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    Thank you for your interest to paint or refresh the game lines on your school playground. Please follow these Guidelines for playground painting projects.

    Be sure to complete and submit a Self Help Application for Project Approval, signed by your school’s principal. We will respond to your Self Help Application with Conditions of Approval



    • With your Self Help Application, please provide a sketch showing the proposed layout for game lines.

      If you would like, we can send information on typical dimensions for game courts such as 4-square, kickball, and tether ball.

      In addition, if you’re interested, we have a book of International hopscotch outlines, which provide some fun options. You can figure approximately 5’ x 7’ overall dimension for each hopscotch when planning your layout.

    • We will respond to your Self Help Application with written Conditions of Approval.
    • If you will need access inside your school building during your painting-work-party, please work with your school’s administrative staff to submit a request for a Building Use Permit (BUP) a minimum of three (3) weeks prior to your event.
    • As you schedule your project, please keep in mind that painting during cold and wet weather is not conducive to successful painting. Moreover, we do not want wet paint to wash into storm drains.
    • For paint type, colors, and quantities: see below.
    • Power washing surfaces is not permitted and is not necessary – since we add “grit” to the paint to make it less slippery in our northwest rainy climate.  Use a good push broom to sweep up any large debris prior to painting. [We do not allow volunteers to use power washers – for the protection of other volunteers and surrounding property, as well as for water conservation.]
    • We may be able to loan some tools from our Tool Library, such as roller frames and extender poles, depending on your project’s time frame. Contact us to arrange for pick-up and return.
    • Please have all volunteers sign-in with their names and emails or phone numbers.  You can find a sample template on the Self Help Projects web page We encourage photos; however, if you take photos of volunteers, be sure they first acknowledge permission.


    • We have had good long-term results using Behr Porch and Floor paint from Home Depot. If you wish to use another brand, please review first with Self Help Projects staff.
    • You will need to add one package of grit to each gallon of paint. (See Materials and Supplies list.)
    • Quantities: US Map requires one gallon each of five colors. World Map requires one gallon each of six colors -- you might consider painting only continents if map is out of date regarding countries. Four-square requires ½ gallon each of four colors (~ one gallon each of four colors will cover 2 four-squares.)

    For examples of a color scheme layout for four-square please contact Self Help.

    • We prefer using standard colors so any leftover paint can be shared with other schools -- and likewise, if we currently have anything extra, we will gladly share with your project.

    Standard vibrant colors:

    Sizzling Sunset P200-6 (orange)                          Chakra P100-6 (purple)

    Laser Lemon P290-7 (yellow)                              Tropics P450-6 (turquoise)

    Lazy Lizard P350-7 (lime green)                          Intrigue P160-6 (red)


    If your school includes children on the ASD spectrum, you may want to use more subtle colors:

    Berry Syrup S-G-650 (purple)                              Sapphire Sparkle S-H-550 (royal blue)

    Parsley Sprig S-H-450 (forest green)                 Appletini S-H-410 (gentle lime green)

    Falling Leaves S-H-240 (rust orange-brown)  Peach Butter S-G-310 (soft buttery yellow)


    Perhaps you are interested in painting one of your four-squares as a Mood Meter:

    Clover Patch P400-6 (green)                                Splendor Gold P250-6 (gold)

    Deep River P500-6 (blue)                                      Intrigue P160-6 (red)

    • Please provide paint information to the Self-Help Office for our record: brand, color, and color number.


    • Brooms
    • Kneeling pads
    • Extender poles for painting 4-square while standing
    • Sidewalk chalk for marking lines when starting from scratch
    • Masking tape
    • Game line templates and/or directions
    • Paint
    • Packet of grit for each gallon of paint
    • Paint can opener
    • Large sheet of cardboard to use for paint station when stirring and pouring paint
    • Bucket for water, rags for cleanup
    • Paint cups (plastic beverage cups work well)
    • Latex or non-latex gloves
    • Disposable paint brushes in various sizes 
    • Paint roller frames and roller covers, 9" and 4"
    • Garbage bags
    • Paint hardener
    • Stir sticks
    • Paint pans 9"
    • Mallet, to close paint cans


    • Create a paint station – lay a large sheet of cardboard or large sheet of protective paper on the ground on which to place paint cans, cleaning buckets and pans of paint to protect against drips and spills.
    • It is wise to mark each can of paint beforehand for each designated project to make sure there’s enough of each color to match your color scheme.
    • It is a good idea to designate one or two people to be dedicated solely to the responsibility of managing and pouring paint for all projects and tending immediately to any drips or spills. Always pour paint into pans or cups OVER the protective paper/cardboard to prevent unwanted paint on the asphalt. Set aside a few latex gloves to use for later cleanup.
    • For each project area, fill one bucket half-full of water and keep it, along with rags, close at hand in order to immediately clean up any drips or spills. When water needs to be emptied, pour into designated sink --
      NEVER pour soiled water into an outdoor storm drain.
    • Set out paint and painting supplies in an orderly manner at paint station. Remind volunteers to use only one or two pans, brushes, rollers for each color so you don’t run out of supplies.
    • It’s a good idea to tape an image of the project color-key at the paint station for reference.
    • Line up paint cans in order of color. Open only one can of each color at a time. Stir paint well. Then slowly add one packet of Tread Tex (grit) to each can of paint and stir gently. You may need to pour out a little paint into a paint pan or cup to accommodate the full packet of Tread Tex. Between distribution of paint, keep lids loosely on top of can to minimize drying out.
    • Sweep surfaces (asphalt does not have to be very clean, since you’ll be adding grit for texture anyway to avoid slipperiness in rainy weather.)
    • Use chalk to designate the colors you intend in each shape.
    • Kneeling pads are great when working close to the ground.
    • If the game courts’ white outlines are already painted, apply masking tape onto white lines to protect their integrity when painting other colors.
    • If the white outlines need refreshing, FIRST: tape along all OUTSIDE edges of the white lines, and then paint white paint in between the tape. Let dry briefly (10 to 20 minutes) before carefully removing tape and discarding into a garbage bag. Follow the new lines while coloring inside the shapes.
    • Extender poles attached to paint-rollers are wonderful to be able to paint while standing up for large-expanse sections.
    • Apply colorful paint per pre-designated color scheme.
    • As volunteers request paint, pour a small amount into paint pan or paint cup.
    • For large expanses, we often pour small amount of paint directly onto the asphalt and then roll, rather than waste effort pouring into a paint pan. Be sure to calculate paint needs carefully, though! (For example, one square in a four-square court uses ½ gallon of paint.)
    • Add number, patterns, or murals if desired.


    • Talk with your school Custodian prior to starting project to identify which sink to use for cleanup. Never wash items over a storm drain – in order to prevent harm to our waterways and wildlife.

      Return all tools to central location for sorting. Determine which items need cleaning, which are to be tossed, and which simply need to be packed up.

      Bring all paint to central location for sorting. Combine all like-color paint into as few containers as possible. Wipe edge clean and use mallet to firmly affix lid.

      For small amounts of leftover paint, try to use it up by applying a second or third coat to game courts. For leftovers or odd colors, pour into an empty or nearly empty paint can up to 3/4 full, and then add paint hardener and stir. Paint will be hardened within 20 minutes or so. Leave lid off the can. The entire paint-can can be placed into a garbage bag which goes into the on-site garbage dumpster.

      Place the following items into a doubled garbage bag:

      • Disposable brushes, roller covers, paint pans, paint cups, masking paper and/or cardboard that has paint splatters on it, tape, paper rags, empty paint cans with LIDS OFF, and cans containing hardened paint with LIDS OFF.
    • Tie bag(s) loosely --so paint dries on the way to the Transfer Station. Carefully place bag into school’s on-site garbage dumpster.

    At designated sink, OR in a 5-gallon bucket half-full of water: wash all re-usable brushes, roller frames, and clean-up buckets. Set brushes and frames inside a bucket to drip-dry.  Wipe down sink and floor afterwards. Or, if you’ve used a bucket in which to clean roller frames (which we find easiest!), pour soiled water into designated sink after all washing is complete.

    Arrange for return of any borrowed tools.

    Do not leave leftover paint at school!

    Please send us project photos. Remember to send us your volunteer sign-in sheet, and paint brand/color information.