Teachingartonthecheap's Blog

Glue system for most projects

Posted on: August 26, 2009

art 011Here is how I’m handling glue, since it doesn’t often come into SCRAP as a donated material. If you already have a set of class glue bottles that you can refill with one of those wompous gallon jugs, super.

I got this idea from The Art of Teaching Art to Children by Nancy Beal.  Her book describes how she teaches art but many of her lessons involve having classes of 12 kids at a private school in her actual art room, so you might guess much of it didn’t translate to my current situation; however, the glue idea in particular is genius.

You need: 12 baby food jars with lids, 24 cheapo paintbrushes (just like the size/quality that would come with dollar store watercolors), some sort of sturdy container (like a rubbermaid shoebox), a large plastic cup (or my washed out 7″ tall deli container from Whole Foods when I went crazy and bought pricey deli goods there once), and a gallon o’white glue.

Fill each of the 12 jars 1/3 full of glue. Now add 2 tablespoons of water to each jar, and stir. You can mess with it to find the consistency you like.

Rest jar lids (don’t screw them on) on top. Put them in plastic tub. Put the lid on the tub. Store.

To use: Open it all up, put one jar (lid removed) between every 2 kids. Poke 2 brushes in the jars. Show the kids how to pick up the brush, wipe it on the inner jar lip so it doesn’t drip, and apply glue to their item to be glued.

When you’re done with the art, have the kids put their brushes bristle side down in the tall cup, which you should fill halfway with water. This will keep them wet and smooshable until the next time. No washing needed. Their cheapo bristles will stay firm and unbent. Rest the lids on the jars (if you screw them on, they will be effectively glued shut, so dont’ do that), pack them away in their lidded tub.


Less waste, less drying time, more precise application, fine motor skill training… very clever, Nancy Beal.

Also, for younger kids/bigger collages, I have a set of surgical swabber sponges with handles from SCRAP that were unused from some hospital; they would be great for a wider application of glue.

I would only use this method for paper to paper (or maybe fabric/foam/light porous material) gluing. For plastics or heavy adornment I got silicon caulk from ReStore for 50 cents a tube. I can just squirt blobs on  plastic lids rescued from the New Season’s plastic recycling area and kids can use popsicle sticks or mat board strips to apply it to their projects. It dries clear and is less dangerous than hot glue.  I was pretty proud of myself for thinking up that one.


2 Responses to "Glue system for most projects"

Hmmmm, I’ll have to try the caulk. Good idea, lady.

[…] I handed out papers from the copy room recycle bin to protect the tables and my glue system jars (learn more here). I showed the kids via document camera how to brush on the glue water, layer colored tissue, then […]

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