I have been practicing my art pretty much daily for the past three years, and I have definitely learned a lot (and improved a lot). Experienced artists probably know most of these, but I’ve been learning as I go. Along the way I picked up a few hacks I thought I would share.
We bought toothpaste squeezers for our toothpaste rolls a few months back, and we love them! If you don’t know what they are, they are rollers that squeeze every last bit out of your toothpaste tube. So it occurred to me that these would be great for my tubes of acrylic paint … and I was right! I don’t have enough for all of my tubes, but as they start getting low, I slap one on, and I can get every last drop of paint!
This is one I came up with when I could not get the cap off my tubes of acrylic paint. I set a pair of vice-grips for a perfect fit for my paint cap, and voila. Cap removed easy peasy. Now I keep one with my paint for easy access.
Glass Cutting Board
Glass cutting boards make a great palette for acrylic paint. Use one side, then flip it over and use the other. When both sides are used, soak in warm water for a few minutes, and scrape all of the paint off (to prevent clogs, don’t let the paint scraps go down the drain).
This is one I saw on TikTok. Magic erasers can be used to easily remove water-paint and ink, which are known for being unforgiving when you make mistakes. Just a bit of water on the pad and a light rub, and the mistake is gone!
This is another great hack for correcting mistakes for watercolor. It comes in transparent and white. You paint over your mistake with the ground, let it dry, and then you can paint over again without mixing into the layer below. I have also tried it for creating more texture in watercolor and ink paintings.
I love masking fluid for watercolor and ink for preserving areas of my painting to leave white, or where I don’t want to mix with the layer below. It also comes in great for intricate patterns that may be difficult to paint. For example, I used masking fluid to make RBG’s glove and collar in the painting shown here. Let the fluid dry, paint over it in black, and peel off the masking fluid (which dries like rubber). Success!
Of course, I use dishwashing liquid to clean the water based paint off my brushes, but it also is a great protective layer for brushes I use to paint on masking fluid. Rub a bit of dishwashing liquid onto my brush before I dip it in the masking fluid, and then the dried fluid comes right off my brush when I am done. Otherwise, getting masking fluid off a brush can be quite difficult! Saw this somewhere on social media, but not sure where. Works great.
I am really terrible about not washing my brushes right away. So another great hack to get dried paint off of a brush is to soak it for a bit in rubbing alcohol, then swirl around in the alcohol to remove the dried paint. I saw this one on TikTok too, and it really works!
There is nothing worse than getting half way through a painting or drawing only to learn your proportions are off. Sometimes accuracy is important (especially for commissions of people and pets), but it can sure be difficult, and time consuming, to get the subject sized and proportioned properly on the paper. . I had no idea how to use a grid to accurately transfer an image from photo to paper until it showed up on a friend’s facebook page. What a great solution!
Even easier than a grid is the Light Tracer Box I got for my birthday this year! I use the box to trace the outlines of my subject so I am sure I have proportions right on paintings and drawings where I want them to be accurate depictions. Once I have the basic pencil outline, I am read to start! Of course this only works for smaller sized paper, and it does not work for canvas.
And the one hack I wish I had was a way to stay organized while I am working, and to remind me to clean up after myself. I’m probably going to need to wait to get a robot for that.
Do you have any hacks that you would like to share? They don’t have to be art hacks … we can all use ways to make our lives easier 🙂
Thanks for reading, and thank you for supporting my art page! Wishing you all a happy week!