Saturday, April 20, 2013

Keep Your Sanity AND Your Painting Center!

How do you  keep your painting center going AND keep your sanity?
Try these tricks and you wont be washing brushes for a long time:

1.  Cover easel with a plastic table cloth.  The ones with felt on the back work best.  You can pick them up after each holiday for 50-75% off and change them out during the year.
Start with a plastic table cloth to cover your easel.
You can wash these tablecloths easily.  If they get covered with too much paint, you can just replace them.  I cut a small hole for the clips and use clear, wide tape around the holes to reinforce them.
This tablecloth has seen better days.  You can
see the new one ready to take its place.  :)
The intention was NOT to paint all over the
tablecloth!!!  :o/

Cut a plastic table cloth in half and use each
half to cover each side of your easel & trays.
Thanks to the comment at the bottom, I updated:
Students clip painting paper under the clip and
paint on the paper..... 

2.  The BEST idea ever:  Wet sponges placed on each paint cup keeps the paints from drying out and I don't have to wash brushes!  How many hours do you spend washing brushes?  Students slide the sponges off each morning and place them in a basket inside the easel.  Then, they are ready to paint!  I Love this idea!!!

I cut colored sponges to fit over the paints.  Cut a hole in
the center of each sponge.  At the end of the day, wet each
sponge and slide them over the brush handles to keep paints
from drying out and to keep you from washing brushes!  :)
 So here is the complete painting center:  I start out the first week of school with just one color of paint at the center, red.  We spend the first 11 weeks celebrating each color on Fridays.  Red, blue,  yellow, green, orange, purple, brown, pink, black, gray, and white.  And I use these cards in our calendar pockets  to remind the students about which color we are celebrating that Friday.  I also use these notes (in English and in Spanish) to let the parents know about which color we are celebrating on each Friday.  The students wear something that matches the color we are celebrating and we eat something healthy that matches the color day too, like strawberries, blueberries, we squeeze lemonade, etc.
Here is the painting center with plastic aprons on hooks next to
the crayon color wheel made from paint chips.
The drying rack has clothespins and is in front of the giant iPhone.  

Here is the sign on one side of the easel.
Can you tell that I like rainbow colors?
You can see the writing wall in the background where we
add our weekly writing pages to the individual student's clips.

 I have been teaching the children about primary and secondary colors.  As I introduce each color, we paint the animals in Bill Martin's Brown Bear, Brown Bear book.  Here is the puppet I use to read the book.  We file the pictures and then organize them in the order of the book before we bind them into individual books for the children.

This is the sign on the other side of one side of the easel.
 And this is how I organize the paint bottles.  More paint chips keep the paints in rainbow order.  :)

I store extra paint below with paint chip cards so we
 always know which color paint we are out of.

Palma :)


  1. Am I understanding this right? You place a paper on the tablecloth and then paint? Or, paint on the tablecloth? Sorry, I guess the pictures are confusing me. I love the tablecloth idea and I really want to use my painting center more.If you have time, write me back at Thanks:)

  2. Yes, you place a large piece of paper under the clip and paint on the paper. I can see why you thin the students might paint on the tablecloth because of that one messy photo! :oD They decided to do just that on a day I had a sub, so instead of just cleaning it, I replaced it. A little bit of paint is easy to clean off, but that was just too much! Thank you for pointing out the confusion. I hope this helps others who were confused too. And thank you for viewing our blog! :) We are having so much fun sharing ideas! :o)

  3. I bought these plates awhile back and now I know what to do with them. thanks.

  4. OMG, I do the SAME thing! I buy things that I just know I can find a use for. That's how I came up with my adding machine: I bought a flag holder @ The Dollar Store. it had two openings for flags. I let the kids drop counters through the 2 openings to add! The counters fall into a plastic bowl and gives them the sum! :) Come back tomorrow for more fun.