We all know that no art room is complete without a hairdryer and iron! But are there other everyday items that are staples in your classroom? I had an art colleague who had preserved fish in jars. At the time, I wasn’t aware of Gyotaku, commonly known as fish printing. I asked art teachers what unusual things they had, and they did not disappoint with the vast and varied objects they answered with. Maybe you will find a few ideas for your art room in the list. And if you have an item that you can’t live without in your art room that is not on my list, share it in the comments!
A classic, the Hair dryer
What is it used for? Speeding up paint drying or clay setting into a leather-hard state. Also, dry a shirt where a student may have scrubbed off some paint.
Another classic, the Iron
What is it used for? Used to heat press silkscreened t-shirts, remove batik wax, smooth paper, etc.
What is it used for? To open stuck bottles.
Hair rubber bands or elastics
What is it used for? Students with long hair who may need to put their hair up to keep it out of the paint or clay.
Cat litter containers
What is it used for? Air-tight clay storage.
What is it used for? To mix slip, create paper mache paste, reconstitute glazes, mix paper pulp, paper mache paste, or reconstitute old chunky paint.
Drill with Paint mixer (also called a paddle attachment)
What is it used for? Mixing powder developer (photography) by hand or mixing paints of all kinds, and recycling clay.
What is it used for? Used for clay recycling, glue mixing, paper making, and mixing marbling solution.
What is it used for? Mini glass fusing kiln.
What is it used for? Watercolor technique.
What is it used for? Encaustic-like technique with crayons.
Vaseline and liquid soap
What is it used for? As a release agent when using molds.
Old milk jugs
What is it used for? Mixing plaster or grout.
What is it used for? Used to scrape paint off counters
What is it used for? Another good tool to scrape paint from any surface
What is it used for? For dry hands, especially in the winter, and especially for Ceramics!
What is it used for? Used for personal use as well as for heating water to clean acrylic paint off palettes
Dog dishes where one side has water, the other side can hold a sponge
What is it used for? Use it for holding water when painting
Needle nose pliers
What is it used for? Use to fix practically anything and open glue and paint bottles.
Small crock pot or potpourri warmer
What is it used for? Used to melt wax in for basic
Joint compound, glue, and toilet paper
What is it used for? These are all the ingredients for making air-dry clay.
What is it used for? Used for making shrinky dinks and for hardening polymer clay
What is it used for? for zoetropes
What is it used for? Used for drying clean, wet hands or wiping off already cleaned (but still wet) tables.
What is it used for? Spills of all kinds.
Makeup Brush cleaning pads
What is it used for? Use in the sink for cleaning paintbrushes.
Travel Soap dishes
What is it used for? Store and distribute crayons.
Small trash cans for every table
What is it used for? Discard pencil shavings, paper cuttings, etc., so there is less getting up out of seats.
What is it used for? Handling little things like beads, gluing down small pieces of collage materials
Mini pedicure buffing blocks
What is it used for? Great for fine sanding on small areas on plaster or air-dry sculptures.
Styrofoam or plastic egg cartons
What is it used for? For painting, a must-have for storing and mixing paint.
Mannequins and head blocks
What is it used for? Used as still life items, mask making, etc.
Silk flowers, skulls, and bones, plastic eggs
What is it used for? Still life items.
Change of clothes
What is it used for? To rescue you from having to wear the inevitable mess that gets all over your outfit
Personal emergency kit- toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, bandaids, tampons, needle and thread, can of soup, etc.
What is it used for? The obvious!
First aid kit,
What is it used for? For issues that don’t require the nurse.
What is it for? Bend the prongs a little bit apart and run them through a slab of clay for perfect strips to create a foot for your clay pieces.
What is it for? Use this inexpensive replacement for fixative.
What is it for? Armatures for sculpting in paper mache. I have also seen them used for holding a pot with the balloon (blow up the balloon inside the ceramic pot interior to form a seal on the edge) and dipping into the glaze.
Did we miss anything? Please share any items that you have in your classroom that make your life a little easier in the comments below.