Repurposing household objects for art making

Repurposing household objects for art making

Repurposing household objects for art making

I'll admit it, I'm a hopeless art supplies addict.  I covet all the pretty paints and brushes and palettes. However, sometimes, the best art supplies aren't art supplies at all, but other products designed for various household uses.  Here are some of the materials that I enjoy repurposing as art materials.

Ceramic Plates and tiles

Ceramic Plate Watercolour Mixing Palette My watercolour mixing palette, a ceramic plate from the thrift store

Watercolour paints mix best on ceramic/porcelain, hands down.  Affordable watercolour palettes are usually made of plastic or enameled metal, but watercolours bead up on them and they get stained.  Large ceramic watercolour palettes are beautiful, but very expensive.

So what's a thrifty watercolour painter who wants to save money for pretty paints to do?  Simple!  Use a regular old dinner plate.  Any plate will do, but a big sturdy platter will give you the best mixing area.  I got this nice big square plate I use as a studio palette at a thrift store.

Another option for cheap porcelain mixing surfaces is tiles.  I piped silicone caulk around the edge of a regular 6x6 white bathroom tile to use as a travel palette.  Larger tiles are available which would also work as big studio palettes

Magic Eraser  

Generally, it's a good idea to avoid scrubbing at your watercolour paintings.  However, occasionally an edge or detail needs to be lifted out.  This can sometimes be difficult with a paintbrush.

A magic eraser (usually used for scrubbing toilets, grout or other household grime) can lift out even the most stubborn phthalos with just a light touch.  Just cut a sliver of magic eraser, gently wet your paper and lightly dab/rub the magic eraser on the area you wish to lift out. Be careful, this does tend to rough up your paper and is best done selectively and towards the end of the painting process.

Wide-mouth Jars

Every painter needs a place for water.  Art supply stores will sell you beautiful water cups, dispensers and ceramic wells.  However, this is money I'd rather not spend, I repurposed some jars from my kitchen.  I have a large wide-mouth storage jar I use for rinsing my brushes, and a small Riviera Yogurt Cup I use for clean water (for wet in wet, etc)

Heat Gun/Blow Drier:

Watercolour gets muddy and overworked very quickly if you are impatient.  I am often tempted to work over layers that aren't completely dry.  Instead, I speed up my drying time so I can keep painting.  A blowdrier quickly dries your paint.  I use a heat gun (repurposed from a home renovation) which dries my paint even faster.

Heat guns get dangerously hot, however.  Stick to blowdriers if you have small children around.

Flour sack towels:

When painting, it's useful to have an absorbent towel to soak up extra paint and water from brushes.  I used to go through lots of paper towels.  Now, I use much nicer, reusable flour sack towels.  When my towel is too paint stained, I toss it in the laundry and it's good as new again!


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