Leftover Acrylic Paint Textured Backgrounds

Do you have leftover paint from a project that you don’t want to waste?

These textured backgrounds are easy, so much fun and uses leftover paint that would normally be wasted! I had over 30 paint palettes with random amounts and color leftover from our still life unit. Students love picking out the dried acrylic molds (blows their mind) but I hated the thought of wasting paint.

I decided spur of the moment to do these acrylic texture paintings. I gave them three rules:

NO PAINTBRUSHES! I gave them plastic forks, cardboard squares, sad pencils, styrofoam cups and paper towels. You could go to town stamping random objects you have laying around, and you can use tempera paint too!

NO FINGER PAINTING! I remind them this is acrylic paint and the only mess or mixing of color should happen on their paper. Just because this is abstract does not mean it’s a hot mess or done sloppily!

HAVE FUN! It always surprises me how stressed out students get when you don’t tell them exactly what to do. I told them this is abstract and does not have to look like or represent anything. Let loose, explore your random color selection and random materials!

Here are some of my favorites:

These are beautiful as just as they are, but I plan to use them as a jumping off point for another artwork.Β  My first plan is to do contour drawing of faces (with practice first, of course!) with a black or white oil pastel.Β  My backup plan is another food related oil pastel drawing to serve as an extension activity for the donuts they are currently working on.Β  I’m also toying of the idea of doing deer skull paintings. Basically, I have not decided at all.

What do you do with your leftover paint?
What would you put on these textured backgrounds?