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Re: liquid tempera organization ?


From: Bunki Kramer (bkramer_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Sep 22 2001 - 08:38:50 PDT

from: Bunki Kramer (
Los Cerros Middle School
968 Blemer Road
Danville, CA 94526
art webpage -
>From: "Susan Holland" <>
> I need some advice on organizing the use of liquid tempera. I want my 5th
> grade students to be able to choose from all the colors and mix new colors--
> and I want to avoid both wasting lots of paint and having to squirt out paint
> in tiny increments. What do wise art teachers do?

I think upper elementary kids are old enough to use the gallon paint
containers with pumps. With a little pre-training from you, they can learn
how to 1/2 pump a squirt of paint the size of a nickel into the well of
their palette easily. If you show them how the palette looks and the cover
looks when you've put too much paint in the well (smashed all over the
palette and cover when fitted together) then they "get" it. They are also
trained how to get more paint if they need it.

If it were me, I'd also purchase a class set of white plastic palettes with
see-through plastic covers that fit tightly over the paint. Paint will save
a L-O-N-G time in these containers. (I found an old palette full of paint
last summer that had been filled 3 months prior and it was STILL full of
liquid!). My kids keep their palettes in their "cubby" overnight. If you
don't have a cubby system, they can put their names on a piece of tape stuck
underneath the palette and stack them.

You can also train them to wash out the palettes easily without getting
their hands wet and full of paint (which happens when you use sponges). I
have two old soup cans I've punched holes in (with a can opener) at the
bottom so it will drain and filled with 5 old brushes at each sink. Using
the old brush, I show them how they can put it under the water and
brush-scrub lightly and get it all clean without getting fingers wet.

I also have a piece of white paper taped to my desk for a quick wipe of the
good brush before they return them to me.

If you train them to use everything correctly, then you're not continuously
traveling the room filling containers or dealing with cracked cups or
washing off trays or re-filling before or after each class. If a student
can't follow the procedures, then they personally don't get to paint. Just
that simple.