Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Dirty, Nasty, Color Mixed Paint Trays..
They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.
Guess I am insane about watercolor trays.

Take apart dirty trays, wash

clean paint trays and brushes

let dry

refill colors, reassemble trays
And yet the continue to get horribly dirty.  I am thinking I am going to buy a new set of 24 for my 6th graders... let the 5th grade use their ones they insist on trashing. 

How do you keep your paint trays clean?


  1. All I ever cared about was keeping the COLORS clean; I didn't worry about the trays themselves. I kept the colors clean in 2 ways:
    While the kids painted, they had water and sponges. When changing colors, they learned to WIPE the brush on the sponge, WASH it in the water,and then again WIPE on the sponge before using a different color. This really helps.

    Also, I kept a mini sponge in my apron pocket, and as I circulated the room, if I saw one color bleeding into another (usually green moving into the yellow) or if a kid mistakenly dipped a dirty brush into the wrong color, I would simply sop it up with my sponge, and leave the color clean.

  2. I gave up on using those trays a few years ago! Now...I save the cardboard refill trays and put warm colors (red, orange, yellow and sometimes brown) in one and cool (blue, purple and green) in another.and put two sets of each on a plastic tray with water and brushes in the middle of the table. When the cardboard is nasty, I throw them away and use another one! The kids also are in charge of making sure the colors and water cups are clean by the time their class ends! Hope this helps!!

  3. I don't clean them. We talk about how watercolors are so awesome there is never any waste! Then I paint something using the dried up overflow paint colors left from the last class.

    Waste not, want not and all that jazz.