Clay, Air dry clay or Play dough, depending on the age of the children is a fantastic art material to have in your resources. Being able to work with items that promote creativity in 3D is really important and there is something really earthy about building something out of clay or dough.
Air dry clay allows children to be able to make something permanent which sometimes changes the way they look at an art project which can be an interesting learning experience.
This is one of my favourite and most popular additions to art supplies! Cardboard! Cardboard boxes, cardboard rolls etc etc. Add in some washi tape and you will have given someone hours of fun and creativity. It sounds so simple but that’s the thing about creative gifts, the more simple they are the more open-ended the possibilities are and the more room there is for creativity. Here is a marble run we created from cardboard rolls and washi tape but cardboard also lends itself beautifully to any kind of sculpture or 3D creations.
A black fine liner pen or marker is a great addition to any art kit. It doesn’t need to be a permanent marker but some kind of thin black pen, texta or marker will add to illustrations and journaling. You will need to consider the age of the artists when you are deciding what type of marker or pen you add to your art supplies and make sure it is suitable and safe for them to use.
Acrylic paints are a fantastic addition to any creative space. Buy the best student acrylics you can. I recommend 5 basic colours as your first choice, anything beyond that is a bonus. The three primary colours, red, blue and yellow and a black and white will allow endless creativity when it comes to mixing colours. Letting kids mix their own colours is an excellent learning experience and teaches them a lot about painting.
I’ve said the phrase “buy the best you can afford” a few times in regards to materials and tools like paint, paper and paint brushes. Today is different. Today I’m writing about palettes and containers for cleaning brushes. Some artists have particular palette needs for the type of painting they do but if you’re just building a personal creative art supplies kit you can use any number of things that will rinse and mix your art materials. Buy some durable plates and cups to add to your art kit.
Now that you’ve gathered some art materials like watercolour palettes and watercolour pencils you’re going to want to invest in some paint brushes. As mentioned with paint and paper, paint brushes are also sometimes a case of “you get what you pay for”.
If you’re just looking for a variety of paint brushes to support a fun art kit, I would suggest getting a handful in different sizes. A house painting brush is fun for large projects. Some smaller, flat and round brushes are useful and some really fine paint brushes are good for fine work, including outlining. The paint brushes that come with basic water colour sets may get a little frustrating as the bristles are often quite unnatural. Buy the best you can afford and look after them! Here are some tips for caring for your brushes when using WATER BASED art materials.
- DO rinse water based paints immediately after using. Leaving them will dry the paint and that can be hard to fix. Sometimes it may be okay to use a little bit of mild soap to help with the cleaning. Rinse brushes gently in a cup of water.
- DO use cold water to rinse them as hot water can soften the glue that holds the bristles in.
- DO wash the bristles gently so they don’t become distorted.
- DO NOT wash paintbrushes with the brush facing up into the tap water as this will push the paint into the ferrule (the metal part that holds the brush to the handle, where the glue lives). It will also damage the glue, making it more likely that the bristles will fall out.
- DO NOT leave them brush down in a cup as that will distort the shape of the brush. Also, don’t leave them to sit in water as this will damage the handle and the glue inside the ferrule also.
- DO NOT use your painting brushes for glue!
As well as paintbrushes, gather some random painting materials, like sponges, sticks and rollers. Have fun exploring the different effects you can get with the different painting tools.
Watercolours! A colourful watercolour palette is loads of fun. The rainbow appearance definitely draws people in. For kids it can provide hours of painting fun. Add a colourful art diary and you have an inspirational creative gift!
A basic tray, like in the picture for this post, is a great place to start!
Serious watercolour artists are going to want something more substantial and expensive. It’s kind of a case of “you get what you pay for” with watercolour paints. Different watercolour brands have different pigment strengths and quality. If you are really going to get into watercolours, buy the best you can afford. Also buy the best watercolour paper you can afford. The best paints won’t mean much without quality paper. Go to an art supplies store and speak with the sales people about what you need. Most serious watercolour artists already know what their watercolour preferences are so if you are buying for an experienced artist, a gift voucher is a good idea as they will likely have their favourite brands of paint and paper.
Watercolour teaches patience and acceptance of one’s artistic mistakes. It is a beautiful medium that is definitely worth trying.