Contact lens case as watercolor tray or tooth holder

Tracy has sent so many great hacks over the years, but this one stands out:

We’ve used old eye contact cases to make homemade watercolors in (just be sure to let them air dry before screwing cap on again or you may end up with mold problems).

Also, we’ve used them to keep teeth in. [Presumably while they are awaiting pickup by the Tooth Fairy. — Ed.] When I was younger we used old 35mm cases, however in the age of digital cameras film canisters are just not abundant anymore.

Tracy (or anyone) — I forgot to ask you how to make homemade watercolors. Care to explain in the comments?

Tie a ribbon around the doornob to help out a forgetful Tooth Fairy

No-mess watercolor: Dampen the paint with a spray bottle


  1. marci says

    we use a contact case to keep my baby’s medicines in if we’re off gallivanting for the day. when they were crushed to go through his g-tube, the case was really handy to keep the bits together.

  2. Greg says

    You can actually get film canisters in abundance if you go to the local ‘Mart store ask them for any empty film canisters.

    Last time I went I got a large garbage bag full.

  3. mamajud says

    i have one of those cheap 3-dip serving bowls w/ the handle in the middle. I steer the kids into picking 3 colors that “mix well”. Every once in a while, i pick up a few stretched canvasses. When it’s time to paint, I let them pick which “masterpiece” the want to work on. Over the years, I have gathered quite a collection….they make great grandparent gifts…although I confess, I have been hoarding most

  4. mamajud says

    p.s. acrylic paint…..and i forgot to mention the best part….no cleanup. Just let it dry…it won’t bleed into the next batch of colors

  5. Amy S says

    I made paints for my son with food coloring, water, and corn starch. When I first did this he was still at the age where his mouth is the most likely receptacle for new objects, so I wanted it to be something that wouldn’t hurt him if he ate it. (Note: I think food coloring may stain, but I always let him paint or draw in the kitchen, sans clothing, so I’ve never tested that facet of the paint.)

    Anyway, to the paint making:

    1. First boil about a cup of water (the measurements don’t have to be exact, just enough for all the hues you intend to create plus a little extra, just in case).

    2. Mix about a tbsp of cornstarch with a small amount (~1 oz.) of cold water so it doesn’t clump then add that to the pot. Bring the mixture back to a boil.
    *Cornstarch doesn’t reach its full thickening potential until it boils, so add it in small amounts, bring it to a boil, and then add more if necessary until you reach a consistency that looks good to you. Make sure that when it boils it’s a little thinner than your intended finished product because it will thicken as it cools, too.

    (I use the cornstarch to thicken the paint so that it sticks to the brush a little better and doesn’t spill all over the place. Plus it makes the colors more vibrant. You could probably just put food coloring directly into water and have “watercolors” but it would be a lot messier and you’d have to use a heck of a lot more coloring to get the same saturation.)

    3. Let cool to room temp then add the food coloring and mix well. I used ice cube trays as palettes; about two drops per cube makes the colors nice and bright. I didn’t buy a lot of different colorings either, just a basic set (red, yellow, green, and blue) for a dollar and mixed our own hues.

    The only problem with this paint is that it doesn’t hold well, if left out in the trays it starts to gel. You may possibly avoid this by placing the paints in resealable containers but they’re easy, fast, and cheap to make, so I never bothered.