Helpful Homeschool Hints: Using Real Art Supplies

Helpful Homeschool HintsArt supplies can be expensive. I bought a paint brush that I wanted for a project in the area of the craft store where paint brushes are all sold by the brush, and I spent $10 on it.  That was nowhere near the most expensive brush in that area (nor was it the cheapest).  Looking at spending that kind of money may make those packages of 10 paint brushes for $1.00 seem pretty attractive to your pocket book.  Likewise, those art sets that are filled with paints, crayons, markers, and a ton of other things for $10 also look pretty darn good.

Now, before I go on, let me admit.  We have those kinds of things at our house too.  Many were gifts (and some we probably bought), but they all get used.  There is a time for having those kinds of supplies.

However, I want to suggest that you invest in real art supplies for your children. (And, while you’re at it — join in with them!)  The next time you grab out some water color paints, don’t give them computer printer paper.  Spend a little extra and buy water color paper.  The difference it makes while painting it amazing.  Similarly, although we sometimes paint on paper, I also have sometimes let the children paint on actual canvases that I got on sale. 

Allowing them to explore with art in a real way conveys some messages to them. First, it tells them that they deserve real supplies.  Second, it tells them that you believe they can create works that are worth using those real supplies.  On top of that, using real supplies can bring out the artistic spirit in even reluctant artists.

Our Molly has a plan to be an artist when she grows up.  Of course, I’m sure this is the dream of many other six year old children.  She likes to explore with a lot of types of art and with many mediums.  One day, she wanted to do some stamping.  She got out some of her inexpensive stamp pads, some cheap rubber stamps, and a piece of paper.

I knew that I could go get the scrapbooking supplies that I had in my craft room, but thought, “What if she leaves pad lids off?  What if she doesn’t clean the stamps?” and so on.  Then, however, I realized that I just needed to show her how to take care of real supplies.  I brought out things for her to use, but also instructed her on proper use and cleaning.  Then, I gave her a blank book and she made pages and pages of stamped art.  (She also did marker work in with her stamps.)  She felt good because not only did she get to use nicer things, but it showed that I trusted her with my things.

With all of the great sales that often come up at craft stores like Hobby Lobby and Michael’s, there is no reason to not have at least a few nice art supplies for your children to create and express themselves.

What are some of your children’s favorite art supplies to use?

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This post is also submitted to Finer Things Friday and Works for Me Wednesday.


  1. says

    I agree whole heartedly!!! Kids are very quick learners & are quite capable of taking care of “real” art supplies! Especially when they are their very own!!!
    Thank you so much for the great advice!
    God bless!!!

    • Angie says


      I love that she has an art studio in her house. And even more so that she gets things out for the kids to work with. How awesome is that!

  2. says

    Well, we are cut from the same cloth my dear. I have only one in the house who is not a fan of art, but the other two love it. Rachael can draw so well it looks like a photograph, so I am sure to get her the good stuff. Keegan loves to do everything and has full access to my supplies as well. Recently Rachael and Keegan have been making polymer clay figures. Rachael always has, and I wish she would open at Etsy shop for them, they are adorable, but Keegan has enjoyed learning some of the way to save clay by using tin foil, how to blend things in so it doesnt look obvious that it is two pieces, etc.
    Keegan is also into drawing and canvas work. Sometimes his painting are not so clean, but he is certainly well worth the price of a canvas and more. Great blog post Angie!

  3. says

    You are so right about “real” art supplies, Angie. You will actually save money in the long run and, if you keep a watchful eye, you can pick things up at great prices! My dollar stor once had packs of long, beautiful sable brushes. You just never know! Thanks for another great Hepful Homeschool Hint.

  4. says

    I totally agree about the art supplies. My MIL has an art studio at her house and she always brings out her supplies, brushes, paints, canvas, and let’s the kids explore. At first I was nervous about it, but she just gently tells them how to use the supplies and how to clean them up and care for them. Even my three year old does well with this. And the kids LOVE feeling like “grown-up” artists!

  5. says

    Until the last few years, I had not invested in good art supplies. I do keep the ‘cheap’ stuff around for when the boys want to just be creative and silly. However, it does make a HUGE difference for some mediums to use the good stuff for art studies. I found Dick Blick for many of the materials we needed to use Artistic Pursuits and found their prices pretty reasonable compared to some local stores.

  6. says

    I think this is so true. My son does not have any “real” art supplies yet, but I’d love to get him started next year. I know that they won’t be used for every project he does, but I believe he will benefit from using and learning to care for them.

    Thank you for sharing! I found you on the Hip Homeschool Hop.

  7. says

    I so agree. I struggle for a few reasons. #1 the cost- I know I get frustrated if the supplies are wasted or not used properly. #2 the mess- no matter how hard I try, art is usually messy. :) I try and resist the urge to hold back the art supplies and just recently moved them from a cabinet to an open, accessible shelf! Thanks for the encouragement!

    I also read your newest post- I have not been reading your blog long enough to completely understand what is going on, but you and your family will certainly be in my prayers.

  8. says

    How funny–I was just about to mention American Science & Surplus as a source of affordable, quality art supplies (you never know what they’ll have, but you may find something good!) only to see that it’s Elizabeth’s last blog right above me!

    I think the cost of real art supplies is reasonable if you give them as gifts. My 6-year-old’s Christmas presents included pastels, watercolors, a better-quality glue, and a big bag of pom-poms. I remember fondly the French colored pencils (beautiful colors, in a metal box) my aunt gave me when I was 5 or 6; I had them all the way through college!