Saturday, August 10, 2013

Using Empty Marker Bottles for Art Journaling

Art journaling may well be addictive.  Luckily, except for the cost of my ever growing art supply collection, it is a positive addiction that has long-term mental health benefits.  At long last, I think I may have found a way to keep up with my need to create things, even when I’m swamped with kids and housework and my job.  There is something about this kind of journaling that takes some of the pressure off to be perfect.  It’s also something that can be done in spurts, which, when things are crazy-busy, is ├╝ber-important.  

Like anything else, though, it helps to be organized.  It’s possible to spend hours on journal pages, but it doesn’t have to, as long as you have supplies arranged in a way to be easily accessible when you have a few spare minutes. 

I bought these empty marker bottles from Dick Blick because it came up as a useful tool in the Mermaid Circus class I am taking (which is awesome, by the way).  I first used it to put a mix of cheapie acrylic craft paint and water.  It works like a charm.  Then I had this brilliant idea (not so brilliant, as it turned out, since it’s mentioned as a use in the product description) to put some of my watercolors in it.  The result—completely awesome!  I can now keep these little bottles at hand and add watercolor any time I want to without having to dig out my paints, palette, brushes and water.  They lend towards portability, too, so I can take them out with me without having to haul all those supplies.

So here’s what I did:
1.      I put a tiny bit of water in the bottles so that when I added the paint, it wouldn’t stick to the bottom.
2.      I added about a pea size bit of paint and then filled up the bottle just under the first divot mark.  It’s easier to add water than add paint. 
3.      I put the top on (the part with the porous surface) and then the cap.
4.      I shook the bottles until the paint dissolved into the water.  Even my oldest, most solid watercolor paint dissolved just fine. 
Here’s what I tested the bottles on.

Now I have watercolors to go, whether I’m trying to prep a page in between steps in getting dinner ready or heading to the local coffee shop (or pub) to get some me time.

The following are some useful links for you:

The Mermaid Circus is starting another round in September.  It is well worth the money and an excellent way to recharge artistically.  I have done more artwork in the last three months than the previous year all together.  Jane Davenport and Teesha Moore are fabulous teachers and stupendous artists.

Dick Blick is my go-to place for art supplies.  I usually wait for sales and buy online.  This link goes straight to the empty marker bottles.

My watercolor paints are from Daniel Smith, an art store here in the Seattle area.  The Daniel Smith brand of watercolors are my favorite. 


  1. Nice! I can't wait to get busy with mine! I've also bought some cheap (e-bay) plasic pump aerosol (like the kind one uses for olive oil in the kitchen) to use to lay down color with but even with thinner and water my acrylics were too gloopy (technical term). Maybe I should try with watercolors or inks. Great post-- keep 'em coming :-)

  2. That's a great idea, Jen. Gloppy is totally a technical term--I know exactly what you mean ;)I would think the watercolor and/or ink would work well. I have some tiny ranger ones that are meant for their alcohol inks and those work like a charm. Thanks for leaving a comment!

  3. awesome! We have discovered so much in Mermaid Circus! and the experimentation keeps going!

  4. Thanks Steph for sharing these multiple uses and sources for marker bottles! I enjoyed seeing your drawing/painting of your last post. So nice to see you posting again. Hope you find more time for your wonderful artwork!