Arts and Crafts in the Kitchen

Use of Kitchen Tools in Art, Crafts, and Mixed Media Techniques

Artists and crafters are for the most part naturally inventive and learn from experience how to make do with what’s on hand. The kitchen is a great place to find budget-saving tools. Walkthrough the kitchen and look at many basic small appliances and supplies in a new way.

Small Crock Pot

The term “encaustic wax” sounds a little bit intimidating, and possibly dangerous, right? But this mixed media technique uses simple beeswax, which smells wonderful and is easy to work with. It’s definitely worth it to give the encaustic wax technique a try. All you need is some beeswax, a small crockpot (side dish size), and an old paintbrush with a wooden handle. (Check shops that carry candle-making supplies or even websites such as to find beeswax.)

Small crockpots can often be found brand new for less than $10. Check local thrift stores for even lower prices. Put the beeswax in the crockpot and turn it on low so the beeswax will melt. Use the paintbrush to apply melted beeswax to a variety of art projects, then simply turn off the crockpot when you’re done. It’s fine to leave the paintbrush stored in the crockpot.

Toaster Oven

The toaster oven isn’t just for toasting bread and accumulating crumbs. Artists who work with paper clay know that toaster ovens are great for speeding up drying time. Paperclay will air dry just fine, but if you are impatient and hate to wait, try the toaster oven to move things along. Place small paper clay items on a baking tray that has been covered with aluminum foil.

Set the toaster oven on the lowest setting and let it “bake” for 10 minutes or so. Check the paper clay often, since this method can cause more cracking than air drying. If the paper clay is covering a styrofoam armature, avoid using the toaster oven and just let it air dry. Styrofoam can give off toxic fumes when it’s heated.


Many artists love to give a vintage appearance to paper and there are several wonderful products on the market that replicate a “coffee stained” look. To save money, try this technique. It takes a little bit of extra effort, but brewed coffee from your own coffee pot can be used to age artwork. “Paint” paper with cooled coffee and allow it to dry.

To speed up drying time, use a hairdryer. After you’ve brewed the coffee, save those used coffee filters. Empty out the grounds and allow the filters to dry, then think about how the beautifully stained filters can be used to enhance your artwork. Dried filters can be stamped, painted, sewn together, and drawn on. Cut them into squares to add texture to a mixed media piece.

Vintage Warming Trays

Remember those old-fashioned warming trays that hostesses used to keep casseroles warm? These trays also have some crafty uses that you may not have tried. For example, gather some crayon stubs and sort them by color in the cups of an old muffin tin. Be sure all the paper has been peeled from the crayons and break up any large pieces. Turn the tray on to the “low” setting and set the muffin tin on the tray.

If the crayons don’t melt on the low setting, turn up the heat in small increments until they start melting. After the crayons are completely liquid, dip an old paintbrush into the melted crayon and paint on paper, wood, or canvas. The melted crayon will dry and harden quickly as it is brushed onto the paper, with an appearance similar to oil paint. This is also a good project for children, as long as there is adult supervision. Check local thrift stores for inexpensive warming trays.

This article only covered a few examples of the many ways that kitchen items can help artists and crafters work with even more creativity and maybe even learn some new techniques. Take another look at those gadgets, tools, and supplies in the kitchen and put them to crafty use.

Vintage Food Warming Trays Ideas

Artistic Kitchen by 4M Group

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