Upcycled Art Supplies

I take great pride in the fact that my “art of upcycling” classes don’t require the Arts Center to spend much, if any, money on supplies. Consumables – like glue sticks or Sharpies – must be purchased every so often, but all the big stuff is found or donated, and more and more supplies are made by me.

20160717_200549-001For example: check out the upcycled paint palettes I made using a variety of plastic caps and lids.

Most kids have a hard time eye-balling how much paint they need for a task and end up squirting half a bottle of acrylic paint onto their palette, when all they need is enough to put eyes on a snowman. I’m hoping these lids encourage self-restraint, or at least help keep their colors clean a little longer than usual.

If they’re rinsed after each use, they could last quite a while. Even if they’re not taken care of, they’ll make it through a week-long camp and can be tossed when it’s over, without anyone spending a dime to purchase or replace them (except the cost of the dot of hot glue beneath each small lid).

20160717_200654-001And what do you think of these supply organizers?

My last round of donations included some extremely cute boot cuffs, which I promptly wrapped around some not-so-cute plastic canisters (the one on the left was a take-out container and on the right is a plastic coffee can).

At least half of my work as a creative reuse instructor involves helping folks get past any issues they have with something being “used” and “second hand.” Dressing up my classroom and the way I present my supplies is an important step in that process.

Last week, a student saw my box of denim scraps and said, “I could never use clothes someone else has worn for a craft I’m making. Gross.” I couldn’t help but smile as I pointed out the likelihood that every piece of clothing she owns has probably been worn by someone else – at least tried on by one or more people or bought, worn and returned before she bought it.

Ah, blowing, er, educating young minds – there’s nothing like it!