8 Creative Ways to Repurpose Your Practice Paintings

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One fact about artists: We practice a lot! And because of this, we accumulate many (many!) extra pieces of art. Instead of tossing those watercolors in the trash, why not turn them into entirely new works of art, or re-purpose them into something you can use?

Ready to recycle your old watercolor practice paintings? Try these creative ideas.

1. Watercolor gift tags

You can use a special punch for this or simply trace a pre-made tag — then punch holes at the top and tie some ribbon or string through them.

2. Watercolor garland

I used a large flower paper punch, lined up the cut-outs next to each other and fed them through my sewing machine to bind them together. (I sewed two lines through all of them, which worked beautifully!) Want a new-sew option? Simply punch holes on either side and string them onto yarn or twine.

3. Watercolor board collage

We've all been there: You make an amazing, say, flower as part of your painting but the rest of it is just ho-hum. Enter mixed media art: Simply cut out the parts of the work you liked best and use them to make something entirely new. Yup, it's like a fancy collage!

4. Watercolor bookmarks

If you have some abstract experiments or watercolor washes lying around, cut them into strips that are around 7" to 8" long and 1½" to 2" wide. Viola! The most perfect bookmarks. (You can even sign the back and then laminate for extra durability.)

5. Watercolor butterfly art

Simple shapes can make a big impact when they're grouped together! Use a butterfly punch to cut out winged shapes from a watercolor painting. Then line up the butterflies in rows on a clean sheet of watercolor paper. Use glue or adhesive dots to attach them. Or, take the look 3D by bending the butterflies in the middle and attaching just the centers.

6. Watercolor cut-out cards

Cut out small shapes and use them as decorative pieces for birthday and thank you cards.  Add some ink doodles, stamped messages and washi tape, and you are good to go!

7. Watercolor clip art

Practice washes and small practice pieces can easily be turned into digital clip art. Actually, you can do this with any of your watercolor pieces, not just your practice pieces. Scan your work at 300 dpi or higher as a .png file. Then crop the white space to make a small clip art file. You can use these later on on cards or logos.

8. Watercolor heart collage

Cut your old paintings into heart shapes and arrange the cut-outs in a heart-shaped-cluster on your wall! Or choose any shape based on what holiday is coming up ... like a tree for Christmas or pumpkins for Halloween!

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8 Creative Ways to Repurpose Your Practice Paintings