Friday, February 21, 2014

Alternative paint brush

One of the things I like to stress with my students is that you don't need to go to the store and spend tons of money on brushes and paper.  Being at a title 1 school for so long, I knew that families sometimes struggled to just have necessities, much less art supplies for home.  One of my goals has always been to encourage creativity at home.  That is why I like to incorporate cardboard and other recycled items to my art class.  Even my own daughter loves to create work with recycled items.  She's always trying out ways to use this or that from our recycle bins.
A big bonus to using cardboard instead of paint brushes in the classroom, especially on large paper, is cleanup time.  It cuts out rinsing, soaking, soaping, drying all those brushes.  As soon as the kids are done, they throw the cardboard in the trash. We all know how messy painting can be, so cut down on clean up time is always a bonus especially when you don't have the time between classes!!

You can use tempera and or acrylic paint, both do well.

Select your paper and use pressed cardboard as your scraper.  You can cut up old cereal boxes and such for the cardboard.  I keep these cardboard pieces handy for paint "emergencies" in the art room.

I usually start with a little more paint with the first color.

Scrape till paint is completely absorbed into the paper.

After the first color, I start cutting down on the amount of paint I use, the dabs of paint get smaller and fewer.

Make sure your cardboard is held perpendicular to the paper.   Of course, you all know this, but reinforce those words with your kids, the other teachers and principles will appreciate you for that.  

The best part....paint and toss!!

You have a fun, colorful painting, you reused an item that was headed for the dump, your clean up time cut down, and you finished the first part of a fun art project.

This is the painted paper we used with the heart project, painted with the scrapping method, posted Fall of 2013.

Finished product from that paper.


  1. Awesome! The hearts are beautiful! I love the effect of the pulled paint! :)

  2. Thanks for sharing a fantastic idea! I often do Eric Carle inspired art with my primary students and I have piles of old cardboard boxes from supply orders because I am an admitted art supply hoarder!

    1. Hi Charmaine. Yes, this is a perfect Eric Carle painted paper technique. I can relate. I not only save things at school, but I also save things at home to bring to school. It annoys my husband a bit, the life of an art teacher...

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  4. Ha! Well, maybe if you are doing it all by yourself. That doesn't work with 30 kids, especially if they are all waiting to use one machine. Plus, they are expensive and too big to store in a small art room. I can assure you, these 5,6, and 7 year olds are completely entertained by the scraping. Thanks for stopping by!