> 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.
Susan....I purchased about nine ketchup type plastic bottles with the squint
tops. I buy the Crayola powdered tempera's...mix water as I go along, then
fill these ketchup bottles. I teach K-12...and allow my youngest of classes
to experience painting at some level...but at about 4th grade on up, I
slowly convert to a thinner application of tempera. It seems we graduate
from tempera after middle school....go into watercolor, then acrylics or
oils. I use watercolor to a limited degree....but more and more I
What I have found is that the tempera's used like watercolors are wonderful
and much cheaper than the cakes of watercolor that replace the others in the
I will buy a large roll of freezer wrap paper, tear off a sheet, and cut in
half for two people. I have them mask tape the corners down to their table,
and I go around and squint the basic primaries at the top of their sheet.
They use the freezer wrap like a large palette. Use water and if you want
you can introduce the use of watercolor brushes.
Teach them to take pigment from the bottom leading edges of each puddle or
small mound of color with a rinsed and clean brush, then they can mix washes
of color to apply. You can do it thicker if you want, but by 4th grade they
have had those experiences already.
My favorite projects are to have them do mixed-media in that they use washes
of color to wash OVER drawings done in light colored pencil, then gone over
with Sharpie permanent markers. This helps bridge that intimidation that
many students have when they make their leap from drawing to painting.
Eventually, they will be free from needing to do the Sharpie thing.
I do exercises with this method where they learn about analogous color
relationships, about cool and warm contrasts with complementaries, etc;
Tempera gives you the choice to paint it thicker or as a wash. The color
yet remains bright and vibrant even though applied in a wash consistency
similar to watercolors. For me, one pint of powdered tempera goes a heck of
a long way, and much cheaper than buying replacement cakes.
I would imagine you could apply these same methods to your liquid tempera
forms. Think of the paint as a thick form of watercolor that can yet be
thinned more on freezer wrap paper and that should get you going. Good