If you recently painted your home, you may have a handful of colorful paint chips leftover. Don’t toss them! You can make some pretty cool stuff with those swatches.
If your project requires more, we recommend getting permission first. In the end, these chips are for customers looking to paint a wall and if abused, eventually we’ll all wind up paying for paint chips. Here’s a list of stores where you can find free paint chips.
- The Home Depot
- Ace Hardware
- Sherwin Williams
- Benjamin Moore
- Dunn-Edwards Paint
1. Send moving announcements.
Invest in an address stamp and stamp your extra swatches.
2. Play reading games.
This is a reading activity combined with phonics, and we think it’s brilliant. Put the ending sound on the card with the cut-out, then write a letter for each block on a paint chip strip for a child to sound out. Move the card down the strip and sound out the different words. Use a square punch for the cutout like this one by Martha Stewart at Walmart for under $7.
3. Turn them into Christmas tree ornaments.
This might be the easiest ornament you ever make. All you need is some green paint chip cards, brown paper, string, scissors, and tape.
4. Or, transform chips into a Christmas garland.
Trace the shape of a lightbulb on the backs of paint chips and cut them out. Use hot glue and silver or gray paper in the shape of the lightbulb base to attach lightbulbs and bases to a string. Hang your new garland from a tree or fireplace mantle.
5. Turn Pantone chips into magnets.
Attach chips to a piece of cardboard with double-sided tape (glue could result in curling). Cover the face of the chip with paper glaze and let it dry overnight. Place a magnet on the back and you’re ready to go.
Tip: If you don’t have Pantone chips you can still use paint samples—just cut them into the same dimensions which are 3/4″ wide by 1 3/16″ tall. The colored area is 3/4″ square.
6. Create a wreath.
Gather 60 paint chips (definitely ask your local store before you do this), a glue gun, and an 18-inch wire wreath frame—which you can find at any craft store for less than $5. Style at Home’s wreath tutorial calls for folding a paint chip in half and cutting out a leaf shape. For an ombre effect, start with the lightest hue then gradually transition from light to dark shades and then back to light.
7. Make easy gift tags.
Cut a paint chip accordingly and punch a hole in it so you can weave some ribbon or string through. Add a stamp if you have one, but it’s not necessary. You can even glue an image and sprinkle glitter over it.
8. Create bookmarks.
Have your chosen paint color samples ready along with a hole punch and some ribbon. DIY Inspired uses a printable ribbon kit, but a permanent marker can work just as well.
9. Construct paint-sample coasters.
Get some coaster-sized tiles, Mod Podge, acrylic spray, and paint samples. Try finding tiles without a beveled edge so the paint sample is easier to apply, then attach it using Mod Podge—five thin coats should do the trick. Let each coat dry first. 645 Workshop’s instructions have you topping it off with acrylic spray and felt or cork on the bottom.
10. Make napkin rings.
This one is effortless. Punch holes in a card and tie contrasting colored ribbon through it.
11. Turn a paint sample into a utensil holder.
This requires very little effort. Sew paint chips around all the sides except for the top. If you don’t want to sew you can use hot glue. This is great for any party.
12. Use paint chips for wrapping paper.
The smaller the gift, the easier this will be. Follow these instructions and start by covering your present one side at a time.
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13. Create small boxes.
You’ll need your paint swatches, double-stick tape, an X-Acto knife, ruler, and cutting mat. How About Orange gives the exact dimensions needed to make a small box that can be used for a gift, or to hold paperclips or party candies.
14. Make confetti.
Punch out holes in different shapes and sizes and keep them in a bag to reuse whenever you want to celebrate.
15. Organize chips into a calendar.
Arrange paint chips on a cork board with some pushpins. Then, use a Sharpie to write in the days of the month. Easy organization anyone can do!
16. Turn them into matchbook notepads.
Plan to use five sheets of plain, white printer paper for this project. At one end of the strip, fold a little bit up—no more than half an inch or so. Then, fold the long piece down over a small stack of paper so it meets just past your little tab on the bottom. Sew a straight line at the bottom through all the papers or punch a staple through to keep all the papers together. So easy!
17. Use them for place cards.
18. Make a banner.
Just paint or write a message on the paint chips strung together for an easy way to add color to any party.
19. Wrap paint chips around pencils for an easy teacher’s gift.
Simply wrap a paint chip around a bundle of pencils, and tie it with a pretty ribbon or twine.
20. Give a boring table a pop of color.
This project is as simple as 1-2-3. Use double-sided tape to get the paint chips in place, then apply Mod Podge glue all over the table.
21. Create party invitations.
Use double-sided tape to attach card stock to the back of a paint chip cut into a popsicle shape. Slip a popsicle stick between the two papers and secure with more tape. Then, write the party invitation details on the card-stock side and hand out your freshly made paper treats!
22. Make an American flag with the kids.
Get patriotic with the kiddos. Start with white card stock and some red, white, and blue paint chips. These instructions take you through the steps to make the flag with little effort.