I do things similarly to Janet. Teaching K-12..you learn ways to adapt,
what to adopt and works best for your students.
At elementary levels I have cupcake tins and I am the only one that puts
paint in trays. I mix my paint up from Crayola tempera powder pints and put
the paint in Rubbermaid ketchup- type bottles. I line the empty tins up
around a large work bench type table, and with two in hand go around quite
quickly and efficiently squirting the amounts I want them to have. I put a
large bucket with about eight inches of water on the floor near the sink,
and at clean up time they simply put their brushes in the bucket. Much
easier for me to clean them without having crowds fighting for the sinks.
I've had them paint bisqueware figures and tiles with Chromacryl paints I
have in handy half-gallon jugs with pumps. I use styrofoam plates, and I
pump out the colors they ask for as they line up. Emphasizing the use of
water to get the greatest and easiest cover power of the paint. I have a
couple scrub brushes, and the kids easily enough clean those plates off at
the end of a period.
My high school paint students use the Chromacryls as well...and the
styrofoam plate bit works quite well. Of course...hee heee, they clean
their own brushes!
I have quit buying watercolor pans and cakes. I have found that from about
4th grade on, I can introduce watercoloring and various mixed media paint
projects by having students tape freezer wrap paper shiny side up on their
desks. You need to have pulled them out from the roll ahead of time, and
cut them in half or the size you want to prevent waste of the paper. They
tape them down with masking tape near their work.
I then use the Rubbermaid bottles again, and put the primary colors at the
very top of their freezer wrap palette. I'm premix the paints to be less
watery when used this way, and the kids learn to drag a bit of color down
into the paper and mix colors. Very easy to take a damp paper towel or
sponge and clean them. If you have another class coming in that can use
them...just leave them taped on the desks.
Using the temperas in such a way to imitate watercolors, you find is much
more cost effective in the long run...and you don't have the hassle of being
on top of the kids so they do not make a major mess out of the watercolor
sets and color cakes.