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7 Art Hacks That Make Life Easy

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Posted by Lisa Nance
Lisa Nance is an award-winning freelance copywriter and professional artist. As a contributing writer for Arteza, she is able to combine both her passions of writing and art. Lisa lives in Northwest Arkansas with her husband and her extensive collection of vintage typewriters.
7 Art Hacks That Make Life Easy

Being an artist is fun and energizing. There’s nothing more satisfying than getting in the “creative zone” and making a piece of art that turns out exactly how you envisioned it. But the reality of making art is that it can be a messy business. If you’ve ever struggled to get oil paint off your hands or dried acrylic paint out of your favorite T-shirt, then you know what we’re talking about here. Not to mention, having so many supplies your studio looks like an art store exploded!

Never fear. We’ve talked to artists and crafters to discover some hacks that will not only make your art practice a little less messy, but will also make your life easier. It’s amazing how looking at things, such as baggies, rubbing alcohol or takeout containers in a new way will help you get organized, stay clean, and enhance the fun you have making art. Let’s take a look at some art tips for making your art room clean up and storage easier.

Easy Clean Up Hacks


Tennis Anyone? A Mess-Free Way to Clean Brushes

It’s important to always clean your brushes after a painting session. But no one likes to get all that excess paint on their hands. Here’s a way to avoid that.

  • Take a tennis ball and cut it in half to create a rubber cup.
  • Next time you clean your brushes, place a drop of soap in the cup and swirl your brush in it to remove the paint.
  • Add some water and continue swirling the brush.
  • Rinse the brush thoroughly with clean water and scrub on a towel to dry.
  • Rinse and dry the cup and store it for later use. 

Mario Gogh, Unsplash
Mario Gogh, Unsplash

Getting Oil Paint Off Hands is So Easy a Baby Can Do It

Oil paint is not good for your skin and certain colors can stain your fingers and palms. To remove oil paint or stains from your hands or other areas of skin, use baby wipes. Keep a container next to the easel for a handy and quick clean up.

Amauri Mejia, Unsplash
Amauri Mejia, Unsplash

Alcohol: Acrylic Paint’s Worst Enemy

Acrylic painters have a special kind of challenge when it comes to art room clean up. Since acrylic paint has a plastic polymer base, it dries to a hard, stubborn consistency. Once it dries, it takes a lot to get it off everything from carpet to clothes to wood floors to glass. No worries here, because there is a way to get it out by using rubbing alcohol. If you discover dried acrylic paint on your favorite T-shirt, here’s what to do:

  • Add some rubbing alcohol to a bowl or basin.
  • Take the area with the dried paint and immerse it in the alcohol. Let it sit for a while or until the alcohol begins to loosen the paint.
  • Once the paint begins to loosen, take something with a hard edge, such as a credit card or butter knife, and gently start scraping the paint. It will begin to chip off and float away.
  • Once all the paint is gone, rinse the area with clean water.
  • Use a laundry stain pre-treater on the spot and add it to your usual load of laundry. 

Daria Gorbacheva, Unsplash
Daria Gorbacheva, Unsplash

Make Your Own Cup Liners

If you use plastic cups to mix paint or hold water for cleaning brushes between colors, here’s a way to make clean up fast. Before adding your paint or water to your cup line them with a plastic sandwich bag. Once you’re finished working, you simply seal and remove the bag and throw away the old paint or pour out the old water and toss the bag and your cup is ready for the next session. 

Art Tips To Save Time & Money

  • You Don’t Have to Be Arnold Schwarzenegger to Open Those Paint Tubes

How many times have you spent valuable painting time huffing and puffing trying to get those caps off your paint? Well, throw out the pliers and try this simple little trick. Before twisting the cap back on the tube, take a small piece of plastic cling wrap and cover the tube’s opening. This will prevent the paint from getting in the cap and drying and you’ll be able to start your next painting in no time.

  • Save Those Duck Sauce Containers

How many times have you gotten takeout and ended up throwing out those containers that hold the sauce? After this idea, you’ll look at those little containers in a whole new way. That’s because these cups with lids are the best way to save unused paint. No more wasting paint. No more remixing the same colors again. Just clean and completely dry the container and then scrape the unused paint into it. Snap on the lid for an airtight way to keep the paint fresh and ready for your next session.

  • The Worry-Free Way to Transport a Wet Canvas

Have you ever finished a satisfying painting class or session painting outside only to have an anxiety attack when it comes to how you’ll get your wet canvas home without ruining it? The last thing we all want is to put time and effort into a painting only to have it ruined by falling off the backseat of the car. If you’re looking for the best way to keep your paintings unscathed from class to home, here’s a great idea—use a plastic under-the-bed container. These containers are designed to store items in a very limited space, which makes them the perfect width and height in which to place a wet canvas. They fit perfectly in most car trunks and once the canvas is in and the lid is on, your canvas will stay safely in one spot until you get to your destination.

There you have it. Seven hacks that will make your artmaking easier, faster and more fun! We’d love to hear your art hacks to so please leave a comment in the section below.

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