1. When you need a smile Have a file in your desk where you keep all those positive notes you receive. The thank-you notes from students, parents, administrators, or whomever. The notes which touched you when you received them and even now remind you that your work is valuable. Every day, in big and small ways, art teachers are changing lives and doing something worthwhile. When you feel discouraged, pull that folder out and read them all.
2. Glue Top Hack “Draw a smiley face on the bottle! The two eyes go on the orange cap and the smile goes on the white cap rim. When you open the cap, you can tell it’s not shut. When you turn it back, you’ll know it’s fully closed when the eyes line up with the smile.” Found this tip here.
3. The indestructible spray bottle “I don’t know if you all have the same problem I have with students breaking my spray bottles within the first day-week of using them. They either drop them or force-squeeze the trigger and render it useless. I found these and they are a game-changer! Solid plastic, thick trigger, and continuous spray so they use less cleaning product.” Or clean the bottle, remove the label and recycle for your (non-food) purpose. This tip is thanks to art teacher Ashley Evans Heitschmidt.
4. Brilliant lino printmaking storage Art teacher Carlie Marsh was inspired by another art teacher to organize all her linoleum printmaking supplies in a tackle box she found on Facebook Marketplace for ten dollars.
5. Organize and color-code your Exacto knives This tip came from art teacher Conrad Maag. Notice the colors on the knife holder match his table’s legs and sides in the background.
6. Ikea sink brush hack. Apparently, art teachers everywhere discovered this Ikea organizer fits perfectly in their sink and allows paintbrushes to drain. Ikea doesn’t make it anymore but you can find comparable ones here. Sarah Simpson took it one step further and used her Cricut to create labels.
7. Visualize the clay life cycle An upcoming maternity leave inspired ceramic Art Teacher Maggie Rivera to create this visual tool. “My ceramics kids are usually juggling multiple projects at various stages of the clay cycle. In the past, I’ve noticed my students would struggle to keep everything moving forward or they would forget about one of them because it was out of sight, out of mind. I would also get the occasional kid who SOMEHOW late in the semester still doesn’t know that their project has to dry before firing, for example. This year, I’ll be taking a maternity leave second semester and so I’m making it a point to instill good project management with them as early as possible. And so, the project clock was born. I will write the name of projects on the ‘hands’ and pin them pointing toward whatever stage they should be at on a given day, moving them as the students should be moving along to the next stage. I’m hoping this will help them manage multiple things at once.”
8. Pastels can be organized?!? Art Teacher Shelly Marie is the brain behind this hack. “I got the photo keeper on sale from Michael’s and hot glued a half-inch piece of foam on the inside top lid! Fingers crossed that they work well this year!”