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Use It or Lose It Destashing with Spray Paints

Playing around layering spray paints and a stencil to create patterned papers

There isn’t enough space in my studio.  A common problem for me since I seem to collect all sorts of things.  To remedy this situation, I have given myself a deadline to use it or lose it.  Whatever spray paints from a long ignored drawer I don’t use up today, get donated to a local art studio that works with kids.  What freedom to destash this way!

Why did I have such a build up of spray paints?

  • I only saw spray paints at WalMart and the such and they didn’t have the exact colors I wanted but I kept trying to find colors I loved.  They weren’t expensive at all so it was easy to just try a new one.
  • These are oil based which means they really build up on stencils (but I can’t resist using stencils with them!)
  • They leave my hands super sticky if I don’t wear gloves.  I hate wearing gloves.
  • They stink of spray paint chemicals.  Not a surprise, but still a strong odor.

At some point I learned a better way to spray paint.

A water based spray paint had less of an odor, would wash off of stencils after being soaked in water, washed off my hands with soap and water, had my colors and always had my colors available, not just for one season.  Here’s the brand I use most often now.

With the attitude of “Use it or lose it” I was totally free to see what happened, to experiment, and to have fun with color even if they weren’t my usual rainbow colors. Here is just one of papers I made with the Dream Landscape stencil while attempting to use up 30+ cans of spray paint.  You can see more of what I was up to over on Instagram.  I’ve recently jumped into that and am becoming quite enamored with it! @carolyn_dube

Reality check after a full day of play.

There’s a lot more paint in one can than I expected, let alone 30+ cans.  The cans that were full enough to donate have been given away and I extended my deadline by a day to use up the last remnants in the almost empty cans.  Off to play some more!

Playing around layering spray paints and a stencil to create patterned papers
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  • Jean Marmo June 7, 2015, 3:45 pm

    Hmm…. should see what spray paints we have hanging around!

  • Sylvia Tabor June 8, 2015, 7:09 am

    Oh boy, I NEVER thought of using regular spray paint! Such GREAT, even coverage! But, I too, would NOT like the cleanup of oil based!! But now, you just opened a whole new world via Blick!!

  • stephanie June 8, 2015, 11:16 am

    Nice starter pages!

  • Marjie Kemper June 8, 2015, 11:21 am

    Love that deadline approach to cleaning up. Fabulous fun pages too!

  • Jane Christensen June 8, 2015, 1:04 pm

    What a neat stencil you used! Looks like you were having fun.

  • Caroline Duncan June 8, 2015, 6:06 pm

    The background came out great with the sprays! Love you are giving them away instead of just chucking in the trash. I don’t use oil or acrylic spray paints because I don’t like to wear a mask and won’t use them without a mask. But I have drawers with too much stuff in them too that need cleaning out, so I can sympathize with trying to stay organized. It’s never ending it seems. LOL

  • Lynda Shoup June 8, 2015, 9:15 pm

    What a great idea! I’m going to adopt your idea and see if I just can’t get some of my excess used or donated. The end result was beautiful. I really enjoyed reading this post.

  • Maria McGuire June 8, 2015, 10:04 pm

    That is a very good way to use up a stash of spray paint. I must admit I have quite a few cans of this stuff in my garage too. Looks like you had a fun day of play 🙂

  • Gayle June 14, 2015, 6:32 pm

    Since these were oil-based paints, just wondering if you plan to add other layers and if so, what could be used? I presume that any water-based products would not adhere. What kind of pens would write on these. The designs are certainly beautiful as they are! As always, your videos are so fun and inspiring.

    • Carolyn Dube June 14, 2015, 6:56 pm

      I’ll be using them in something Gayle…probably an art journal to start and I’ll share the steps so you can see how things work over it so keep your eyes out in the near future. Things like watercolors or water color like spray inks won’t work very well on them but an awful lot works well on it. Hope this helps!

  • kathleen codyrachel June 20, 2015, 4:18 pm

    Love this I am in the processing of lightening my art supplies as well as a lot of things that I have held on too for way too long – love what you did – as always oh also you have the sweetest voice – love you videos !

  • JANET December 30, 2023, 11:49 am

    Love your logic! You are one sharp gal! Thanks for all your helpful hints.