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:
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?