I'll admit, I like the fancy all natural (spendy) art supplies. I try to be as eco-friendly as possible when buying anything, and it's definitely important to have non-toxic materials for kids to use. I've done a lot of going back and forth and I think I've finally found a pretty happy balance.
The truth is, some art supplies get used up so quickly in our house, it's not really worth it to spend a lot on something that will be gone in a week. With some things, it's definitely true that you get what you pay for, and putting out a little extra money up front will save you a lot of aggravation later.
So here's the low down. Here are my shopping lists for what I buy, and where I buy it. Keep in mind, you can tailor these lists to fit you child's artistic interests.
The Dollar Store
I only recently discovered how many great things you can find at the Dollar Store. Who knew? Here's what I get:
- big sheets of foam core and poster board
- watercolors (the kind in the trays)
- feathers, popsicle sticks, etc.
- white school glue
- shower curtain (to use as a drop cloth, makes clean-up so easy)
Joann's Fabric/Michaels/Dick Blick
Joann's and Michaels both have really good coupons on their phone apps. You can usually get a regularly priced item for 40% (or more) off. I like these stores for:
- good watercolor (it's expensive but lasts FOREVER)
- watercolor paper
- nice paintbrushes (you need them! dollar store paint brushes just don't cut it.)
I get everything else from here. They also have a TON of amazing art books for children (more about that in future posts). My regular purchases from here include:
- colored pencils
- chalk pastels
- beeswax clay
- glue sticks
Randomly, Ikea has really great (and cute) spiral bound sketchbooks. They also have an amazing easel for around $15 and a roll of paper you can attach (or use separately). I bought a set of shot glasses here that we use when we paint with watercolors from the tubes. They are really sturdy- I highly recommend them.
I scored a gigantic pack (like 500 sheets) of construction paper last year. If you have a membership, stop in just before school starts in late summer, or call to see if they have them in stock.
Stuff from around your house
Hang onto extra cardboard, bottle caps, glass jars (for sorting and organizing your supplies, and paper grocery bags, in addition to anything else you might be useful in creating art. We have a "junk drawer" where we store our random stuff.
Do you have tips on where you've found great deals on art supplies? Or a must-try brand of paint/colored pencils/modeling clay? Let me know in the comments! You can also find a printable checklist in the Resource Library! Join by subscribing in the box below, and once you confirm your email you'll receive a link and a password. You can find TONS of project ideas, games and printables to help make learning art history with your kids a little bit easier.