We've had this thing hanging around the preschool since mid-February:
And like every other preschool, storage space is at a premium so we really can't afford to let large items like this just hang around. It was time to either use it or lose it.
For those of you who missed it, this was part of a donation to our school from the good people at Upcycle Northwest, who have the brilliant business model of reusing and recycling the interesting and useful bi-products of the Seattle area's huge coffee roasting industry. We paved our garden with the over-roasted coffee beans they gave us, and we've used the burlap bags they donated to make our playhouse walls/roof, potato planters, and a sand pit cover, but this large roll of left-over coffee filter paper (with the actual filters stamped out) has just been getting in our way for two months.
We finally made use of it this week.
I've long known that liquid water color and coffee filters are a good combination. It's both fun and beautiful to let the paint slowly spread and blend as the paper absorbs it. We broke out spray bottles full of the stuff, let the kids cut off whatever length of this frilly filter paper they wanted, piled it on lunch trays on our art table and got to work. We also provided cups of paint and brushes for the kids to use once they got tired of accidentally spray painting their own hands and faces when they held the bottles the wrong way or didn't press the spray button with enough vigor to prevent it from just dribbling over their knuckles. (For the record, many of them never got tired of it!)
Even more than regular coffee filters, this industrial grade stuff is sturdy. Unlike regular paper, it's made to get soggy, but otherwise stand up to moisture. No matter how much paint the kids use, it maintains its integrity, merely sloughing off any excess. Not only that, but it dries so quickly that we were able to begin decorating the school with it a half hour later.
That richly colored piece was the work of Finn P. who was
determined to leave "no white."
We took the rest outside to decorate the playground.
The really long pieces were largely the work of Annabelle who, I think, enjoyed
unfurling the paper "all the way out the door" into the hallway as much as she
did the actual painting.
I love knowing that no matter how dewy it gets, or even if it rains, I won't have to later spend hours picking tiny bits of mushy paper pulp from all the surfaces. The paint might wash out, but the paper will survive relatively unscathed, making it easy to remove or even repaint.
Now I'm wondering how many times we can reuse it before we have to send it to the compost. Maybe I will have to come up with permanent storage for this stuff after all . . .
(Hey, I've accidentally written an Earth Day post!)