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Waste Not, Want Not, blog #6

Christeen Street Studios Weekly Blog

That’s what our parents told us. One who wastes not wants not. As a child, I did not understand what that meant, and well part of me still doesn’t. Nevertheless, it does make me think about all the waste that comes along with being a maker or an artist. Excess paint, gloves, towels, parchment paper, foil, stir sticks, mixing cups, oh my lord the list can go on.

Today in a Facebook group, this topic came up and it surprised me how many artists lacked creativity when it came to reducing their waste. The light bulb above my head switched on and I knew this was going to be a blog post! Ok back on topic, I care about how much I waste, and I hope you do too. Therefore, I wanted to share just a bit of what I do to help reduce my waste.

I have a ton of ways I reduce waste in my craft that are easy to do, and again this is just what I do, so I encourage you to get creative. For instance, I do not use paper towels, I use old cotton t-shirts that are no longer wearable, cut them up, wash and reuse them. I see some artist use puppy pee pads to catch their paint run off. Instead, use parchment or backing paper so the run off can be used as a paint skin later. I also use aluminum foil for this as well. It’s a bit harder to peel the paint off but with patience, you can do it. Foil is recyclable, parchment is less waste than a pee pad, and it’s not plastic! For those just starting out or on a very tight budget, plastic cups from the dollar store, as most people already know, are great mixing cups that can be washed and reused, yes I know they are plastic, hence reusable! If you have a little dough to spend, I recommend investing in silicone mixing cups. These can be washed and reused thousands of times more than a plastic cup, nothing will stick to them, and what’s great is these are made for mixing resin so you can use them for all your projects, I especially like the silicon stir sticks! There are all sorts of brands to choose from, and most priced around $15 a kit.

Some artists amazingly use cleaning gloves, like your grandmother used to wear when washing the dishes so they can be used many times. Although I admire this, I do find it difficult as you lose some control when wearing them. Moving on, a more controversial way to reduce waste is to stop using wooden stir sticks. Yes, stop using them, this may not be plastic waste but they cut down trees to make them, and they begin to breakdown after a few uses. Take it from me, you do not want splinters in your paint. I understand some of you may not have the patience to do this, but I collect my plastic utensils from various places and save them to use as stir sticks, then I wash and reuse them as many times as possible. A set of cheap steel spoons from the dollar store dedicated to your craft needs is another way to go. Saving unused paint in empty and clean baby food, glass or plastic jars from your kitchen eliminates the need to buy plastic bottles or use plastic wrap and cups to store your leftovers. Lastly, with all the washing going on, be mindful of water waste and always turn off your faucets. I have also installed water efficient sink and shower faucets.

I could keep going on and on with little tid bits of things I do to reduce my waste. I hope what I have shared here today gives you ideas on how to reduce and reuse. What I am going to leave you all with is this; never let your willingness to waste as little as possible get in the way of your safety. Some will skip on using things like gloves to reduce waste, but many do not know that pouring mediums such as Floetrol (printed right on the label) contain lead. Safety first! Until next week, Christeen