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Paint Chip Crafts for the Classroom: Ideas for Teachers and Kids

Updated on September 10, 2016
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Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.


Most teachers are frequently looking for classroom materials that are inexpensive. If you're interested in making some of your own materials, most likely you still don't want to spend a lot of money on them. Paint chip crafts are a great option. Not only are paint chips readily available but many teachers have already come up with great ideas for them. Most of the academic ideas here are for elementary grades, but they can be adapted for older students.

There are so many projects for paint chips in the classroom

This article covers the following categories:
Decor and Wall Items
Language Arts

Why use paint chips for classroom crafts?

  • Free. The main reason that many people craft with paint chips is because they're free. Please don't hoard piles and piles of them in your classroom. They aren't taking them out of stores any time soon. If you have a project in mind, simply pick up a few.
  • Readily available. Any hardware store and big box store that has a paint department has paint chips. Unless you live in an extremely rural area, it's likely that you live pretty close to a store that carries paint chips.
  • Sturdy. Paint chips are printed on heavy duty cardstock that will hold up well for a wide variety of projects.
  • Different colors. The color selection will vary in different stores, but most places carry more colors than you ever imagined possible. If you're tiring of the standard construction paper and card stock options, paint chips can be a fun way to mix up the routine.
  • Fun color names. There are some great writing and vocabulary classroom ideas for paint chips that are based on the color names that come on the paint chips.


Paint chip calendars are one of the most popular classroom paint chip projects. Many people create them for their homes and offices as well. It is a great option for anyone who wants a reusable calendar. I've included several different tutorials here because there are some great variations to consider for your own calendar.

  • Classroom DIY. This is about as basic as it gets. You don't have to do anything special with the frame or chips.
  • Incorporating Color. Kati shows you how to add an extra colored circle in the corner of each paint chip block for the date numbers. Alternatively, you can also opt to cut a circle out of each paint chip block for the date numbers.

DIY Paint Chip Calendar

Paint chips can be used for all sorts of classroom decor.
Paint chips can be used for all sorts of classroom decor. | Source

Additional Wall Items and Décor

  • Art. In additional to all of the holiday and seasonal paint chip crafts out there, there are some great options for all-purpose art that is colorful and engaging for the students. This is just one example.
  • Banners. There are so many creative ideas out there for paint chip banners. They are a simple way to change up the décor in the classroom, which can be particularly helpful for holidays when you want something timely but don't have a lot of time or money to spend on it. I've linked one banner idea to get you started.
  • Bulletin board borders. Use narrow paint chip strips to decorate the borders of your bulletin board. Mrs. Novak also uses some chips as a base for her bulletin board title.
  • Guided reading groups. Nancy uses paint chips to organize and call her guided reading groups. If you laminate the chips, you'll be able to reuse them for future groups.
  • Mobile. A paint chip mobile is a fun, unique classroom decoration.

What topics are included here?
Word Wall/Vocabulary Building
  • Alphabet. The Snail's Trail has great, simple ideas for using paint chips to work on alphabet letters and skills (i.e. matching uppercase and lowercase letters).
  • Bookmarks. One excellent way to encourage reading in your classroom is to have students make customized bookmarks. Paint chips are a fun material for bookmarks. I have linked just one idea here. There are lots more out there.
  • Classroom library space savers. Paint chips are an easy, inexpensive option for space savers in your classroom library. Keep a small stack of them right by the library so students can grab them independently as they need them.
  • Creative writing prompts. Students can use the color names from paint chips as story starters for creative writing pieces. Consider making a key ring with these prompts for multiple uses. You can also simply punch paint chips and write your own prompts or story starters on them.
  • Poetry. Colors evoke emotions and memories for many people. Have students choose paint chips to get their wheels turning for poetry ideas. The author has a poetry template that she sometimes uses with her students.
  • Word building/word families with letters, blends, and digraphs. If you've searched for paint chip classroom ideas on Pinterest, you've probably seen this in one form or another. It's a classic teaching tool, and there is no reason that you can't make your own version with paint chips. This post includes a comprehensive list of letters, blends, digraphs,and word endings. Create a variation of this concept with word sliders.

DIY: Paint Chip Initials. This could be a great class art project, especially for younger students who are working on their letters.

You can use paint chips to make colorful letters like these.
You can use paint chips to make colorful letters like these. | Source

Four Section Paint Chip Ideas

  • Dictionary skills. Four section paint chips are perfect for recording different components of a dictionary entry. Even if you don't use paper dictionaries in your classroom anymore, this is still applicable for online dictionary entries.
  • Grammatical constructions. Break down the different parts of a sentence.
  • Main idea and details. This is pretty self-explanatory.
  • Sequencing. Briefly outline the components for any piece of writing.
  • Vocabulary. Write the word, definition, sentence, and a picture. Instead of sentence and picture, you could also have students write synonyms and antonyms.

[Source: 2nd Grade with Mrs. Wade: Calling All Paint Chip Stealers!]

  • Fact families. Four section paint chips are ideal for documenting fact families. You can use this for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
  • Place value. Flip a four section chip on its side and use it as a place value chart. Make place value materials that will last for a while by labeling the chips with place value terms before laminating them. Then students can write on them with dry erase markers.

Design your own classroom board game and use paint chips for the board, cards, etc.
Design your own classroom board game and use paint chips for the board, cards, etc. | Source
  • Board game. You can use paint chips to create numerous board games for your students. Rachel's game consists of silly things to do such as act like a robot or do toe touches. The only other materials she uses for it are Legos and coins. You can customize this concept for any subject.
  • Color matching. Like a Pretty Petunia has an innovative idea for using paint chips to help students learn color words. This is a great way to work on fine motor skills, too.
  • Memory. This is one of those ideas that is so simple that you won't be able to believe that you never thought of it yourself.

Color Recognition Matching Game with Paint Chips

One More Great Paint Chip Classroom Idea

  • Puppets. There are so many ways that students can use puppets in the classroom for both structured (i.e. acting out a reading group story) and unstructured (i.e. making up their own play during indoor recess) activities. Give students the materials and let them create their own puppets.

If you enjoy making your own classroom materials, check this out.

© 2012 Rose Clearfield


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    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      8 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Marisa! That's great. :)

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 

      8 years ago from Texas

      Oh my! Do you have my imagination running! So many great ideas and opportunities to use these colorful samples. I can't say enough. I'll definitely be sharing this and bookmarking it in my ed. files. Thanks so much.

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      8 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      agusfanani, I hope that they do!

      Thanks, Tammy! I'm so glad that this is applicable for moms, too.

      That's great, Keeley. :) Thanks!

    • Keeley Shea profile image

      Keeley Shea 

      8 years ago from Norwich, CT

      WOW! This is fantastic! Great ideas, so detailed, you covered everything. I think I will go to the paint store today and collect some paint chips. LOL! Thanks for writing.

    • tammyswallow profile image


      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Gorgeous hub. These suggestions are very creative and colorful. They are great for teachers and for stay at homes like me. Sharing and pinning!

    • agusfanani profile image


      8 years ago from Indonesia

      Teachers must get a lot of advantages from information about how to use Paint Chip Crafts for the Classroom. Thank you for this useful hub.

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      8 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Leah! I wouldn't have thought of it myself either. It's amazing how many creative people are out there.

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 

      8 years ago from Western New York

      I never would have thought of using paint chips to learn math facts - what a brilliant idea, randomcreative!

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      8 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much, heartexpressions, TeachableMoments, and Heather Says!

    • Heather Says profile image


      8 years ago from Arizona

      Very cute. I was just wondering what to do with some paint chips I had laying around from previous crafts. Great ideas.

    • TeachableMoments profile image


      8 years ago from California

      Great ideas! Very useful. Well presented hub!

    • heartexpressions profile image


      8 years ago

      Great ideas - loved it. Voted up and useful.


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