When I posted my Paint Chip Address Cards on Monday I had no idea it would stir up such a debate! I personally love debates and love that people have opinions even about the wackiest things like free paint chips. Ask Cliff about my obsession with making hats for Easter eggs and he’ll tell you all about how I get bent out of shape on the weirdest things too!

For those that don’t feel like reading through the comments and responses on Paint Chip Gate here’s the gist. Some people feel that taking paint chips from the hardware store for purposes other than paint color choices is stealing. The paint chip crafters and enthusiasts were surprised to read that they for years might have been stealing paint chips! Ohh no! Hopefully you all didn’t lose any sleep over this because one of my readers actually took the initiative to call Behr and ask if it was considered stealing. Their answer? Firstly they thought that the paint chip cards were a neat idea and no they didn’t consider it stealing. I would hope not because some very reputable people and organizations have promoted paint chip crafts for many years. Country Living, Craftzine and Mark Montano ring a bell? Oh and then you have those darn artists that have the audacity to use paint chips not as intended! Because art is not supposed to be about pushing boundaries, right?

Source: stylembe.wordpress.com via Andrea on Pinterest


Peter Combe, Mendini Tooth, 32″ x 40″, Punched paint chips (1″ discs), 2009

I know that just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t make it ok for me or you to do it. Really it’s a matter of your own principals and for most people principals are based on facts. That’s why I followed up via email with the Behr folks (whom are very likeable people). They said that creative uses of leftover paint chips is great so long as they aren’t being used in products that would be sold. Cleverly worded! Even when I specifically asked about it being considered stealing, nowhere in that response did they say it’s considered stealing if you take paint chips for crafting. Clearly they can’t endorse crafters collecting paint chips solely for crafting purposes but I really don’t think they are going to condemn them either. My suggestion is that if you are feeling guilty or scared about collecting a bunch of paint chip samples or other seemingly free things for crafting then do what I do and ask! That’s how I managed to score some pretty awesome wallpaper books.

So maybe my use of paint chips was lost on the people that didn’t catch how using paint chips as address change cards is probably the most appropriate use of them because of that whole needing to pick paint colors just after you’ve moved thing… Or maybe they don’t understand my humor because really I don’t go waltzing into hardware stores taking stacks of paint chips for use in my craft projects. I’m not going to lie though because while I’m packing my Home Depot cart full of hundreds of dollars worth of products, I do stop by the paint department to pick up the latest eye catching paint colors. Some colors might eventually make it as paint on my walls and the rest are used as inspiration or materials for my craft and mixed media projects. For my Paint Chip Address Cards I took 4 of 3 different colors and by the way they were all colors I am considering for my home ;) Maybe I should have been more explicit about that.
Like our Alter Egos?
I am flattered though by the fact that people think I have enough friends and family to have a huge stack of paint chip cards to send out. Oh and flattered that people think that my crafts are so freak’n cool that everyone in the world is going to go rushing to the hardware store like soul-less law breaking paint chip stealing zombies, forcing the poor paint companies and hardware stores to start charging for them. Man, I’m like Oprah! What’s next? Maybe I’ll start a plastic fork crafting craze forcing fast food joints to charge for their plastic utensils. Yes….. It’s so diabolical that it might just work!

So there you have it. Some facts and some opinions on the subject of free paint chips. In the end I have so much faith in mankind that I actually believe each person can make their own decisions based on their own principals. What a concept huh?

******* Update *******

We just can’t stop exploiting paint chips! Take a gander at our most recent paint chip projects:

Fall Paint Chip Door Sign

Paint Chip Halloween Costumes— with a visual representation of Paint chip gate!

Craft on.


28 Responses to Paint Chip Gate

  1. Peter says:

    While I would never pilfer paint samples from a small Mom & Pop hardware store, I do frequent Home Depots on occasion when the need arrises. Behr colors are very pure. Many other paint companies employ a high clay-base in their paint manufacturing, hence the drabness of colors. I did find out through a Behr rep that Behr uses Pratt & Lambert (best quality paint manufacturer in the US), for their quality control.
    Anyway, I’m getting off track. Kudos for you being able to get a response from Behr – I have never been so lucky.
    You are correct in saying it is best to ask. A Home Depot I frequented in the past offered to collect paint samples left by fickle customers, (the piles left behind on the ledge below the sample wall). That was pretty cool.
    Now that I’ve moved to San Francisco, I am too afraid to ask. Silly I know. It takes a lot of samples to create my art, and I am too worried I’d risk a ‘No’ response.
    I guess it all boils down to – if you are in need of paint chips – take from the big guys but not the small hardware shops.

    • Andrea says:

      WOW! It’s so great to get the artists perspective on this. For those of you that don’t know, Peter is responsible for that amazing creation above. You should really check out more of his work by clicking on the photo!

  2. [...] ********************* UPDATE on the controversy of paint chip crafting here********************************* [...]

  3. Kelli says:

    I found your post very interesting and entertaining. I did a google search on paint chip crafts, b/c the last few days I have been in and out of Lowe’s getting 4, in total, little jars of paint color samples. During this time, my 4 year old runs around collecting color chips. Like a kid in a candy store. He is entranced by all of the bright colors and possibilities. They wind up in my purse. Too many to count. I thought I’d make a big canvas picture out of them or something to use them.. thus, the search that led me to your post. I never even thought it would be considered stealing to take something that is free. And that there is such an abundant supply of. It’s not like there are only 2 or 3 of each color. I did mention to the girl at the paint desk that we’d better stop coming in or she won’t have any paint chips left, and she specifically told me “No worries, he can take as many as he wants.” Not stealing. FREE. :)

  4. Kimberly says:

    This whole faux-controversy over DIY-home improvement freebies is honestly a bit off-putting. I’ve only recently stumbled upon this rather novel concept and I’ve made some plans that I’d like to see come to fruition… but the more I read about “blah blah blah is STEALING”, the more turned off I get. Really, people? REALLY? It seems like some people just look for any chance they can get to spoil the party and this time is no exception. Free is free. As long as no one goes overboard, can’t we all just play nice?

    • Andrea says:

      Thanks for your response Kimberly. Hope you’ll come back for more kleptomaniac inspired crafts :)

  5. Teralyn says:

    This has me laughing!

    first I read the post. then I went to the update.

    I knew some stick in the mud would think it would be stealing. blah blah blah. the company wants people to buy their paint, but they want people to stand in front of their product display and look like they are buying paint too because it draws others to it.

    i love the idea of paint chip crafts and fun things, like in their own commercials. but never considered doing it myself.

    thanks for the inspiration!

    • Andrea says:

      We aim to make you laugh. Basically our life goal is to make people pee their pants because that’s darn funny. Hopefully our dreams will come true some day ;)

  6. Erin says:

    Your moving cards were the first thing I ever saw on your blog – super cute!! Then I read this and “Butterfly Fork” just about made me fall out of my chair!! Definitely adding you to my reader – I’m loving what I’ve seen so far!

  7. Katherine Malone says:

    How timely! I just pinned this Apartment Therapy article today because I loved the second picture of the paint chips in the dining room. I think paint chips are awesome and GO YOU for being so crafty with them :)


  8. [...] very soon. What do you think is the likely hood of this paint chip craft stirring up yet another paint chip controversy? Go spread it to your friends and let’s [...]

  9. Iiona says:

    I’m at work and laughing hysterically… Let me tell you how that can be misconstrued… I work in a Level 1 Trauma Unit, so laughing can at times seem a little not appropriate. But luckily my coworkers know me enough to come over and want to see what is making me laugh…

    Thanks for this, i read the orginal post and then the updated post and i think I am going to go out and do the paint chip thing for when we move to Texas this summer :-)

    • Andrea says:

      ha! That’s great and we definitely want to see your paint chip project when you are finished! Happy Halloween!

  10. Emily says:

    I say we band together and start scouring home improvement stores for violators. (I kid.) Andrea, thank you for giving me another blog to bookmark! It’s so hard to find a seriously good crafter who doesn’t take life to seriously.

    (By the way, I am typing this while glancing up at my paint chip Halloween bunting…)

  11. [...] so funny? Catch up on our paint chip obsession and subsequent paint chip controversy by reading Paint Chip Gate. window.fbAsyncInit = function() { FB.init({appId: "", xfbml: true}); [...]

  12. Amanda says:

    I mentioned you in an article I wrote and posted on my Craft Gossip blog today. Thanks :) http://homeandgarden.craftgossip.com/paint-chips-are-you-stealing/

  13. [...] Craft Gossip took on the hard hitting subject of paint chip crafting and of course referenced our Paint Chip Gate Post. Brave soul ;) [...]

  14. [...] this sounds/looks absurd (you must be new here) please read up on Paint Chip Gate, Paint Chip Costumes and Paint Chip Address Cards; then come back and enjoy our wacky world of [...]

  15. Mod Podge Amy says:

    Well oh well, I just stumbled upon this today! What I find disturbing is how quickly a person throws out the word “stealing” without doing any research whatsoever. It’s a pretty big thing to accuse someone of stealing and not appropriate to be left as a passing comment on a blog. Emailing the blogger is better to have an open discussion about something serious. I can’t say anything about the practice itself because Amanda’s Craft Gossip article states all the facts. And if you still think it’s stealing, then don’t take the chips yourself. People spend way too much time worrying about what everyone else is doing, when they could be creating something themselves (sans paint chips).

    • Andrea says:

      Thanks for your insight Amy! It’s so nice to have fellow crafting friends that can look at this from the outside in.

  16. things to make | Pearltrees says:

    [...] Using Paint Chips for craft projects? Is it ethical? ( Paint Chip Gate ) Facebook Like Button for Dummies [...]

  17. Emma says:

    Interesting debate. I definitely wouldn’t “steal” a bunch of paint chips for my craft projects, but I do take some while I’m shopping for ideas and inspiration. I still really love the We’ve Moved cards!

  18. Jillian says:

    Just because someone has a different opinion doesn’t mean they aren’t playing nice. I don’t see your comment as “nice” either, but I don’t really care. =) All I know ism I consider it stealing. If it were MY store I wouldn’t want you to come in and take a bunch of paint chips every time you have a project. However, if you feel like it’s not stealing and are comfortable doing so- that’s your choice. I have to say, if it bothers you, and it seems that it does, maybe there IS indeed a small voice telling you it’s not appropriate. =) Yet, it obviously YOU’RE choice. And, NO, I am not a stick in the mud.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Refresh Image


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Facebook Like Button for Dummies