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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Thanksgiving Day Craft Table

Thanksgiving Day Craft Table

beaded necklaces | Art Bar Blog for Land of Nod

beaded necklaces | Art Bar Blog for Land of Nod

Today I am over at Land of Nod’s blog Honest to Nod. I had so much fun creating this awesome craft table with the coolest Land of Nod paints and markers. I am slightly obsessed with just about everything in their catalog. Are you? Seriously, it’s all just eye candy!

Click over to see what you need and to download the leaf necklace printables.

Have a great week!

xo, Bar


Name Stamps for Card Making + Free Printables

Name Stamps for Card Making + Free Printables

We’ve had these name stamps for years. I make my kids new ones all the time. It never occurred to me to share this source until we made a stamp for my daughter’s friend for her birthday and the mom flipped over it!! We included a stack of notecards, too. It really was the cutest gift!! This would also make a great teacher gift. Similar to the teacher gifts my kids made last year, but this time their teacher would have a stamp that they can use on anything!

our fave name stamps :: your kids can make their own stationery ~ or make as a gift for their friends or teachers {free printable included}

Here’s how I create the names, which I then upload to a website that makes the stamps:

~ You can create the name in Photoshop, or any other design software you might have.

~ Choose your fonts. I used Veneer for “Ava”, Tire Shop for “Grace”, and Black Dog for “Nate”. All of these fonts can be found on MyFonts.

~ Make sure to work in black. Type your name. Your font height should be 3/8″ high. The length will vary depending on the name.

~ Save your name, making the page size (or canvas size in Photoshop) just slightly bigger than the name, by just a few millimeters.

~ Your file format should be jpg, gif, bmp or gnp.

Here’s how to upload the file to the stamp making website:

~ Go to Go to the tab on the left “Custom Stamps” and then scroll down to “Self Inking”.

~ For my kids’ three names, I chose the second stamp down which measures 1 1/2″ x 9/16″ and costs $11.95. If your child’s name is longer, then you will need to go up in size otherwise their name will get too small. For the name “Annabelle”, I chose the 1 7/8″ x 3/4″ stamp for $13.95.

~ Click on “Customize and Order”.

~ Click on the “Choose File” tab which is in the first beige box on the left. tutorial

~ Once you’ve added your file, it will show up in the preview. Make sure it fits. It should look like this (above). If your name shows up really teeny, then your canvas is too big (the white space around your name). Just go back into the file and make sure you trim the canvas so that it’s just the name.

~ There are tons of confusing things to click. Don’t worry about any of them. If you want your stamp to be in a color, then scroll to the bottom. You will see another preview of your name. Just above that, to the right, you will see a button that allows you to chose your color. When you’ve selected your color, hit “Add to Cart”.

~ If you just want black ink, then ignore all of the other junk and just click “Add to Cart”.

That’s it, you’re done!

our fave name stamps :: your kids can make their own stationery ~ or make as a gift for their friends or teachers {free printable included}

Here are the files to download for the notecards. The cards come four on a page, you have to cut them up. Use a lightweight card stock. Choose the borderless setting in your printer’s dialogue box.

traditional notebook lined cards

red diamond lined cards

black triangle lined cards

Kids loooooove using their stamps. Who doesn’t get a thrill out of seeing their name over and over again? It becomes addictive! My kids even stamp their arms (it comes off with water) and think they are pretty cool.

These stamps are cheap and have so many applications other than notecards. I use them on brown paper to wrap gifts for them, or on their lunch bags (if their lunch boxes are gross and in the laundry), or on notes in their lunchbox. You can also stamp the back of their art to remember who did what (and then I always add the date).

Let me know if you need any help!

xo, Bar