Work Smarter, Part 2 (Art Hacks)

Last week on timotheories, we gave you dear readers a top 10 list of skills to invest in.

That list was good for anyone looking to improve, but I originally wrote the topic because artists need help too and sometimes we don’t go looking in typical channels for it.

Which got me to thinking.

Because timotheories is all about that ace, better known as the arts, we’re bringing back the life hacks for a more in-depth solution for artists. This time let’s focus on technical hacks.

Below is a list of the top 15 art hacks I’ve come across in my travels as an artist. I’ve scoured the internet (links at the end of the list) and have included some hacks which I have used, some I’d like to, and some I personally believe would benefit anyone who is creative and has a lot of projects on the go.

What is great about a list like this, is that it allows you to contribute to the discussion, and who knows maybe one of you has a hack we’ve never even considered… Now let’s dig in.

Here are my top 15 technical hacks, in no particular order.
  1. Organize your loose files, papers, and canvas by installing magazine racks or shoe organizers. Also consider an old suitcase for organizing collage and scraps.
  2. Never struggle with tape again – use paper clips or bread clips on one end of roll to keep your place OR put tape in the microwave briefly (5-10 seconds) to soften it up and find the end.
  3. Keep scissors sharp by folding aluminum foil over itself a few times, then cutting through it until satisfied.
  4. Remove oil paint from your hands with baby wipes. For when water and soap won’t work.
  5. Maximize your paint can/jar/tube lifespan – put rubber bands around cans to wipe brushes, saran wrap over tubes before adding the cap, take extra paint from the jar and store it in a sta-wet palette OR a plastic container in the fridge. When your jars are stuck, open them with a strip of duct tape – half on the lid, half as a handle.
    10481755764_dbc51ab991_o (1)
  6. Paper towels can save your drawings life. Place a non-textured towel where your arm would rest to reduce and even prevent smearing.
  7. Maintain your paintbrushes. After washing dip the brush in milk and wrap the edge with a rubber band to reform the point OR apply hair conditioner or hair gel after cleaning for the same results.
  8. Brush maintenance part 2 – Consider storing brushes horizontally in aluminum foil lined with paper towels to speed up dry time OR putting them in a planter with sand/beans.
  9. Want your computer space clean and in order? Use binder clips when the keyboard feet break, and if you need to clean, consider using post-it-notes between the keys. If your laptop overheats, place it on top an egg carton.
  10. Speaking of electronics, you can also loop cables through binder clips to keep track of your cords and put unused cords in empty toilet rolls.
  11. Storing your art supplies is important – As mentioned already, binder clips are amazing, especially for hanging paint tubes on nails. You can also use magnets to store paint upside down or add them to a cupcake stand. Pens/pencils can be stored in cups on wine racks.
  12. When short on space – install a drop down table and then add glue a cutting mat to the top. If you are feeling particularly clever, add a magnetized quilt to the top which can be used to iron curled paper.
  13. Chalkboard paint is important. Chalkboard paint can be applied to doors, jars, walls, and a myriad of other objects to help create idea lists, supply lists, to-do lists, and label your stuff. Don’t be stingy with it.
  14. Similar to magnets, you need to embrace velcro. Velcro can be used to fix mats to the floor and then quickly removed when painting. Alternatively, they can also be used to set up baskets that stay in place.
  15. Converting larger furniture to serve as storage is also an option. Table tops can store paper. Ladders can store tape, ribbons, and fabric, while ceiling tiles could become a marker rack. And please consider a tool chest or card catalog cabinets for your assorted little things.

And there you have it! A technical list of hacks for creative types. And as promised, I have included links to my sources – 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

As I mentioned once already friends, sometimes it can be difficult to learn these tips. I have a theory that it’s because artists “seem” to represent a small percentage of the population. We don’t make an effort to share our findings, because we think there aren’t a lot of people who would benefit from them, but obviously that is not true.

What do you think? Are these art hacks awesome? Do you have some other ones? Please leave comments and subscribe if you haven’t already, I’ll have more wisdom next Wednesday, and something timely tomorrow.


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