Tips and Ideas 


Painting Tips

SNOW-If you want the effect of snow on your painting, take an old tooth brush, dip it in paint and run your fingers through the brush and watch it splatter on your paper just like snow falling.


CRAYON RESIST-You can use crayons to draw detail images and then use watercolors for the rest. The wax from the crayons will not allow the watercolors to cover the details you drew in crayon.

MASKING TAPE-If there is an area you want to leave blank but don't want to worry about painting over it, cover it with Masking tape. Remove it when you are finished and you will have a blank area to work with.

PAINT EFFECTS-Add detergent to prevent cracking. Condensed milk for a glossy look. Alum as a preservation. Sawdust, salt, crushed eggshells, or coffee grounds to give texture.

Homemade Paints 

Finger paints


2 cups cold water
1/2 cup cornstarch
3 Tbsp. sugar
food coloring

Add to a saucepan the cornstarch, water, sugar & over low heat cook, constantly stirring mixture, until it is well blended. Get 4 plastic containers & pour equal amounts of blended mixture into each container. Use a different food coloring color for each bowl mixture & mix.

Free Art Lessons
-Your local KPBS TV station offers several art programs where you can learn how to paint. Check your local listings and video tape them so you can watch them when you have time. There are also art college TV programs available.

-Search the internet for art sites that provide free art lessons.

Art Tricks

TIP OF THE BRUSH-When you need to do small dots on your painting and your brush is not small enough, use the tip of the brush instead.

CORNSTARCH AND CHALK-When you are using color chalk for a drawing you can dip the tip of the chalk in cornstarch then draw on you paper as usual. The cornstarch will work as a fixative and when it dries you don't have to worry about smudges or protecting it with a fixative.

Art Supplies Care Tips 

CLEANING BRUSHES- When you are finished painting wash your brush with warm water and liquid soap and dry your brushes gently while you shape them back into form.

USING BRUSHES PROPERLY-Kids tend to use brushes as pencils and pushing them against their artwork. For a brush to last for many years, you need to use the tip of the brush, almost sideways, when you do your brush strokes.

SAVE PAINT-Try to use only the amount of paint you need, but if you have some extra Acrylic or Oil paint left, you can use the clear plastic wrapper you use for food to keep the air off and it will keep for days.

CRAYONS-If your kids seem to always break their crayons (especially the preschool fat crayons), wrap them with mailing tape to prevent them from breaking.

ERASERS-You can take a small piece of sandpaper to clean dirty erasers.

ARTWORK-Empty paper towel rolls can be used to keep artwork papers that you don't want to get wrinkled.

Cleaning Up Tips

PALLETS-Now you can buy paper pallets that you can throw away once you are finished with your painting and not worry about cleaning up. But you can also use wax paper, foil or an old plastic lid from a food container.

MARKERS MARKS-Use rubbing alcohol to wipe off markers from your hands or marks on objects. 


1) One way to remove crayon off of your walls is to use toothpaste. Rub softly as to not remove the paint.

2) Try using baking soda paste to remove crayons from walls.

3) To remove crayon from oil based painted walls, spray a little WD-40 on a rag and wipe away. The crayon will come right off!

INK MARKS ON SKIN-If you find your child has written on their skin with ball point pen, wiping with a baby wipe will get the ink off easily.

WIPING OFF PAINT-Add to tempera paint soap flakes to make it easier to wash out.

Save On Art Supplies

USE HAIR SPRAY-If you've made a drawing with pastels, chalk or charcoal pencils and you don't want it to smudge but don't have a fixative, use Hair Spray. It works just as well and it's cheaper.


FREE PAPER-Call your local printing shops and ask how they discard their left over paper from rolls and see if they want to help a kid in need of art paper instead.

COUPONS-Michaels and Joanne's usually have a weekly coupon up to 40% off on items that are not on sale. Aaron Brothers, Value Craft and other stores usually have a sale day where they have things up to 50% off. Check those newspapers.

USE LEFT OVERS-Fabric scraps, magazine pages, catalogs, printed paper no longer needed, old greeting cards are useful for collages. Egg cartons, Styro Foam and plastic containers are useful to hold paint. For 3D art you can use paper bags, left over tubes from paper towels, buttons, yarn, sea shells and even dried flowers and leaves. You can even use wood to paint on, like the Mona Lisa!

PAPER-MACHE-Newspaper is easily available and these projects turn out great. But if you don't want to use Wallpaper Glue or any type of glue, Flour and Water works just as well. Just mix the water and flour to the consistancy that you would if you were making Hot Cakes. Then just apply over newspaper and build your piece of artwork.


Making Crayons I

Broken crayon pieces
Muffin tin
candy mold or cupcake pan

Place crayon pieces into muffin tin, candy mold or cupcake pan. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Leave in oven long enough to melt. Turn off the oven and leave in the oven or take out very carefully so as not to mix colors if you are making multi-colored crayons. Wax will be very hot.

Making Crayons II

Broken crayon pieces
Mason jars
Muffin tin, candy mold or cupcake pan

Using a Mason jar, melt the crayon pieces in a large pot of boiling water. Then pour them into the molds and let them cool. They just pop out. Tip: Keep your colors together (i.e. browns w/brown, purples w/purples, etc.)

Starch Finger Paint

Liquid starch (in plastic squeeze bottles)
Liquid Dish Soap
Dry Tempera Paint in salt shakers

Use the detergent sparingly & the liquid starch generously. Colors are shaken into the liquid mixture & spread around to suit the child's taste.

Face Paints

1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp water
1/2 tsp cold cream
2 drops food coloring

Mix ingredients well then use different food coloring colors to make different colors.

Powdered Milk Paint Medium

1/2 Cup powdered nonfat milk 1/2 Cup Water
Powdered Paint Pigments Mix

Stir until milk is dissolved. Combine only as much solution with powdered pigments as you intend to use in one sitting. Makes about 3/4 cup. For a large group, combine any amount of powdered milk with an equal amount of water. This paint dries quickly to a glossy, opaque finish. Work smooth with a brush. Use water to thin paint and to clean your brushes. Store this medium in a tightly capped jar in the refrigerator.


1 Tbsp. White vinegar
1-1/2 Tbsp. Baking soda
1 Tbsp. Cornstarch
1/2 tsp. Glycerin
Food coloring

Mix vinegar & baking soda in small bowl & allow foaming. After foaming
stops, add cornstarch and glycerin. Stir well (up to a couple of minutes). Portion the mixture into a paint palette, muffin tin or similar container $ add food coloring. Make the colors dark since drying & use will lighten them. Allow watercolors to dry in a warm place for several hours or overnight. Makes 1 set of Watercolors.

Egg Yolk Paint

1 Egg yolk
1/4 tsp. Water
Food coloring

Mix egg yolk with water & lots of food coloring. Use a paintbrush to paint on baked sugar cookies. Return cookies to oven until egg has solidified.

Shiny Paint

White glue
Tempera paint(liquid)
Dish detergent

Pour glue into small cups. Mix your choice of liquid tempera paint in each. Use to paint on wood, paper, or cardboard as you would with any paint. Paint will dry shiny as if glazed. Variations: Paint pine cones,
driftwood, rocks or glass. Try painting with sponge brushes for a very smooth finish. To help paint adhere to shiny, smooth surfaces, add a few drops of dish detergent.

Salt Paint

1/8 Cup liquid Starch
1/8 Cup Water
1 Tbsp. Tempera Paint

Mix together and apply to paper with a brush. Keep stirring mixture. Paint will crystallize as it dries.

Puffy Paint

Tempera paint

Mix equal parts of flour, salt & water in a bowl. Add a small amount of tempera paint to the mixture and pour into a small plastic squeeze
bottle. Repeat the procedure making as many colors as you wish. Squeeze onto heavy paper or cardboard to make designs. Mixture will harden into puffy shapes.

Sand Paint

Tempera paint (powder)

Mix dry tempera paint with sand. Let kids spread glue on picture & sprinkle on sand.

Cornstarch Paint

1 Tbsp. Cold water
2 Tbsp. Cornstarch
1 Cup Boiling water
Food coloring

Combine cold water & corn starch. Stir until smooth. Add boiling water & stir again, until smooth. Add food coloring until paint is desired color. Let cool. Store this paint in a covered container & if it dries, add water to thin it.

Clay Project Without A Kiln  

You did a clay project but you don't have a kiln? Dry your clay artwork 10-14 days, then give it a quote of Elmers White Glue. Apply generously and watch out for little bubbles that sometimes form, just go over them with a brush. Don't forget to come back and do the bottom of the piece too. Let it dry and you now have your artwork protected.

No Bake Clay

1 Cup Salt
1 Cup Flour
Food coloring, optional
1/2 Cup Water

Stir salt and flour together in a medium bowl. Add food coloring to water to achieve desired color. Pour water into salt and flour mixture and knead until mixture is doughy, adding more flour or water as necessary. Store in airtight container. Objects made with this clay will air dry in about 48 hours. Hint: As a variation, omit food coloring and let children paint their dried creations with tempera paint.

Flour Dough

Kids can play with homemade dough by mixing 1 cup of flour, ½ cup of salt and ½ cup of water. Mix until it has a nice consistency. If it’s too sticky ad more flour. You can use food dye to make different colors. You can store in the refrigerator for two weeks. Or you can bake their artwork in low temperature and when cool give it a coat of white glue to protect it.

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