Quick Fix: A Sink Shortcut for the Art Room


My Solution For Eliminating the Line at the Sink  After Painting

I have a problem.

A very common Art Teacher problem.

My sink is oh so VERY small!

After a particularly busy clean-up day working with watercolor during my Art Appreciation class, I revisited my paintbrush cleaning policy.

I needed a better way.

This is why I’m a fan of routines and procedures:

I want to maximize class time with my students so they can spend more time creating art, and less time cleaning up and doing ‘housekeeping’.

But, the line at the sink was TOO long!

so, I decided to make my “sink line” more efficient…. By eliminating it!

Here’s how I did that:

1. I placed a mop bucket (with a spout) and two deli containers on a table (or a desk). You may choose to cover desk with tablecloth or art roll paper, like I did.

2. I wrote reminder phrases on Post-its:
“Dump dirty water here”
“Place dirty brushes here”
“Put empty water cups here”
“Set opened palettes flat to dry”

(Eventually, I’m sure I’ll make some fancy-nancy laminated signs, but for now I’m a fan of “posties”)

3. When students have dismissed:

I quickly dump out the dirty water bucket, sometimes I spray with Lysol or rinse with soapy water.

Then I add brush-friendly soap + water to the deli containers, fill them with water and rinse the contents.

Then, I lay brushes flat to dry on a towel. I put the water cups (I use condiment cups from the dollar store, or old minute rice cups) on a plastic dish-rack or sometimes just stagger stack them upside down to dry.

My quick fix for eliminating the sink line:

This may take more time for me…

but, if it lets the kids have more time to work on their art, then I’m willing to sacrifice 3-5 minutes of my lunch.

Besides, it shaves about 8 minutes off my cleanup. I now give them a 2 minute clean-up- it’s a routine/assembly line/mindless/habitual clean-up.

I usually do a chant to remind them:

“Brush side UP…
in the CUP!”

…but in this case, these brushes are only in the deli container for such a short time, that I really don’t care if they do put it up or down.