DIY: Make your own dot dabbers for preschool

A great way to use recycled materials and save money in the classroom!

I love dot dabbers and as I prepare for the up and coming preschool year, I have been making my list of things I need to restock. I use up dot dabbers pretty quickly so I added them to the list but then I got to wondering if I could possibly make my own dot dabbers.. Hmmm…

I have been saving small water bottles for something and I decided to use them. They are fairly easy to squeeze and they would hold more than enough paint to last me a while…

The How-To

I started by adding tempera paint to the water bottle. I filled the bottle about 1/4 full of paint….

Next, I added water up to the top of the bottle but not all the way to the top.  I didn’t know how much water per paint I should add but without the water, the paint was too thick. So this seemed to work pretty well. I suppose more paint could be added but I would not do less…

Then I put the lid back on the bottle and shook it really well to mix the paint and water up good. After the paint was ready to go, I was down to the tricky part. I needed to find something that would disperse the paint as evenly as possible but this was no easy task. I tried a cotton ball but it just got sopping wet and fell into the bottle after a few dabs. So I tried out these make-up sponges.

The makeup sponges don’t fit properly inside the bottle so I used tiny rubber bands and banded the sponges around the outside lip of the bottle. Make sure the bands are tightly on so they hold the sponge securely…

Testing the Paint Dabbers

Then I flipped the bottles over and gave them a squeeze…

A Helpful Tip

Let me say right now that if you squeeze the bottles hard enough, it is likely the sponge will pop off. I didn’t have a problem but I was being somewhat careful (but not too careful) so I wouldn’t end up with paint all over the table. I suggest that you give a few pointers to the children about squeezing the bottles gently so the paint will come out without popping off the top.

My paint was just a tad watery but it left really beautiful dots anyway. My husband walked by and said “what are you doing besides making lots of dots!”  I took that as a compliment…

I sat and played with my dot dabbers for quite awhile and barely ran through any paint…

Reusing the Paint Dabbers

Once you are done painting then just take off the sponges and rinse them out for another day. Add the lid to the bottle and put the paint away for another day too…

Now that I got you thinking, perhaps you have another idea for how to make a dot dabber or at the minimum, what else could be used for the top. Now that I have this going – my mind is twirling with other possibilities. I will have to work on those in my spare time!!

Picture of Deborah J Stewart

Deborah J Stewart

Every time I think I know everything I need to know about teaching young children, God says, "Hold on a minute!" and gives me a new challenge.

Let me tell ya...

With each new challenge that you overcome, you will find yourself better equipped and more passionate about teaching young children.

God didn't call wimps to lead, teach, or care for His children. Nope, he has high expectations, so get ready. You will have to give your very best but after teaching for over 30 years, I can tell you that it is a wonderful and rewarding journey.

Whenever your calling feels hard, just remember, 'He who began a good work in you (and in the children you serve) will be faithful to complete it.'

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