot and cold colours to enable a vast number of different
    colours to be made), small sponge to wipe excess water off brush and of course water and brushes. There needs to be a little training but they do get the hang of it quite quickly if given time. They need to dip brush in water, wet palette, choose colour and mix with the water. Experts say that you can now dip into another colour to pick up powder; personal experience has shown that the colours eventually get grubby!! More water and paint can be added until the children are satisfied. This can use less paint, but remember they still need opportunities to paint with large amounts of paint with large pieces of paper or card.

    The canvas is beautiful - sell it for Cakey - buy more paint!!

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    1. Thanks for all your great suggestions. I will definitely try powder paint.

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  11. Beautiful canvases! I have just started giving them a small amount of paint and refill as needed because they never use it all and I don't have any good ideas about re-using already poured paint. Although, now I do!

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    1. Ah great!! And the best thing is you get a lovely painted canvas at the end. :)

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  12. What a great idea! I'm with you on the hating to waste!

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  13. i use small tupperwares to pour the paint in. that way, i can just put the lid on it to store any leftovers. unless we're out of brown... if we're out of brown, i just mix it all together to make "preschool brown." (not sure where i heard that at)

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    1. That is such a good idea. Why didn't I think of that?

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  14. I have two activies for left over paint: rain dancer http://nirvanahomeschooling.blogspot.com/2011/02/rain-dancer.html and freezing art http://www.nirvanahomeschooling.blogspot.com/2012/01/freezing-art.html Both incorporate science which is an added bonus.

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  15. I've done the same thing with my Art Club kids- We made a couple of abstracts this year.(You can check them out on my blog...) Also, you might like our Heart Paintings that made use of leftover paint from our Impressionistic Farmer's Market paintings. Oh, and our Beethoven Bust!! I loved how that turned out using leftover paint! (With 150 kids painting, I'm always finding ways to use up paint instead of throwing it away!!) I also save paint in plastic film containers- though these days, those are getting hard to come by...) :D

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    1. I will come over and check it out.

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  16. I paint paper with leftover to use as collage paper at a later date!

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  17. In my classroom we had containers with lids. My absolute favorite are baby food jars. The six ounce jars are tall enough to let the brush stand up, but I prefer to use the smaller 2.5 or 4 oz. jars. If the pain dries up a bit, it can be reconstituted with a little bit if water, assuming you are using water based paint. I love the leftover paint canvas idea.

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    1. Baby food jars would be awesome for this.... when my sister moves her bub onto solids, I am going to put my hands up for the jars. Thanks for the tip.

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  18. It is also a good idea to dab your paintbrush on the lid of the can so you can easily see the colour without having to open the can.

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    1. Great idea, that is the sort of thing I would forget to do.

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