Gift Guide // Top 10 Basic Art Supplies


Gift Guide // Top 10 Basic Art Supplies

I teach art to small children in my house. Every week I set up new art experiences and carefully pick out my materials. I often get asked by moms which materials they should buy to create their own art area at home. This question always gets me excited for two reasons: 1) Maybe I’ve influenced them to keep the creativity flowing at home! And 2) I’m a huge advocate of keeping things simple. Kids don’t need much to keep them happy and busy.

This list is really the bare necessities. I kept it to 10 to keep the costs down and to minimize stress! However, I did include a few extras at the end, I couldn’t help myself.

basic paper to stock for your home art area

PAPER

The first thing your art area needs is paper. I use sulphite paper in art class. It’s a little bit denser and the colors are more vibrant than construction paper. It holds paint beautifully. I would suggest getting the 12″ x 18″ size in white, and then the 9″ x 12″ colored. You could always cut the white down and I find that larger paper encourages them to draw big!

white sulphite paper // colored sulphite paper

basic paints to stock for your home art area

PAINTING

You can’t have an art area without paints! In art class we use paint almost every day. I love watercolor palettes and this brand is my favorite. Teaching them to use watercolor is one of my first lessons: Wet your brush then count to 10 as you swish it in circles on a color. It’s important to tell them that they need lots of water! As for tempera paints, there are so many different brands and colors. I use a variety of brands, usually whatever is on sale. Although some are definitely more watery than others (I prefer a thicker more opaque paint), you are pretty safe with just about anything. To stock your art area you will just need the basics – three primary colors and white. I mix colors for my classes using mostly these four. But I also LOVE gold and neon paints. Mix the neon paints with a teeny bit of white to give you a more opaque consistency.

watercolor paints // tempera paints: red, yellow, blue, white, gold , neon

basic drawing materials to stock for your home art area

DRAWING

This category was the hardest to pick. There are so many great drawing materials out there! But the two that my kids gravitate to the most are colored pencils and markers. These are the work horses of drawing materials. You could really choose any brand of colored pencils and not go wrong. I chose these because they were relatively cheap on Amazon. As for markers, I do find that Crayola markers last the longest. Plus…these are scented! Your kids could spend 20 minutes just sniffing, I swear. Mine do!

colored pencils // markers

basic art supplies to stock for your home art area

GLUING + CUTTING

I literally agonized over which glue to represent here. Glue stick or Elmer’s? Both are used all the time in art class and with my own kids. (In fact, glueing and cutting might be a 4yr old’s all time favorite activity!) But I’ll tell you why I went with glue stick: It’s less messy, easier for little kids, and doesn’t need a day to dry. I love this brand the best, they really work well. As for scissors, my favorite is actually from Ikea. These are a close second.

glue stick // scissors

basic art supplies to stock for your home art area

BRUSHES + COLORED TAPE

These two don’t really go together, but I consider them essentials. This brush pack is the best value. I’ve bought many of these packs over the years. I really also love Ikea brushes if you are ever there. And tape…I could go on for years. WE LOVE COLORED TAPE!! My little students just love ripping and cutting tape. They make beautiful “drawings” just with tape. Tape is a must!

paint brushes // colored tape

5 BONUS ITEMS:

These materials were left off the list, but barely. You might already have some of these in your home so just bring them on over to the art shelf!

Elmer’s glue // pencil sharpener // stapler // crayons // scotch tape

You can literally create hundreds of projects with these simple materials. Here are a few that I’ve done that use no more than what I’ve listed (except for some recycled materials…I am a huge cardboard fan!)

cardboard paintings // small paintings // scrape painting // puffy hearts // invitation to paint // cardboard animals // sunburst paintings // scrap paper collage

In my next post I’ll tell you about my top 10 basic crafting supplies. That one will be REALLY fun. Think…pom-poms!

xo, Bar

 

Painted Wooden Blocks


Painted Wooden Blocks

artistic DIY blocks make a beautiful gift

When the kids walked into art class last week and saw wooden blocks and paint, they couldn’t believe it! Were they really allowed to paint on them? One little girl told us a story about how she once drew on wooden blocks. She said her mom didn’t get mad. Then they all started to chat and share more stories, saying “me, too!” whenever they recognized familiar parts of someone else’s narrative. This block painting party was very much of a collaborative art experience, with all of the kids working towards one end and sharing the same experience. It was a beautiful thing!

artistic DIY blocks make a beautiful gift

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

Here’s what you’ll need for your own block painting experience:

Supplies

Wooden blocks (I got 1 1/2″ and 2″ cubes)

Liquid watercolor paint (this is a good starter kit, but we also used gold)

Recycled jars or glasses

Brushes

artistic DIY blocks make a beautiful gift

Focus was intense from the beginning as they realized that each block has six sides!

artistic DIY blocks make a beautiful gift

Some kids are just inherently neat. Some are not.

artistic DIY blocks make a beautiful gift

This boy was the champ. He never stopped painting for an entire hour. He also discovered that you could print with the blocks if you put enough paint on and stamped it on the paper. It’s so exciting to watch discovery and creativity in action.

artistic DIY blocks make a beautiful gift

artistic DIY blocks make a beautiful gift

I can’t recommend this art experience enough! The results are so beautiful. You can keep the blocks for yourself, or give them as a gift. The holidays are coming soon!

xo, Bar

{Warning: These blocks are not safe for babies and toddlers who are still teething. The paint could come off in their mouths.}

 

Sensory Art Play with Easy Dough


Sensory Art Play with Easy Dough

My friend Asia from Fun at Home with Kids has a new book! It’s called 150+ Screen Free Activities for Kids and it’s literally awesome. There are recipes for everything under the sun, from flubber to slime, moon sand to fizzy slush. There are also sections on homemade paints, small worlds, and DIY toys. If only I had had this book when my kids were little!! I would have used it every day, I swear.

I decided to make some easy dough, which was something I had never tried before. I have made lots of play dough, but I wanted a no-cook, quick version (just 2 ingredients). My 4-yr old art class kids would be my testers. Let the fun begin!!

Recipe from Fun at Home with Kids book

I made five colors and rolled them into balls. I also put out a few trays of stuff for them to tinker around with. I loved seeing what they chose and how they used all of the small parts.

Recipe from Fun at Home with Kids book

The dough is more like wet sand, not really like play dough. I love this little girl’s face as she squeezes and smushes it through her fingers. It has a really satisfying feel and quality. Like, you know when you walk on the beach and you get closer to the water and your feet sort of sink into the sand? Well that’s close to what this easy dough is like. Just really cool.

Recipe from Fun at Home with Kids book

This little artist made an island zoo. She used the cork to smooth out the sides, and added straw bits for grass.

Recipe from Fun at Home with Kids book

I love the progression of this purple mound. First she touched and rolled, then shaped and added parts. Then she took little bits of other colors and finally she discovered that pushing in the corks was just soooo fun. Process art and play at it’s finest!

Recipe from Fun at Home with Kids book

Although this dough looks messy, it really wasn’t that bad. Just a little sweep of the floor. The best part was that when I put the dough in the plastic bags, my own kids (much older) came home from school and all of them played with the “sensory bags” the whole night. Yet another use for easy dough!

Buy the book for the recipe!! It’s a must. You will be so happy to have it at your fingertips on rainy days (and sunny days)!. In fact, it would be an amazing holiday gift for your mom friends with little kids, along with a kit of some of the ingredients. Sort of like this one.

Click over to Asia’s blog to find all of the places you can buy the book outside of the USA. Or click here to buy it on Amazon.

xo, Bar