Thursday, June 9, 2011

Storing Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint was such a pain to work with!
The mouth of the bottle is too wide to pour small amounts out.

The pumps you screw onto the top clog easily.

The newer pumps have little caps you close after every use. If you forget to close it the paint dries and you can’t get the cap back on tight without digging and cleaning the spout.
The earlier versions of the pump were forever getting clogged and if you forced it out by pumping down hard, it would squirt onto your clothes, students and across the table! Yuck. When I see a pump now I automatically just unscrew the top and pour… better too much paint on the plate than wearing it on my clothes all day.
So I was REALLY excited to see a GREAT solution!

Ketchup bottles!

At the beginning of the school year I ask my students to save me their empty ketchup bottles. It’s an unusual request and the students actually remember it at the dinner table and ask their parents to save the empty bottles so they can take them to school. I’ll get ketchup bottles dropped off throughout the whole school year. You can get the amount you need pretty quick.

You’ll want to soak the bottles and caps in soapy bleach water for awhile. The bottles don’t always come to you cleaned out well. It’s amazingly hard to get that ketchup smell out of even a clean bottle, so I soak the whole thing for a day, rinse it well and resolve to live with a little ketchup smelling acrylic paint. I’ve never had any paint go bad in the bottles.
I found a cool gadget at a kitchen supply store… you screw one end onto your ketchup bottle, the other end onto a second ketchup bottle and position it so the almost empty bottle of ketchup drains into the newer bottle below. I screw that onto the ketchup/acrylic bottles, prop it up and the jug of acrylic slowly drips into the ketchup bottle with occasional squeezes to help it along. Often I’ll thin out the acrylic paint to get it flowing easier.

That’s it! And it’s super easy to store… no more lugging out big jugs of acrylic. The students love the look of the red and yellow paint in the ketchup bottles-it surprises them and they laugh.
Thank you Sarah! -A great art teacher in my district that shared this idea.
Can you share any improvements to this idea? I would love to hear from you! Thanks!


  1. Ketchu bottles- GENIUS! I wonder if you can buy similar empty bottles somewhere else, though. I don't think I can wait a whole school year until I have enough! I bought those damn pumps last year- thought it would save all my acrylic paint dispensing woes, but it only multiplied them! Who knew the paint would dry INSIDE the pump?! aaarrgh!!

    Thanks for sharing this fantastic tip!

  2. Where did you get the ketchup transfer adapter you mentioned?

  3. Where did you get the ketchup transfer adapter you mentioned?

  4. Thank you for sharing this interesting and informative article, painting with spray gun will be faster and more interesting!

    Spray Gun