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Do you think choosing the correct paint to is easy? I don’t! I wish choosing paint was a piece of cake, but I find it takes a lot of trial and error.
One art supply I have a love-hate relationship with is tempera cakes. The consistency is between tempera and watercolor. I have great success with watercolor paints in lessons and like having enough little palettes that student can each have their own.
When it comes to Tempera cakes, however, I have been experimenting with different brands to find my sweet spot, and I am still torn!
I started out with the round tempera cakes. I order them in bulk and snap in a new cake whenever one runs out. I like this kind because they are slightly translucent, the trays are easy to use and store, and the colors look pretty good.
What I don’t like is the dull, chalky texture that is left after the paint drys. I prefer something with a bit more sheen. I also dislike how much water can pool in the bottom of the trays, making for some interesting paint spills.
These come in square form in little plastic containers. A colleague suggested to clip off the plastic top and pop them into a 9×13 cake pan. It easily fits 12 colors. I like these paints because the color is very bold. They are creamier and seem to be thicker and cover better. Another plus is that, because they are separate, I can just take out the colors that we need. Or, if a student needs a certain color, they can take it out of the pan and put it right beside them so they can easily reach. This is super handy!
The cake pans are a little heavy for students, so they can’t really help with passing them out. For this reason, I would opt for plastic pans next time. Also, these colors are SO bold sometimes they cover Sharpie outlining and can get a little dark if students use too much.
In the end, I use these fairly interchangeably. Sometimes I’ll choose one over the other based on what other type of media we’re working with. Both types are an investment. However, I find once I buy them, I don’t need to replace them for at least a year or two. Plus, I can buy individual replacements for colors we go through more quickly.
So tell me, do you love tempera cakes or hate them? How do you use them in the classroom?