Acrylic Paint Organization - An Art Room Project

It started with a messy pile of paints....okay, a couple of messy bins of paints.  I could stand it no longer, Half my paints were dried up or half-empty, the others were just hard to get to.  So I had an idea while I was working with a circle punch on some necklaces.  I noticed the circle fit just right on top of my craft paint bottles, and I decided to use these little circles to organize my junk!  Here's my paint mess before.

Not bad, but not organized either. As you can see, I'm not real particular about paints, specifically using expensive paints, I just love color!  Most of my paints are made by Plaid, either FolkArt or Apple Barrel.  They have awesome colors and are inexpensive and easy for me to find locally.  Plus Plaid has a really awesome Pay for Publication program and if I happen to get a how-to piece published I can get some reimbursement for using their products.   I also like Amsterdam paints, they are a bit more pricey, but are still within range and are really creamy with vibrant colors.

Anyway, I have a bunch of colors, so I really had to dig to get anything out of my bin, and it was just hard to find the color I wanted.  Once upon a time I had my paints organized.  But when I got more paints things got a bit jumbled up.  My hubby found this awesome shelf at a yard sale, and I want to use it to store my paints.

My first step to organize this mess was to go through my paints and get out the half-empty bottles.  I have a bunch of these.  I put them in a separate bin so I can use them all up and get more.  

So when I had my paints organized all I could see about the paint was that the bottle told me.  Some bottles have a little circle on the top that shows the color of the paint, and I have also seen bottles turned around so you can see into the bottom of the bottle to see the color.  But that does not show me how the paint interacts with the canvas or with paper.

It's sort of like a guessing game.  I have even tried smearing a bit of paint on the top of the ones that don't have circles.  The circles show the color and it looks solid, I never really know what the paint will look like until I use it, and sometimes that is a bit too late.  Nothing another layer can't fix though, but unnecessary.  So I had some Canson Acrylic Paper and decided to use it because it has a canvas texture and is bright white like the canvases I use.  This paper is 136 lbs and is perfect to work on if you are used to a canvas but don't really need the canvas frame.  

I used my Martha Stewart Crafts 1" Circle Craft Punch and punched several circles out.  

I found I could get more punches per page if I turned the tool over and viewed the punch from the back so I could line it up more precisely.  

When I got done with a row I would trim the paper down with a pair of scissors so I could make the next row.

My paper was 5.5" by 8.5" and I got about 40 per page.  I think I used 3 1/2  pages, so I punched just about 140 circles out.  I wanted two circle for each color, one for the tube and one for the color chart I made.  Some of the bottles are almost empty so I did not bother with two circles for those, just one for the color chart.  I'll make more when I get new bottles of those colors.

I worked in groups of 6-12, painting two circles for each color of paint at a time.  

I wrote on the back of one of each set so I could keep track of the color as I put it into my journal.  

Since I knew I would have extra paint, I got some scrap pages out and some canvases.  I ended up with several finished pages by the time I was done.  

It took a bit of time to set all this up, but I have a little time to myself on Saturdays and like to set up bigger projects like this then.

As the pieces dried, before I put the tubes up, I glued down the circles to the coordinating bottles with my little hot glue gun.  It was fast and not messy at all, and I didn't have to wait for glue to dry.

So now my tubes look nice and neat when they are stacked up on this shelf.  And it looks like I have room for more, so more shopping maybe?  I think so!

I also have a small collection of tube paints (which I hope to expand soon), and I went ahead and made some circles for them too.  

A close-up.  I love the texture of the canvas paper, and it really gives me a good idea of how the paint looks on a textured surface.  

When I got done with all of my full tubes, I worked on the tubes that were almost empty.  These went faster since I only had to do one for each color of paint.  I also wrote the colors on the back of these to keep from getting them mixed up.

I set them up in a sort of color spectrum order (with neutrals in from of the spectrum) and put them in a bag until I could finish.

I arranged the colors on the page like I wanted, leaving spaces to add more colors if I need to, and glued them down with Aleene's Tacky glue.  Sometimes this glue warps my papers, but I glued these to 140 lb watercolor paper and had no problems.  

Some are blank because I love the color of paint, but didn't have enough in my tube to paint the circle.  These were the dried up ones, they were some of the first paints I bought when I got my own room a few years back. 

Well, I'm organized now and don't really know what to do with myself.  I have a bunch of paint that I need to use up, the last few drops of probably 45 different colors, so I'll have some fun and messy stuff to share soon.  I also did a video flip through of the above book, you can watch it here on my YouTube channel.  

I'll have a post up soon on my new pieces, which were just pages from my journal I had used my extra paint on.  They ended up looking lovely, and look very similar like a little accidental series.  


Art Studio Tour Video

Stop by my YouTube Channel and take a peek at my video, Art Studio Tour, for a quick peek around my studio.  I'm just gonna warn you, I'm from Alabama, and despite my best efforts I do sound quite "country" or Southern!  


New Handmade Stencils

I got super productive today and made some more handmade stencils.  I really like how these turned out.  My last few were a bit too small.  I've taken pictures of them on white copy paper with the extra pieces I will use as masks.  

Here are some stars.

Some messy chevrons.  Very messy!

A little bunting like design with flowers.  

A little half flower (looks like a whole one with the mask beside it).  I think this is my favorite.

A little fence.  

And a little piece of stone wall.

You can see more about how I make these in this blog post.  I made some last week to use with modeling paste for a challenge.


Art Nest - Progress

These were all pulled from Instagram, and were taken on my phone, so the photos are not very good.  But I thought you guys might like to see some of the progress I have made in my building.  If you didn't see the before, check it out here.  It's come a long way!  Above is my space with furniture moved in, before I brought all my supplies in to sort them.

Here's a shot of one of the peg boards I put up.  I don't have sheet rock, and the panels are very thin, so I didn't have anything to hang paintings on.  I went to Lowe's and bought two pegboards, had them trimmed down, and painted them white.  Now I can rotate my art out and hang some of my tools too.

My hoots!  They have moved since this picture.

My table with nothing on it.  I prefer it this way, lots of room to work.  It's junked up at the moment.

I actually moved this cool dress form out and put it back in my house.  It is awesome, but I really don't have the space for it in my tiny little nest.

Bring in the junk!  I brought a lot of supplies and tools and stuff in to sort.  Boy I sure did have a mess for about a week in there!!!

I had another pegboard and put it up here so I could hang this cool display case.  I'll probably store some finished pieces in here.  

Stuff on my desk.  I thought I would like having things on my desk, but I really don't.  Now I have to figure out where I will put all of this.

Storage containers dressed up a bit and labeled.  I really like how they turned out!

I like this little corner!  There's not much room in here, so getting a good picture is kinda tough.

This corner needs work!  I'll be taking out that little table to the far left, moving everything over, and putting in a roll cart to hold my kiln and the items on my desk.  I'm in the process of painting that dollhouse.  It was mine when I was a little girl, but it got very rusted and scratched up and needed to be repainted.  Not sure what I will do with it yet.

Here's my kiln on it's temporary table.  I love being able to use this any time I want!

Thanks for taking a little peek into my artsy world!  If you want to keep an eye on updates between posts, follow me on Instagram.  Later!


Art Journal Pages - New Beginnings

I've been making time every couple of days to paint two pages in my book at a time, and I find it really satisfies me.  The reason I got this book in the first place was to spread my wings a bit and be able to be free with my paint without the pressure of a canvas or having to make a complete work of art.  It's just casual, just an experiment, and I can make mistakes and play around, having fun, learning myself, and teaching myself at the same time.  I am also trying to find my voice in my paint, so this is a good book I can use to practice techniques I see that I love and try to translate those into something that is truly me.

And, quite by accident, one of these pages ended up being my first entry for the Mixed Media Monthly Challenge.  The challenge for August is Stencils and Pastes.  I made some of my own stencils, used them to add paste to some watercolor paper, and added some Dr. Ph Martin's Hydrus Watercolors to them.  You can find that post here.  I wasn't sure what I would do with these papers, but I ended up using the following one on this page.

Here's how this page started out.  I knew right away I did not like these colors together, and regretted using the brush I did because everything seemed messy in a bad way. 

Here are some lovely little messy hands.  I got paint out for my kids while I painted since my daughter had begged all day to paint.  First little Lula's hand.  She is turning five tomorrow!

And Grayson's hand.  He is two, and trying to get a picture of his hand was like herding cats!

I painted over some of the previous brush strokes with a different brush, but I didn't like the colors I used!  I stenciled some hearts on with my handmade stencil and added black brush strokes.  Still hated it!

Then I played around with my handwriting and doodling with a white Sharpie oil based paint marker and a pink Elmer's Painters paint marker.  I'm loving both of these right now so much!  Seeing my doodles helped, but I wasn't happy with the colors.

I put down some crackle medium and waited for the required hour.  I think the waiting helped more than anything.  Then I added some Caribbean blue, orange, and pink paint.  I also brushed the word "new" on the page.  I added strokes in green with turquoise pluses on them.  

I painted the opposite page black and placed a rectangle I cut from a gelatin print page down with matte medium.

Then I used my white Sharpie paint pen to doodle around the edges.  I'm not sure what I will put in the middle.  The pages are about new beginnings since my daughter will be starting kindergarten this week, so maybe a picture of her or a silly Lula quote about school.  

I thought the other page needed something else, so I doodled a bit.  I drew this cute flower, but I really took it too far by adding these big black dots.   I hated it!

I tried painting over it, but it didn't look right, so this is where I ended up using some of my modeling paste paper from the other day.  I cut it out into the shape of the curve and put it down with matte medium.  I waited until the matte medium was dry to trim the edges to the shape of the corner.  I really like it!  Looks like these are done for now, but I will probably add more stuff later on.

The Mixed Media Monthly Challenge is also on Instagram, user name @mixedmediamc, so follow them there too!  This is the third challenge, and I look forward to seeing what else they come up with.  Go check them out to find inspiration from their creative team as well as the followers who share their art.