The idea is that ANY good tips, ideas or money saving information can be added here, if you have any tips you would like to pass on, please use the contacts page, be sure to add your name so that credit can be given where its due.. I hope you find something new and useful.

Watercolour - if you use a metal or plastic palatte to put your watercolour paints, or pan paints in, then use a household sponge or dishcloth, wet, folded inside the tin or palatte, this will keep the paint moist, helps avoid waste and cracking of the paint.  You should remember to keep it damp, but over a period of time this may also cause a bit of moulding on the paint, so just scrape it out, wipe the area, add fresh paint.  This is also useful to wipe your brush on as you paint, then just rinse out after painting and put back... saves lots of paper..

Old toothbrushes are also great for speckling areas on watercolour paintings, or applying speckles of masking fluid when preserving light areas such as in foilage or pathways..

8. Acrylic & paper, you can buy paper designed to be used for acrylic paint, personally I am not keen on it, you can even use acrylic paint the same as watercolour by watering it down, But you can also use watercolour paper.  To give it a bit of tooth & texture, and prevent the paper from scuffing if you want to scrub in acrylic washes as a base to paint on, first apply a good even  coat of Primer/Gesso to the paper, this will give it a firmer feel, and allows for much thicker application of Acrylic without damaging the paper.  The more coats of Gesso the stronger & thicker the paper will become, you can even use the palette knife without too much problem.  It will not last for hundreds of years, but it should still be around in a 100 or so.  Who knows, it may well outlast canvas depending on the Gesso and actual quality of the paper. Its a cheaper option than canvas, less storage space as you can store them flat once dry, you will need to frame them if you want to hang them, but they look great in a mount, you can varnish over the top if you want, in which case you  need to frame but not necessarily have glass in the frame. 

7. Hand care - your hands are the most important tool you can have - so working with oil and acrylic requires that you take care of them - as long as you are not using your hands on the canvas/board or painting surface you can use a little neat oil rubbed onto your hands before painting, this provides a barrier and helps to wash the paint off more easily.  You can also purchase 'Painters Glove' which you apply before painting, it helps to get the paint off your hands and keeps your hands in good condition..

6. Wet wipes are great for cleaning your hands even with oil painting, they can also be used to clean the palette after you scrap of the bulk of the paint, and on your painting (oil & acrylic) if you realise you have something in the wrong place or to just clean off a canvas after you have scrapped the bulk of the paint off.

5. Bob Ross thinners - I recommend you use a strong food bag in the thinners bucket, pour your thinners into this inside the bucket, then when you need or want to change the thinners you lift the lot out, drain off the clean liquid into a new bag, lift out the brush scraper rack and give it a wipe with kitchen roll and put into your new bag - top it up and your ready to go (remember to secure the new bag in the bucket before you top it up).  The dirty bag with the paint residue can then be sealed and thrown into the bin.
4.  When working with oils or acrylics (you may be able to try watercolour too) then hang on to your cereal boxes, they are great for practicing things on such as painting angles or working out placement in still life paintings.  Much easier and cheaper than canvas and if its just a rough out you can get away without gesso first.  Once you have worked it out you let it dry and throw into recycling anyway. 

3. When making a large amount of wash especially for acrylics, (watercolour too) cut the top of the plastic milk carton, mix your wash so that you have plenty to layer on, there is nothing worse than trying to re-mix a colour, and it can be almost impossible to get it exactly the right tone.  So mix plenty.  To keep just cover with cling film or foil, it will last for weeks if you check and add a little thinners or water.

2. Cut the top of a 1 or 3 ltre carton towards the top, then pierce on two sides, about an inch from the cut off edge, thread some wire or cord through and loop on each side so that you have two loops, one each side, now get a kitchen hook (like you would use to hang pans, double sided hook) slip the loops over the hook and hang the from your easel - you can adjust the height to suit, if there is nowhere on your easel then screw in a single hook.  When the carton is too messy you simply recycle and make a new one.

1. For long handled paint brushes, 1ltr carton, carefully cut the cap away at an angle away from the handle, give it a fairly wide section cut, then you can also hang by threading through the original handle and have all your brushes close at hand hanging off the easel.

8. One of the best pallets I have so far used FOR ACRYLICS AND WATERCOLOURS is actually a cake tin, the ones that are for individual cakes, or yorkshire puddings, these are great, you have choices of 6, 10, 12, 18 small bowls in which to mix, its great with watercolour and acrylic, I have even used it for oils, the benefit is with watercolour and acrylics, its very easy to clean even if the paint drys on - you can use non-stick pans - lots of room to mix, and just cover with cling film to save the paint, a good wash when finished.

7. Plastic egg boxes - check for holes first though - they make great throw away pallets with quite deep wells for mixing watercolour paint.

6. Stay wet pallet - A Large lunch box with a fitted lid - you can line with old re-cycled watercolour/blotting paper, just tear to fit the bottom, and then place a sheet of greaseproof paper, or tracing paper over the top, I often just use a sheet off the tear out pallets, fold it to fit and then keep it sprayed for acrylics - when your finished put the lid on, this will keep the paint for weeks if you remember to spray it occassionally.

5. Throw away Pallets - the plastic trays your meat and veg come packed in - once washed (make sure they are oil free) they make excellant temporary pallets, you can cover with cling film to keep paint moist - and when your finished you put in re-cycle box.

4. OILS - I often need just a dark colour for backgrounds and trees - when using oils at the end of a session any dark reasonably clean paint can be scraped off the pallette into a small lided plastic container and kept - generally I only do this with dark colours - but I guess you could with any. Then when I have posts or trees I have some dark already to go - less waste more cost effective. 

3. Oils and acrylics can cause a build up on easels, over time this will make the stand uneven and lumpy, it may also cause paint to smudge from one work to another.  So cover the top and bottom support with masking tape - you can simply change after every session or when it becomes dirty.

2. If you work with a wooden easel then the canvas is normally recessed into the stand, this means you cannot cover the whole canvas - so screw two screws through the top and bottom so they extend beyond the recess, then when you fit your canvas they will protrude into the canvas, meaning you can cover the whole area and it is generally more secure on the stand..

1. Natural hair brushes are expensive, keep them clean, and for help with restoring you can buy products, however if your putting them away you can give them a gentle wipe with linseed oil (or cheaper still Olive Oil) wipe them on cloth or paper towels smoothing the bristles and store.  Simply dip in thinners and wipe before use.