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<< Dear Art Teachers,
I have a practical problem that I'm sure someone out there can help me
with. I need to find a better way to dispense tempera paints.
I've been using egg cartons. For most standard painting projects, two
students team up and share one carton, four brushes, and a one pint yogurt
container of water. When serving a limited pallette I even use egg cartons
cut in half. Although clean up is just an easy toss and the price is
right, egg cartons seem to be getting rare. I'm having a hard time keeping
the supply up with the demand. I also find them messy for mixing, and
wasteful at clean up time.
I do art on the cart, so the dispensing method must be compact, and able to
fit in a kit-like box. Class sizes average 16, but I have one grades 1,2
class with 34 students. The students work at small classroom desks in
every conceivable arrangement, so again, small is best. There is virtually
no storage available in the individual classrooms.
We also have short periods for the most part, so I would like to avoid
spending extra time setting up and cleaning out individual little cups. I
prefer to refill as needed rather than put a lot of paint out in the
Of course, I'm also on a limited budget. Those fancy cups in the catalogs
that come with a brush hole and cover would be great, but too expensive for
Falls Village right now. Any inexpensive and easy options out there in
professional problem solving land? I look forward to hearing from you!
Lee H. Kellogg School
Falls Village, CT 06031
I use cheap generic paper plates. For my younger students, I put about a
tablespoon of each color on the plate (pre-mixed liquid tempera in a squeeze
bottle), usually the primary plus black and white, and they use the plate as
a palette to mix other colors and values. The colors get a little muddy.
Sometimes the students love to swirl the paints around into a gray mess. But,
what the hell, its all part of the exploration and soon enough they learn to
mix a little at a time. The plate gets tossed when we're done so the only
clean-up is the brush and water container (I know you're strapped for money,
but they have these great no-spill water containers in the catalogues now
that prove there is a God! For art on a cart, the plates are pretty effective
in that it is more difficult (never imposssible!) for the young kids to spill
a paper plate. I have also used waxed paper stapled to cardboard as the
palette, though this requires greater prep time, but it is cheaper. Several
sheets stapled to the board. The top piece thrown away when we are done.