I built the Basic Supply List to promote creativity, and as an important starting place with the idea that economy matters, and the belief that a well chosen set of basic art supplies can support a vastness of children’s creations. And, that is still true.
When I assembled this list, though, I looked for odd, quirky, and beyond the basic supplies to expand what you already have. Browse with pleasure, pick and choose, however, resist any pressure to have it all right away. You can just come back now and then and find something that you overlooked the first time through. Have fun!
Organize the Studio
Rolling Cart with Shelves – For storage in the studio and easy access by everyone. You can find many kinds at many prices. This one has nice deep wire shelves. For drawers you can consider the Seville Classics cart. Ikea sells this one by RASKOG for $29.99 plus a little shipping, $10 where I live. Take your pick!
Containers – The Container Store has everything and I often go there just for the ideas! I also like free and good cardboard boxes with the flaps cut off, then painted – by the kids of course. Large clear jars, either plastic or glass, depending, make good containers for seeing what’s inside, and I don’t always like lids.
Creativity Loves Tools and Equipment
Edger Scissors – This set of six edgers costs $8.93 and kids love them. Hey I love them. If you want more than six, you can find many other options.
Plastic Pipettes – Young artists can find many uses for these. And they are cheap! $6.99 for 100 and they are reusable.
Elmer’s Glue – One gallon for $12.77. While you visit this link you can look for glue guns (low heat and regular), Gorilla Glue, Tacky Glue, glitter glue, spray adhesive and more. Creativity must have glue! And tape!
Spray Bottles – A set of six 12 oz. bottles good for small or large hands. $13.99.
Tool set – A simple set. $15.26. If this one isn’t available you can find many other similar sets by searching for “simple tool set.”
Paper Cutter – Invaluable! The sky is the limit for paper cutters, however, this one is very popular and similar to mine. It will cut thick and thin, even matt board and cardboard.
Pencil Sharpener – I have burned through several pencil sharpeners, however, when I tried this one I knew I had a winner. It runs quietly and shuts off when the pencil is sharpened. It also has six different hole sizes. X-Acto makes good products! $23.99.
X-Acto Knives – This set has two knives and a set of spare blades, all for $11.70. Parent supervision encouraged, of course, but their precision cutting makes these knives a must.
Small Squeegee – This one costs $.97. Yep! Cheap. Who knows how long it will be available but you can find something that works for you and your children. Who knows what you will use it for!
An Old Iron – You have one, don’t you? Ironing all kinds of things can change their function for art so this makes a great tool! And, have you heard of the sport Extreme Ironing???
Paper and Other Surfaces
Cardboard, tagboard, paper bags, newspaper, magazines, foil paper and aluminum foil, styrofoam,wax paper….
Card Stock – Shop around office supply stores for multi color packs. Stiffer than paper.
Paper Making Kit – Start with a kit and go from here. You will love paper making!
Canvas Panels – Inexpensive and very fun to use. These have a rigid, professional feeling, and are oh so frameable!
Liquid Watercolor Paint – For bright and bold watercolors that go a long way.
Travel Paint Set – Great for the road and don’t forget some kind of zipper bag for supplies-to-go.
Stipple Brushes – For stippling, of course!
Marking and Drawing
Oil Pastels – Creamy texture on paper, beautiful colors and easy to blend.
Fine Pens – For drawing.
Watercolor Pencils – For wet and dry use. Magic!
Magic Rub Eraser – The best erasers. Shop around and you will find them many places.
This category includes endless possibilities from yarn and cloth remnants to old umbrella coverings and fabric remains of a treasured stuffed animal to immortalize in a wonderful collage.
Sculpting, Building and Miscellaneous Supplies
Artist’s Tape – For holding paper down so you can create. Peels of easily.
Masonite pieces or blocks of wood, to tape your paper down while painting. Easels are great, too, but sometimes a painting needs to be flat while we work.
Salt – Fun for sprinkling on paintings.
Wire for sculpting – easily bendable. Plus pliers with wire cutting capabilities.
Dental tools – For carving soap, clay, wax, or even picking the plug out of the glue bottle that someone forgot to close!
Sponges for messes and for blotting brushes after rinsing.
Websites for Creativity
YouTube – How to do everything, for example, how to paint with watercolor, how to make paper, etc. Make your own channel and subscribe to great videos you want to save.
NOTE: I prefer not to have affiliate accounts, so I don’t earn money when you click any of these links and decide to purchase from the merchant.