Teaching Tips: Messy Mats



Painting mats, messy mats, table protectors…

No matter what you call them, they will save your sanity in the art room. I use them ALL THE TIME.

I started using these quite by accident, years ago while teaching painting in a room with no sink.

I had forgotten to bring newspapers to protect the tables, but had extra sheets of poster paper on hand.

Initially I used them to protect the tables from paint drips, marker stains and oil pastel smears, but then I discovered that some of the kids were using them to clean their brushes in between colors, instead of dipping into their water containers!

Mind. Blown.

Now I use them all the time and I especially love them at home when working at the kitchen table with my daughter.

Here’s how they work:

🌟Place a sheet of 22″ x 30″ poster paper (the inexpensive kind they sell at dollar stores) on the table, underneath the artwork.

🌟Children wipe their brushes on the painting mat, before dipping into a new color.

🌟No need for the children to dip into water between each color, because we all know what too much water does to tempera paint! (Hello watery drips.)

Do you use messy mats?