What’s in My Art Closet: Five Favorite Supplies

Here’s another blast from the past as I get back into the groove with my new little guy. 

A friend recently asked if I could give a list of the things I keep on hand for creative art activities.  In addition to the standard crayons, markers, and white paper here are a few of my favorite multitasking art supplies:

Liquid Watercolors: While I also keep the typical watercolor cakes on hand, if I had to choose just one form, I’d take the liquid stuff.  It’s more vibrant for painting, it’s perfect for dying coffee filters, and it’s great for coloring other media like fingerpaint, playdough, and colorful ice for sculptures.

Tempera Paint Powder: Kids LOVE to paint with tempera paint.  You can buy it already mixed, but powder is more economical and more versatile.  Sprinkle dry powder on wet paper for a reverse effect.  Mix the powder with salt for a fun texture to explore with.  Mix it up thicker or thinner for different effects.

Texture Tools:  Of course I have paint brushes, but I also have a basket of random items like slinkies, texture blocks, combs (one of my faves for painting), texture rollers, bubble wrap, and  other random items that add tons of interest to painting projects like these Eric Carle – inspired pieces.  The best part is these tools aren’t necessarily something you have to go out and buy.  Just keep your eyes out for something that can create a fun new texture when used as a painting tool.  (You might try cookie cutters with paint or glue, for example.)

Art Trays and Smocks:  They can be official art trays from the store or old cookie sheets, but having a clear boundary for projects and a protective layer between creative art and your table top can go a long way to alleviate mess stress and makes cleaning up a breeze.  Likewise, smocks can be store-bought or you can just repurpose a small adult shirt.  Use a button-up and put it on your child backwards, buttoning just the top.  (Short sleeves seem to work just right, but you can always take a pair of scissors to whatever you have.)

Beautiful Junk:  Back in the day when I taught at a university lab school, we had an entire closet space labeled “Beautiful Junk”.  Today I have a shelf or two of my own with cardboard tubes, empty oatmeal canisters, and styrofoam bricks that once accompanied something precious in the mail.  Anything that can be repurposed into a creative project finds a temporary landing spot here before being incorporated into a sculpture, a marble track, or being used for shake painting.

If you’re interested in getting more ideas for your art adventures, check out my friend Christie’s ebook, Art Not Craft.  It’s a wonderful resource packed with ideas for creative art activities with all the hows, whats, and why’s explained along the way.  Click here to learn more about it!

What are the favorites in your art closet?

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6 Comments

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6 Responses to What’s in My Art Closet: Five Favorite Supplies

  1. Krista

    I can’t use tempra due to allergies and while the watercolour blocks are fun, you just can’t do the same type of painting. Do you just use liquid watercolours as they are? Or do you thicken them somehow?

    • notjustcute

      With liquid watercolors you can use it at different strengths. For very vibrant colors you could use them full strength. I usually dilute mine with water to make them go further, but that varies based on the project.

  2. I love liquid watercolors, too! My child likes to pour them, so she only gets a little at a time :) I hadn’t thought of having lots of textured things on hand for painting with, or at least I hadn’t gathered stuff for the purpose yet, so thanks for making me think about it again!

  3. Pingback: This Creative Week | TinkerLab --- Creative Projects for Kids

  4. Brooke

    Where can you buy washable liquid watercolors???

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