Always be on the lookout for items you can
use in your art center. One day my mom
offered her beloved Tupperware to anyone who
could possibly use it. I saw these little plates that
held matching cups and immediately thought,
“Art!” Mom was delighted that I could use her
Tupperware—until she heard I was going to use
it for paint! I explained that her plates would be
well loved and well used in this unconventional
manner. And indeed they have been! They are
perfect paint palettes!
creative and authentic art 47
Plastic microwave food containers, takeout food
containers, or any other containers that are shal-
low and wide enough to accommodate the rollers
work well to hold the paint for rolling. (Discount
School Supply sells a four-paint roller tray that lasts
for years.) Be sure to use a container that has a lip
so the roller doesn’t push out the paint. If you like,
you can also use squirt bottles to squirt the paint
directly onto the paper, canvas, or tray.
Tupperware plates used as paint palettes
Rollers and Rubber Brayers
Painting with rollers is a favorite with twos and
threes. Rollers are fun to use, and there are so many
choices available these days! Purchase as many dif-
ferent types as possible. If you rinse them after each
use and store them carefully, they can last quite a
Rollers come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and
textures. Foam rollers are typical in early child-
hood classrooms, and they are inexpensive, but
my personal favorites are small trim rollers (from
the hardware store) and rubber brayers. Each type
of roller produces a different textured effect, and
you can feel the difference as you paint with them.
Sample a variety of rollers to see what you like, and
observe the children carefully to see where their in-
To spray paint with twos and threes, use small spray
bottles from your local dollar store, hardware store,
or garden store. Any small-handled spray bottle
Spray painting works best with water and liq-
uid color. To make this type of spray paint, fill the
bottle with water to one inch from the top. Next,
add the desired amount of liquid watercolor paint
or food coloring. Put the lid on and shake the bot-
tle lightly. Alternatively, you could use water and a
few tablespoons of tempera paint. With this type of
paint, close the lid tightly and shake the bottle hard
to blend the mixture thoroughly. This type of spray
paint produces artwork that is more textured.
Spray painting is a big hit with young children!
Following are a few tips for spray painting with
• You can use spray paint indoors at the easel or
on very large pieces of cardboard.
• Because it can be quite messy, most teachers
prefer to do spray painting projects outdoors.
Clip large paper (butcher paper or large easel
paper) to a fence with clothespins, and then
spray the paint. When the children are not
using the spray bottles, turn the handles back-
ward and hang them on the fence.
• Keep children a safe distance (at least three
feet) apart, and make sure children don’t spray
one another, especially in the face. This is
particularly a concern during warmer weather,
when they may be tempted to use the paint to