a thrifty thought for thursday: painting with kids

Once upon a time, someone gave us some paint.  It was a set of those little plastic pots, the ones that come all linked together with flip-down lids so you can re-use the paint.  My kids, unfortunately, felt honor-bound to use all the paint in one crafty session.  Even if they hadn’t been so determined, their paint-use skills would have dictated that future projects would involve only slightly-varying shades of gray, since they dip and re-dip their paint brushes with no thought to color preservation.

While this paint did not last us long, it sure was a big hit.  I took a trip to Michael’s to see if I could find something more preschool-friendly.  No luck.  No luck at JoAnne, either.  Rather than simply repeating our past folly and going through paint like it’s going out of style, I decided to get creative with wooden paint-mixing sticks, milk caps, and some hot glue.  Here’s the result:

Paint Tray

My 2.5 year old’s painting station post-craft time

I then purchased a bulk pack of tempera paint (much cheaper!), which I dole in small measure into my makeshift paint trays.  After the kids are done making a mess, I rinse ‘em off and store them for next time.  My sister-in-law, hearing about my project, decided that her disposable contact lens containers would be even better paint wells, so she used those—brilliant!  (If only I still bothered to wear contacts!)  At any rate, our milk lids are colorful and they do the job, allowing us to paint multiple times and still maintain color integrity.

On a side note, using Daddy’s old t-shirts for smocks has worked pretty well for us as long as we pull up our sleeves and make sure the extra section of neck-hole hangs to the back.  (Now if only I could get my daughter to stop painting her face…)

What creative ways have you saved money on kid supplies or adapted to your kids’ needs?


4 thoughts on “a thrifty thought for thursday: painting with kids

  1. I love that you use their Dads old shirts as smocks! I can’t find Fiona’s painting apron (maybe in the dress-up box?), so we’ll be using my old shirts from now on! Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Oh man you are much more creative with making supplies than I am. I have yet to even make homemade play dough and just end up using the toy-brand!

    • I’ll have you know that I TRIED homemade playdough and thought it was thoroughly annoying. I had to add more flour each time I used it because it kept getting goopier, and after three uses it started to smell funny–and that was only about 10 days after I made it. Now I have the store-bought kind. It’s lasted several months so far.

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