View Full Version : Re-cycle ……and Have Fun!

maggie latham
06-06-2008, 03:26 AM
Hello everyone,

A few days ago, my temporary studio space was a mess with no storage space, with brushes, pencils and paint tubes everywhere…..so I came up with a fun idea to recycle Coffee-mate creamer canisters (the kind made of durable printed cardboard on a tin base) and all my bits and chunks of pastels, including some brands and colours which were mistake purchases.:lol: This is a fun ‘arty-crafty’ project, and a good way to recycle.

Coffee-mate canisters (printed card with tin base) not plastic!
Old cheap acrylic paint or gesso
Colourfix Pastel Primer (or your own home made mix of pastel primer)
Old pastels, any colours and brands you never use or don’t like
Old bristle gesso brush or foam craft brush
Latex gloves
Spray fixative (can be the cheap stuff)
Acrylic gloss varnish (you can use acrylic medium, but it is much more goopy and plastic looking)

Paint the canister using rough brush strokes on the outside with cheap acrylic paint or gesso. I used black, as this blocks out all the printed info on the can very well. Try to keep the metal rim, top and bottom clean, but you can scrape this off with your fingernail when it is dry if necessary.

Canisters primed with one coat of acrylic paint and one coat of white Colourfix Pastel Primer …

When this layer of paint is dry, paint on one coat of Art Spectrum Colourfix Primer (or home made pastel primer~if you make this yourself). By using a gesso brush, the brush marks are very random and you can add a lot of texture to the finished look.
Once dry, apply dry pastel with heavy strokes, blending with your fingers and latex gloves. Some interesting effects are achieved by using hard pastels and cross hatching two colours together…. possibly a magenta and a bright blue, then slightly blending with gloved fingers. I preferred to make abstract marks and ‘blotches’ of colour ….but you could create a more controlled design if you have the patience or with pastel pencils!
Once the pastel layer is to your liking, take it outside, and spray lightly with fixative. I sprayed quite close to the pastel to get a firm hold…this will change the colour slightly depending on what brand and grade of fixative and pastels you use.

Once the fixative is dry, paint on one coat of acrylic gloss varnish (I use Liquitex as it is thin and goes on easily). You can use acrylic medium instead of varnish (varnish is thinner), but acrylic medium tends to give a more ‘goopy’ plastic finish. I used a one-inch wide very soft watercolour brush to apply the acrylic varnish. Apply strokes in the same direction.
Once dry run a fingernail along both top and bottom metal rims to remove any paint or varnish residue, and to generally clean up the top and bottom rims.

This is a fun project for all ages, and a very unique way of re-cycling and customising pencil and brush holders for your studio.



The finished brush and pencil holders!

Have Fun, and please post your efforts and creations in this thread.


Deborah Secor
06-06-2008, 10:16 AM
Maggie, you're so creative! I usually just make sure the stuff originally in the can is out, plunk in my brushes and other things, and I'm good to go. My studio (and house :o ) ends up looking more like a grocery store or recycling bin, but.... These really look neat and tidy, and far nicer than the originals do in my house. Nice idea. :)


Donna T
06-06-2008, 12:09 PM
How cool, Maggie! Even your brush holders look like your paintings with those softly blended harmonious colors. I'm getting tired of looking at the margarine container that holds my easel dust; it's not very inspiring. I really should upgrade to something that doesn't kill my creativity just by looking at it. Margarine and pastels ... icky.


maggie latham
06-06-2008, 04:52 PM
Hello everyone,

Deborah, thank you for your comments. A lot of my pastels which have been travelling with me over the last few months took a beating and were quite crumbled and icky, so what better way to use them on a fun craft project.:)

Donna, margarine tubs sounds a little healthier than coffee creamer….:lol: :lol:

Thought I would post a few more pics of my creations. Actually it is a really good way to just play and smoosh colours around with abandon and not worry about a finished painting…. as well as recycling the canisters.:) :)

close up of colours

looking like a studio again....the little paintings are oil, not pastel...


06-08-2008, 04:03 AM
So neet and tidy :eek:

Doug :)

06-08-2008, 09:22 AM
Cool idea, Maggie!


maggie latham
06-09-2008, 02:43 AM
I suspect it is a ‘girl’ thing……the need to make everything look ‘pretty’.:D :D :D It was also a great way to use up all my smooshed up pastels.:)


06-10-2008, 11:16 PM
Cool idea! this is so creative!