JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS O.K. TO GO SHOPPING, AGAIN!
You know, I can remember getting ready to go back to school when I was, probably, in the second grade. I was excited about shopping for all of the great stuff on the teacher’s list. Back then, we were required to bring our materials to school in a plastic dish pan of any color we chose. Mine was usually green. It would be filled with all sorts of wonderful supplies; those really big fat pencils, jumbo Crayola crayons, fresh white notebook paper (I remember getting 300 sheets for 50 cents!), extra large markers, Elmer’s glue, those cute little scissors (that now barely cut through paper), a plastic ruler, colored pencils, pink erasers, and so on. Coming from a family of five, and as one of the youngest, I was plagued with every kind of hand-me-downs from my older siblings. But this was the time of year that everything in my tub was brand new! I just loved going back to school!
So, recently, while shopping, I was reminded of those lovely memories from long ago. All of the school supplies displayed neatly up front and on sale. A frenzy of parents and kids made up about 75% of the store population. A kiosk of local supply list from all of the schools in the area conveniently located as you enter. And as you would suspect, the basic supplies are still pretty much the same now as they were then, and the best deals of the year can still be found in the fall when kids go back to school.
Besides the obvious uses for school supplies, over the years, I have stumbled onto many unconventional uses. Here are some of my favorites!
1. CRACKLE FINISH- Apply a coat of white glue to an acrylic base coated surface. Allow to dry. Then, apply a smooth coat of another color over the glue and allow it to crack!
2. DYED BATIK ON WOOD OR T-SHIRT- Draw a design with a bead of glue on a white t-shirt. Allow to dry. Dye shirt in a RIT dye bath. Rinse thoroughly. The glue should release and wash off revealing the white design! Can easily be adapted to raw wood.
3. DOT STAMP- Use the pencil eraser to make uniform dots by dipping it into acrylic paint and pressing on paper.
4. INSTANT TIE DYE SHIRT- Draw a design on a white shirt with colored Sharpies. Spray area with rubbing alcohol and allow the area to bleed. Heat in dryer to set. Wash normally.
RULERS- Wooden rulers, metal rulers, plastic rulers. These twelve inch measuring sticks are the most common in schools.
5. TEAR PAPER- Use metal rulers to accurately tear paper and create a beautiful deckle edge.
6. IDEA NOTEBOOK- Keep a notebook with you at all times to write down any ideas throughout the day.
COMPOSITION NOTEBOOKS- These seem to have been around since the turn of the century, having been called ciphering books or copybooks in the past.
7. MINI NOTEBOOK- Cut composition notebooks in half and use as an idea notebook. They are small enough to carry with you anywhere.
3 RING BINDERS- Also called loose leaf binders and originated in Germany in the late 1800′s.
8. MINI PORTFOLIO- Fill with page protectors and store paintings in them.
9. COLOR NOTEBOOK- Use business card plastic pages to store color swatches and paint samples.
BACK PACKS- Also called a rucksack, bodypack, packsack, or a haversack.
ERASERS- Can be made from synthetic rubber, vinyl, plastic, or synthetic soy-based gum.
11. BLEND PASTELS- Remove or lighten pastels or colored pencil.
12. MINI STAMPS- Cut eraser into shapes or designs and use as stamps.
PENCIL CASE- Early pencil cases were round or cylinder shape and were sometimes decorated with precious jasper and platinum.
13. MINI TRAVEL STUDIO- Make a small travel watercolor palette by filling small wells with tube watercolors. Other sections can be used for brushes, erasers, pens, ect. So compact you can take it anywhere!
INDEX CARDS- Common sizes include 3×5, 4×6, and 5×8
14. REFERENCE CARDS- Use as reference cards showing different watercolor techniques and textures.
15. PAINT SAMPLES- Save paint swatches with information about brand, transparency, lightfastness, ect.
16. STENCILS- Make stencils out of index cards.
CRAYONS- Formerly the Binney and Smith Company, Crayola began making this famous art material back on June 10, 1903.
17. MULTI COLOR CRAYONS- Put assorted crayon pieces in a metal mold and melt slowly in a warm oven. Makes great multi-colored crayon shapes.
18. SGRAFFITO ART- Rub a heavy coat of various colors of crayon onto a piece of cardstock paper. Completely cover area with color. Wash a coat of black India ink over the crayon and allow to dry. Use a paper clip, Xacto blade, straight pin, or other sharp point to draw a design and remove the ink to reveal the colors of crayon. This is a type of Sgraffito.
RUBBER BANDS- Manufactured from natural rubber, these are also known as binders, elastic bands, lackey bands, laggy bands, or elastics.
19. STAMPING- Wrap different size rubber bands around a thick piece of cardboard and use as a stamp by applying acrylic paint with a brayer to the surface and pressing onto a surface.
DRY ERASE MARKERS- A non-permanent marker with an erasable ink, made write on a slick, non-porous writing surface and for temporary writing with overhead projectors, whiteboards.
20. VALUE SKETCHES- Draw the darkest areas with the dry erase marker. Then, blend mid values with a moist brush. Leave white areas for lightest value. Great for plein air value sketches!
I can assure you that shopping for school supplies will never be the same! And understand why, when I shop for school supplies, it is for an entirely different reason! With these great ideas and the best deals ever, I wouldn’t be surprised if some parents out there will either buy extra for themselves, or snatch their kid’s supplies while they aren’t looking!
If you have other great ideas for school supplies, please visit again and leave a comment!
Happy “Back To School” Day!
Keep your #2 pencils sharpened along with your creative minds,
and Let’s Get Ready To Go Back To School!