If you paint or have a child that likes to paint, you probably have gone through some paint bottles, right!? For years and years, I have just thrown these little bottles out when they seem to be empty. Now that we have an art studio, we have flown through the paint at crazy fast speeds. Its been so exciting to see others create, but I have thought on several occasions “I wonder what else we could do with these bottles to get more of our money out of them!?”
One day it hit me like a lightning bolt. You know when a shampoo bottle feels out? You add a little water to the bottle and shake it up? Oh, you’ve never done that? Well, you are missing out on a least one more shampoo. You’re welcome. #CheapskatesUnite!
Well, that is exactly what I did with these bottles. I started saving them until I had a big basket of “empty” paint bottles. Once I had a basket of different colors, I added a little water to each bottle and shook the bottle until whatever paint was on the side of the bottle was now mixed up in my water. My family uses essential oils, so we have these little pipettes for mixing oils up. I used them to suck up water/paint mixture from the bottle to drop on a wooden sign. The results were stunning and mesmerizing to watch a fluid art abstract piece come to life. The best part, this was a practically free project. As our studio has been asked to come into our local schools to complete art projects, we try to come up with amazing projects for not a lot of cost. This was the perfect project for just that. Watch how this project came to life through a group of 5th-grade students and then can follow the steps and create your own.
I prepped some pieces of wood (approx 4in x 6in) with white spray paint, so my watered down paint wouldn’t soak into the wood. This white base acted as a good backdrop to the newly created paint and kept the colors more vibrant.
In the classroom, I stapled on a pipe-cleaner and twisted it up to allow the students to fill it with beads. This added a nice fun texture and hanger to make our wood pieces into hangable signs. You don’t have to do this step to your pieces, but I am a sucker for several textures in my projects.
This project is all about the process. You can’t totally control what your piece will end up looking like, which takes some of the stress of it being “perfect” away. I encouraged the students I was working with to do small drops at a time. Some of the bottles may be more watered down than others. By starting with small drops you can watch as colors blend together on their own to make new colors.
Because this project can be a little messy, depending on your artist, you may want to prep your work area to manage the potential for a little spill/splatter. Because we were going into school classrooms, I purchased a bunch of cheap baking pans from the dollar store for students to use while painting.
Another technique is you can slightly tilt these signs or even stand them up to watch as the paint colors blend and mix to make a stunning abstract piece!
I don’t think you can ruin this project. Often students thought they were done and then they would add one more color. At this point, it is usually when it became more stunning. As the signs dried, some of the paint colors would shift and sort out a little. So fun!
We went back and sprayed a clear protectant on top of our signs, once they were dry. I use a gloss spray that adds a shine and helps them to look finished and more professional. We talked about how you could use this abstract painted piece as the backdrop to then paint a message on top. Maybe to say a phrase or inspirational word like “courage”.
The hardest part of this whole project is washing out the droppers, and it’s not even hard. It just takes a little time. Again, I’m a cheapskate. But you may be more up for discarding these since you can get 100 of them for about $7.
I love how no matter how many times you do this project, no two signs will ever be the same. Depending on the colors you use and how your paint swirls and mixes together…each piece will be unique. This was such an inexpensive project to implement for a 5th-grade class. They had a blast.
I have found this project can be addicting. I’ve done it several times now! It’s great for kids and adults! Try it! Start saving your bottles, so you too can try to get one more use out of your old paint bottles.
What do you think? Will you start saving your paint bottles? I think these finished pieces make a great gift for a family member. Christmas is coming. You can create some masterpieces with your kids for all those proud grandparents.