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.
For 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).
And 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!