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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Artistic spin

An old salad spinner makes a useful device for creating radiating splashes of color on artwork.King Features (King Features / The Spokesman-Review)
An old salad spinner makes a useful device for creating radiating splashes of color on artwork.King Features (King Features / The Spokesman-Review)
Donna Erickson

When your plastic salad spinner gets old and dingy, you might decide it’s time for a new one … but don’t throw out the old one.

Salad spinners make terrific, surprise painting gadgets. Let me take you for a spin.

Here’s the stuff you need:

•Salad spinner

•White or solid-color plain paper plates trimmed to fit the bottom of the spinner

•Soft clay, plaster tack or double-sided tape

•Assortment of acrylic craft paints in squeeze bottles

•Glitter (optional)

Here’s the fun:

1. Take the lid off the salad spinner and set a plate in the middle. To hold it in place, fix the plate with a piece of clay, plaster tack or double-sided tape to the little nodule at the center of the bottom of the spinner.

2. Pick your paints. Bright colors give the finished product a lot of snap. Drop puddles of paint at or near the center of the plate. Add a few blobs here and there, and some tiny dots all around. If the paint is rather thick, thin it out a bit before putting it on the plate.

3. Pop the top of the spinner back on and give the crank a whirl. Spin it around for 5 to 10 seconds, let it wind down and then take the top off. It’s so much fun to see the explosion of color with results that are always a surprise. If you wish, add more paint and a pinch of glitter, and then spin again.

4. Remove the plate, let it dry and hang it on your wall or fridge. A few pieces will make a big splash.

Extra ideas:

Napkin ring: Take the painted plate and trim off the edge in a curvy shape, then cut a round hole the size of a quarter in the center. Squeeze a napkin through the hole and you’ll have a bright addition to any party place setting.

Gift card: Spin paint on a plain index card, fold it in half, punch a hole in one corner and tie ribbon through the hole.

Photo frame: Cut out a rectangle or circle in the middle of the painted plate that’s slightly smaller than your photo. Tape or glue the photo to the back, glue a loop of ribbon to the top of the plate and hang it on the wall.

Postcard: Use a postal-regulation-size index card, spin some paint, add a stamp to the other side along with a note to grandparents such as, “Have a colorful day!”

Note: Once the spinner is used for this art activity, do not use for food preparation.

Donna Erickson is the author of several books about family activities and host of a public television series. See more at
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