Modified paper cups as paint holders

Liz's tip:

I’ve found a great hack to keep our painting projects easy to clean up and manageable. When we get out the liquid paints for my 2 year old, I pour each color into a Dixie cup. The cups are just a little too tall for the job though, leading to tipping and making it hard for her to see how much she has or what color is inside. To make it more manageable, I cut off the top inch or so of the cup. This way it’s just the right height for a little paint dish. When she’s done painting, all the cups go straight to the trash!

Related: Quick cleanup tips for paint-loving kids


  1. Aurielle says

    i would also recommend using empty butter containers. Just cut a hole in the middle of the lid that’s just the right size of the paintbrush. That way when the kiddos dip their brush in the paint, the hole takes the excess paint off the brush and is virtually spill proof!

  2. Brian says

    They might be a little small, but you could also use the little plastic cups used for condiments. They’re only about an inch tall, so you wouldn’t need to cut them.

  3. Sandy says

    We used the Gerber food jars and the caps as well for paint projects. We used them when we were painting the nursery as well and since they are glass, we could see though easily. Work great when my kid wants to finger paint as well, so he can dip his fingers in and not his whole hand and although they are glass, I have rarely had them break. When we are done, we just close them back up.

  4. Liz says

    What about using egg cartons? Seems less tippy then dixie cups- you could always cut them into smaller pieces for the number of colors of paint you are using, but still have them connected together. Does that make sense?

    I’ve never done that. We have a small plastic paint pallet that we use, from my childhood.

  5. Cynthia says

    Great ideas! I never would have thought of the butter dish tip, and with foam egg cartons, I could just put a piece of that rubber no-slip mat underneath to prevent the paints from accidentally sliding to the floor. Too bad nothing I can think of can prevent my toddler from intentionally dropping things on the floor :)

  6. Andy says

    You could also use the yogurt containers that are non-recyclable. I was trying to think of what to do with the ones that you can’t recycle and I’ve found them to be perfect for art projects – they work gret for dying easter eggs as well.

  7. wesleyjeanne says

    I use the egg carton suggestion: you can take scissors and cut an egg carton into fours, and pour a little paint in each cup. Doesn’t tip, less messy than a palette or paper plate, makes use of a throw-away product, and can be thrown away (or even rinsed out and reused).

  8. Carly says

    We use ice cube trays. The cups are nice and small and they don’t tip over. I am intrigued by the idea of lidded paint cups to squeeze paint off of the brush…that might mean the kids’ painting will dry in less than a day!

  9. Ryder says

    The night of the fight, you may feel a slight sting. That’s pride f*cking with you. F*ck pride. Pride only hurts, it never helps.

  10. Pinkdove says

    Dear Moms, as a art teacher and seamstress I have used many household items with children who are ” artists’ I use butter container lids for paints, just throw them away or clean them when finished. I also use the foam tray that pepople buy with their meat. It is light weight. Paper plates can be used even with BBQ plate holders to keep them steady. You can also use the plastic sectioned dishes with covers that are made for microwaves,picnics and the cover can be put on to keeep unused paint fresh. Cut downto the bottom of paper cups and put them in the bottom of a muffin pan for easy cleaning. Hope these tips help you…