Walmart Art


You have probably already come to expect weird things from me. Am I right? I see things in a different way from a lot of people. But there are also those among you who are just like me. You are weird, too. Hahahaha! Not long ago I talked about school supplies and how you could incorporate them into your art. I do that each year at the beginning of school. This year someone asked me if I had ever thought about doing a hardware post. I had thought about it. But I had not made one. Well I have now and you are the first people to see it. Welcome to Alice’s Epic Walmart Art Finds! Prepare to be dazzled. Hahahaha!

Each morning Mark does his physical therapy by walking laps inside our Walmart in the next town over. A couple days ago I needed something in the hardware department and it reminded me about making this post. So I was looking at every item in the department – and a few other departments – while the workers were stocking shelves. There I was – climbing over things, shooting around palettes of merchandise, waiting for clerks to move out of the way. And I got stopped four times by workers being helpful. I just smiled each time and said I was fine. But there was this one clerk that watched me the entire time I was in the store. I was hoping she would ask me what I was doing so I could tell her. Hahahahaha! Ok, back to the post. Many of these items you may already have in your home. Let me show you a different way to look at them. Here we have a 180 foot roll of drywall tape. It is fiberglass – kind of like a plastic. You could use a section of this tape on a gelli plate on top of your acrylic layer – it would make some really great texture for gelli prints! You could use it like a stencil on an art journal page and pounce color through it. You could use it to make awesome backgrounds to tangle on. Use a brush to paint color or ink or texture paste over a piece of this tape onto your page below. When you are done just throw the piece you use away. You have 180 feet of this stuff! That is 2,160 inches. That is a whole lot of cool stencil material for just a measly $5.47. The nerd in me has to know – you know where I am going with this? That comes out to about $0.003 an inch! And if you have some already at home and want to reuse it – it is made of a plastic type material and I think you could wash it and reuse it?

Want to make a display of art? A way to enjoy those tiles you tangled? How about running a length of twine or fishing line and using clothespins to attach your art pieces to the line? It would make it easy to swap your art around when you want to also. My daughter does this with polaroid photos of her friends. She has one of those cute little instant cameras that does the smaller size photos . . .

. . . these pins in the craft section are what Kali uses. They are smaller than the kind you use to hang your laundry out to dry. Which makes them a little pricier, too. You may already have some of the larger ones at home. I bought some a couple years ago for an art project that I never did and I have absolutely no idea where they are. Yes, this is going to be a wordy post. Sorry, folks.

So not hardware. I was all over the store. You may have one of these in your kitchen. Actually I have one in my paintbrush can. Use this little brush to make texture in your art by dragging it through wet paint. It will also work on a gelli plate to add texture and design. You could even paint the color right onto your paper using this as a brush! I’ve used mine to splatter ink onto a page before. Only $3.97 unless you already have one!

Speaking of brushes – how about this? This shot just shows you the price.

It’s plastic so it should hold up just fine. Yes, it is made to hold your silverware but why couldn’t it just as easily hold a selection of pens, pencils, brushes, palette knives, rulers, small scissors? I imagine you could think of a few more supplies that could be kept in one of these cutlery trays. And it is hard to beat at $1.97!

Whether you art journal or paint or make ATCs or create beautiful tangled art these jewels could work for you! In the craft section, these come in a bunch of different colors. And you get 60 adhesive stones for just 97 cents! You don’t even need glue – these come pre-glued! I love to use these! One or two strategically placed just really makes my art so much more fun!

OK, I have never thought about this one before but an idea struck as I stood in the kitchen section staring at these lovely little flexible ice cube trays. Think watercolor and gouache. Paints that can be poured or squeezed into little trays and left to harden. Then just use a wet brush to lift color and make art. Whether you paint pictures like Sandra and Jennifer or make backgrounds like I do – this could work. The little cubes that hard watercolor comes in are called pans. You can buy pans and a storage container on Amazon for a decent amount of money. But here at Walmart you can get a rubber container for $3.96 and all you need to do is add the paint. Do you have tubes of color on hand already? Squirt them into these little trays and sit them somewhere safe from your cat to dry and harden. I have a metal container I paid almost $50 for to do the same thing. Yes, it holds more colors but this is more affordable. Just be sure to label your colors in some manner – a color chart maybe or add the name right on the tray with a black sharpie – the colored tray may make the paint colors look different – making them hard to identify.

The wells in this one are a lot deeper – close to an inch I would think.

This tray is harder but still flexible to a point . . .

. . . and these stack if you alternate the direction they face. And the price is even better! I told you this was going to be a weird one.

Silly Walmart thinks these are prep bowls and condiment cups. But do you know what they really are? How about paint water bowls? Clean water in one, dirty water in the other? To work with any of your paints. I have the ones on the right and they work great! The ones on the left hold twice as much!

Need to stir some paint? Or gesso or any other wet media? Need to make an impromptu binding for a hand made journal? Want to use these to make texture on gelli plates or in art journal pages? There are 100 skewers in this package for 97 cents. You can do a lot with this package and don’t even get me thinking about popsicle sticks. Why didn’t I get a photo of popsicle sticks????

Are you starting to understand the way I think? Weird, right? I love it! You hear me talk about my fancy pants craft mat almost every day. It costs like sixteen dollars on Amazon. Walmart has pretty vinyl placemats for 94 cents each. If you want a kids placemat they cost a dollar more. Right now they have these plus about four more designs. They are roughly the same size as the Ranger craft mat. Grab one or two – that is all you need. And they store flat – that is a plus in my book! They will keep your desk top clean.

Storage. Affordable. Many of you aren’t blessed with a room dedicated to art like I am. It was a requirement when we bought this house. But I didn’t start that way. My art journey started with a cardboard box and a couple plastic baskets. They work. Even now I use plastic boxes on the shelves here in my room. These are roughly the size of a small shoebox and they can hold a lot. Any type of art supply. Tiles, pens, pencils, brushes, paints, jewels, washi tape, scissors, rulers, stencils, stamps, ink pads, well … you get the idea. You own it? Stick it in a basket.

And they come in other sizes, too. Long skinny ones and shorter wider ones. Meant here for silverware storage – they work great for storing art supplies. And at this price you can get several. Sometimes at the Dollar Tree you can get 3 – 4 for a dollar.

Do you have a bookshelf you can use to store your supplies? These baskets are great for storing bottles of craft paint or washi tape or gesso or any mixed media bottles. Journals, sketchbooks, art books. Yep. This could be for you. It costs a bit more but maybe it’s worth it.

I have these in the closet on a shelf. I can store three times the amount of stuff in one bit of space.

Sorry, I didn’t realize the Walmart placement page was in this box. Pretend it isn’t there. Hahahaha! I know these racks are meant to be used in the kitchen cupboards or in your clothes closet to stack shoes or purses or whatever, but start rethinking these same items and think how you can use them with your art supplies.

Have you drooled over the IKEA rolling carts? Yes, they are sturdier than this cart but that doesn’t mean this cart couldn’t be the answer to your art needs. Maybe you don’t have a designated art area and you have to dig around and look for what you want when you have a minute to make art? Maybe you have trouble finding things because they are in random places all over your house? Stuff all your supplies into this cart and at night you can roll it right into the living room to make art while you watch TV. Or take it to the kitchen table to work while you have your morning coffee. The point is for $14.46 this cart could be answer you have been looking for. And no, I don’t get any commission from Walmart. Hahahaha! Too bad, right?

Back to the hardware section, this rope is narrow. Remember awhile back when a bunch of us were covering twine with ink or paint and closing it inside the pages of an art journal? Then we would pull the twine out and it would leave a lovely design on our pages? Here you go! I tried a bunch of different strings and yarns and this is what worked best for me. Let me show you an example:

This is what you can do with that rope. And it has 40 feet – that is a whole lot of beautiful waiting to happen!

Need a new mark making tool? You may have some of these already because they sound like a handy thing to have on hand. Hahahaha! I can assure I do not have one of these because I have never even heard of them before. But can you see the edges on the flat outer side? Looks like there might be a raised outer and inner edge. You could use these with a stamp pad and stamp double circles on mixed media pieces. You could use them to stamp texture on a gelli plate. Then . . .

. . . you definitely have two different edges here. You could use these edges to roll color on to a page, to roll texture onto a gelli plate, to roll inked edges on an art journal page. Start expanding your thinking and remember the household supplies you already have on hand. How could you incorporate one of these into your art making?

Hahahahahaha! A bed caster. With a brake! Any idea where I am going with this one? I can’t believe I thought of it! And you may have some of these in your basement – we do, they came with the house – or in your attic.

Unlock that brake and use this as a brayer! Yep! Hahahahahaha! Some of those brayers on Amazon can get expensive. Is this the perfect brayer? No, it isn’t, but it will work. I promise cause I tried brayering in the hardware section. Probably why that lady followed me everywhere. Like she thought I was going to steal something. But that’s ok. At least she didn’t call security on me. And this really was a fun day at Walmart!

Reflective numbers. I don’t honestly remember why I took this photo. How do you think YOU could work these into YOUR art?

Plastic putty knives. My brain immediately went to paint scrapper. And not the kind like you find in the hardware section because those usually have metal blades, but the kind like I have in my drawer. Plastic credit cards, plastic hotel room keys. The kind I can use to scrape a layer of gesso over an art journal page. The kind I can use to scrape gel medium on a collage element, that I use to scrap a layer of acrylic paint over a board to make art on. To cover an entire page with color. You’ve seen me use them. I used to travel all the time and I have a ton of plastic cards for this purpose. These putty knives come in a couple sizes and they can be cleaned off after you use them. Want to see how thin they are?

Look at that edge. Thin. And you could store them in your cutlery drawer I showed you or one of those white baskets. Hahahaha! Multitasking like a boss!

Let’s talk alcohol ink. Well, that will be another post but for now – the Ranger ones smell. Like really a lot. Fumes are not my friend. Why have I never thought about this before? I think they would help with the fumes and you get 5 to a pack. And supposedly they are ‘hyper tough’ – maybe you could tangle one and make it pretty?

I use painter’s tape when I want to connect pieces of paper. I showed you that recently when I took those six triangle tiles and taped them together on the back side. Painter’s tape normally comes off without destroying your paper. It comes in a variety of sizes and the roll I am using now I have had for about 8 years. I use it sometimes as a string, sometimes I section my page off into smaller areas and paint over it, then remove these tapes. A fun way to make art!

My friend Robin Mead uses masking tape right on the pages in her handmade journals. She paints over these strips and uses them as texture. Sometimes she stitches over them which gives even more texture. And you get 55 yards on one of these rolls. That is a lot for just 96 cents! I don’t think these tapes would work as well for a clean pull, though. So I would plan on leaving them in place and making them part of your art like Robin does.

I even hit the hunting section for a minute looking for hardware. Talking rolls of washi tape storage. I paid good money at Hobby Lobby to get a similar box to store washi tape in. This could also be a travel box for pens and pencils and crayons and pastels and a lot of other artsy stuff! And just look at that label! So glad this plastic won’t rust. Hahahaha! Oh, I guess they meant things inside won’t rust? Yeah, we wouldn’t want our supplies to rust. That would be bad.

And my last find for the day – paint chips! In the old days we incorporated these into scrapbook pages. Art journaling is no different other than you may not use as many photos. You could use these on your pages, they could give you color theme ideas, you could tangle them. They could give you ideas for color combinations and there are so many different ones! And they are free! No, don’t take one of every color and say I told you it was alright. I took four and felt guilty. But they do expect people to take them – that is why they are there. If they ask – say you are using them to make art!

And that’s the end of my epic morning at Walmart. Actually I did all these photos in like 5 minutes because I knew Mark would be finished walking soon. And my ideas are not the only ones. I am sure you can think of other ways to use all these products. Please leave some comments with other suggestions. We all benefit that way. Next crazy post? I am thinking the makeup and jewelry departments. Hahahahaha!

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30 thoughts on “Walmart Art

  1. Alice, except for your amazing talents, we could share a brain when it comes things like this. My email name is witget, a weird combo of witch and gadget. My daughter-in- law would tease me and call me a witch, her niece called me inspector gadget because I was always using stuff for things they were never meant for. ??? I know TMI ?

    • hahahaha! I just knew we were related! and I had wondered about the witget – what it meant. now I know 🙂

  2. I think I’ve bought all these items at one time or another and more, lol. I always check out the plastic egg trays too. They’re usually a bit more spendy, but sometimes you’ll find a good deal . The round ones are especially nice because you can arrange your colors to match a color wheel.

    • hmmm. I had one of those egg trays in Florida. I wonder if it made the trip. I’ll have to look!

  3. Such a fun post – so inventive. I’m a big fan of looking for things around the house that can make interesting prints… the bottom of jars often have interesting patterns or textures, the caps of pens can print little circles for added colour or sparkle.

    Fun to remotely browse around a US store too – although I did gulp at the ‘hunting section’ – not exactly something we find in our shops! 😉

    • big hunters here where I live. low income area. most people work 2 or 3 jobs just to feed and shelter their families. they get through the winter on deer meet and potatoes they pick up in the fields. one deer can feed a family for the winter if they are careful. I know it isn’t for everyone but here it is an important aspect of life.

      I have used pen caps, medicine bottles and those caps, so many things around the house. this may be the makings of an I Dare You!

      • Thanks for telling me more about the hunting. Hunting to eat is one thing, and I can appreciate the necessity – it’s hunting for sport by the privileged and wealthy (as it mostly is in the UK) that bothers me. But more than just being judgemental (I hope I didn’t come across that way), I find it fascinating how national and regional differences can show up in what our stores stock!

        • no, I understood and I agree. hunting for the sake of trophies is not what I believe in. feeding your family is what I believe in. there are many differences but I expect our countries are more alike than we realize.

  4. Love it, Lowes and Home Depot are great also. Love carpet tap. Putting all the colorful little pieces that you trim off other project on one side and using the other side to attach to your artwork or cards. Also have a magazine holder made from a Sam’s double oatmeal box, painters tape and a art print catalog we got for free on a cruise we took. Love your ideas.

  5. I bought a barbecue tray used to grill veggies or fish on an open grill to use as a stencil. I also had a small packing tube of cardboard I used as a stamp. When I say small I mean the diameter at the end was less than a half inch wide. That was fun. I have tried painting with the skewers along with mark making. Thinking outside of the box is fun Alice. When I saw the first set of the ice cube trays my first thought was good place to store oil pastels (Neocolors for example). I love the suggestion on the putty knives, plastic ones that is. Credit cards to smooth paint or gesso are not my friends. I have metal palette knives I love. I also bought an icing spreader in the cake decorating section at my local Michael’s to spread paint with. I have not tried that out yet. Thank you, great post. I wish I had a Walmart closer to me!

  6. Oh my gosh I’m doing some of these already – all great suggestions and I love the ice cube tray idea for the watercolors and the dry wall strip for textures! Many Thanks!!

  7. I love this post and I love walking through stores trying t o find alternatives!! Thank you for these. Hmmm…I may have to go to Wal Mart later.

    I am a Zentangle teacher and I used to buy chipboard mats for people to work on. They are not expensive, but you can not clean them and you need a good surface when you use ink and pencil. I purchased ten of those placemats at a dollar store (the ones with a white back). They serve many purposes for my class; from color application to creating beautiful Zentangle creations.

  8. Oh my gosh! This was fun to read about all your awesome buys and your trip to Walmart.
    I am busy into knitting advent scarves for family so tangling has to take a back seat for awhile. But I asure you I am missing this and will continue to read your posts and keep up to date in my mind anyways. Be back as soon as I get 4 of these done. Lots of laughs today. Blessings

    • hahaha! it was fun! I was looking at the jewelry and accessories area today trying to get some ideas.

  9. Oh I chuckled – I have a tool kit I carry with me to work: a paper knife I have from my Grandad’s writing desk which is invaluable for getting glue down the spine of an antiquarian book or into a small space; toothpicks for glue in small places & mending (camels legs on a secondhand nativity set made that saleable as did the Q-tips) not to mention cotton wool. Paper clips make good disposable pokey tools & Glossy Accents bottle unblockers. Clothes pegs are useful for clamping two substrates that you’re gluing together…. Think you’re a lot more adventurous with your ideas though. Good use of time in Walmart rather than spending money!!

    • hahahaha! sooner or later you run out of money and have to be creative 🙂 you have some really good ideas, too! how cool is it that you have your grandad’s knife!

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