March 03, 2021 2 min read

Printmaking requires lots of cool tools that kids love using. We have incorporated some of these tools into drawing & painting, and have even invented and built a few of our own. We’re going to try and focus on building more - who knows - maybe we’ll even put some into production and sell them.

Oh, and speaking of cool tools - here are the three things I am grateful for today:


 daily gratitude journal, diy drawing tools


I was peeling potatoes the other day and realized that the peeler is a pretty simple tool that I never thought about - so I looked it up. Did you know it was invented in Switzerland in 1947 by a guy named Alfred Neweczerzal? - His family had a factory and he was a toolmaker. There have been hundreds of re-engineered versions of this first peeler - but the original design is still the very best. Even Nespresso re-created one using recycled aluminum capsules.

rex zena peeler, nespresso rex peeler

This was the same year Howard Hughes flew his Hughes H-4 Hercules plane for the first and only time. It was also the year the transistor radio was invented, by three guys in New Jersey (William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain).

Keep in mind, this is two years after the end of World War II. Howard Hughes was trying to make the plane hold 700 troops for the war and the transistor was an attempt to make communications more mobile, for the war. Hughes and the Jersey guys were late, the war was over - but it got me thinking...

When the world came out of the stress and turbulence of war, there was quite a lot of inventions, creations and innovations.
I am hoping that we’ll come out of our apartments and houses ready to make some new tools.

For me, I try to assemble items from hardware stores, toy shops and my father’s garage to create some interesting tools kids can use to draw & paint with. Simple things
 like duct taping paint brushes to PEX pipe, so kids can work on super-large paintings / Attaching plastic coil binding pieces (think Slinky) to PVC pipe and calling them “Boing Boing Brushes”. It could also be something as simple as purchasing a window screen tool (think Pizza cutter, but it’s not sharp) and using them as a drawing device for canvas. You’d be surprised what you can do with some paper or PVC tubing, duct tape, qTips and glue.

I have started sketching out some new tools and will start building mock-ups - and testing them with the kids that come to our Art Studio workshops on Mondays and Wednesdays.