Art supplies are expensive…especially if you are picky, and there are some items I am very picky about, namely pastels…..BUT since I spend so much on hard pastels, I get creative with everything else..Creative artists can find free art supplies all over the place. Aside from simply re-purposing your own stuff the following ideas may help you on your quest…
ASK – At the beginning of the school year, I put a little blurb in the school newsletter requesting miscellaneous stuff. Actually the title of the post was “The Art Department Wants Your Junk” The list included the usual items like magazines, maps, wood scraps, yarn, fabric…and any other random art items people have around their house. I was SHOCKED at the response. Not only did we have a ridiculous amount of what I asked for, I was also given a big box of plain fleece scarves, huge cardboard tubes from someone’s work, gorgeous pieces of wood trim that made nice bases for sculptures and lovely frames and surprisingly paint galore.
– I may have had an advantage because I asked for the kids at the school, but seeing how willing people were to unload their “junk” makes it easier to simply ask. :)
FREECYCLE – The found objects from this site can be remarkable. They can be a pain with emails, but you can simply opt out and look on their site on your own time.
CRAIGSLIST – Post under “wanted” and you may be pleasantly surprised. The “for sale” section can also turn up some amazing deals – not free, but still amazing.
GET INVOLVED – I have also come across really amazing finds accidentally. When volunteering at a local charity thrift shop, I was shocked to see boxes and boxes of record albums, wine glasses, and frames just tossed in the dumpster. I asked, “what the heck is going on?” and was told they couldn’t possibly sell all that comes in… wow. Guess what everyone on my Christmas list got that year – yep, record bowls and wine glass candles :)
……after that, the staff was quick to set artsy items aside for me to take a look at – stacks of sketch pads, quality watercolors and carving tools are now mine for pennies of what they would have cost. – okay, not FREE, how about FRUGAL ?
MAKE IT YOURSELF – There are a lot of art supply recipes that can easily pass for the expensive brands….in fact, I recently even came across a “recipe” for making my own pastels… I may just give it try.
Some of my recent articles that incorporate free, or nearly free, art supplies
Homemade Treasure Box: Inexpensive and Impressive Masking Tape Box
Things to Do with Sticks: Free Craft Resource
Tea Set Crafts: Three Fun Projects
Easy Earth Day Crafts for Kids: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Eco-friendly kids’ birthday party tips