Monday, July 23, 2012

I'd Like to be a Gallery: Our Top 10 Arts & Crafts Supplies


As summer camps come to an end and the dog days of summer settle in, we've started to hear from people that they want to do artsy stuff with their kiddos, but just don't know where to start.  We have absolutely no special knowledge or education on the subject, but we love to trade ideas and thought it might be helpful to pull together our top ten arts & crafts supplies and our favorite projects using them.  Mom approaches arts and crafts with toddlers/preschoolers with two things in mind: (1) like whisky, there is no such thing as bad art; and (2) if it looks like an adult made it, they probably did -- meaning, she tries to focus on the process and not the product.  (that being said, she's definitely had to stop herself from prying paintbrushes out of our hands before).  Now have at it!

And keep your eyes peeled for our favorite sensory play supplies - we hope to have that post up later this week!

Oh, and as some of you know, we are Discount School Supply affiliates and the links below to DSS are affiliate links.  If you click on any of these links (or the general DSS link on the right hand side of our blog) and make a purchase, we will receive a small percentage of the sale from DSS.  So do us a solid and help support our arts and crafts habit -- if you are going to buy something from DSS, do it through Not-So-SAHM!  Scroll down for links to purchase our favorite arts and crafts supplies.

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(1)  Biocolor Paints -- we were big fans of these paints long before we became DSS affiliates.  Unlike traditional tempera paint, biocolors don't really mix together, which means that all your toddler's art work will not end up brown.  You can make stickers, resist art, and even use it for fabric stenciling.  Our most favorite biocolor paint projects are super easy printmaking (especially for younger toddlers) and scraper painting.

(2)  Homemade Playdough -- mom finds she gets the biggest bang for her buck when she involves us in making the dough.  If your kiddos are too young to do the actual cooking, let them scoop, measure and mix.  Or make no-cook playdough (which isn't our favorite, but is still better than the commercial thing).  Here's the recipe for our most favorite cooked playdough -- our favorite artsy playdough activity is using markers to color blank dough!

(3)  Bleeding Tissue Paper -- we make lots of stained glass and suncatchers with this art tissue paper that "bleeds" when you wet it.  That also means you can almost paint with it.  We loved making Hannukah stained glass with it, but you could use any stencil to make a stained glass "frame" for it.  Half the fun is getting to tear it into pieces!

(4)  Homemade Bathtub Paint -- mom loves letting us art in the bathtub - we inevitably get messy and having us already in the tub means super easy cleanup.  We liked the cornstarch/baby soap recipe we made, but probably favor brightly colored shaving cream tub paint.

(5)  Salad Spinner -- mom loves the minimal mess of painting with a salad spinner and we love the element of surprise.  Heavyweight paper (like DSS tagboard) cut into a shape that fits into the bottom and tempera or biocolor paints is all you need, but our favorite project reused cardboard egg cartons to make super cool flowers.

(6)  Acrylic Easel -- we've been loving outdoor art this summer and the acrylic easel mom made us has been in heavy rotation.  "Made" is probably too generous -- she duct taped together two pieces of acrylic paneling.  We've done some bleeding tissue paper painting with the easel, but plain ol' paint has probably been our favorite.

(7)  Glitter Glue -- one of Kane's most favorite things to "paint" with -- looks especially cool when used on black paper.  We've switched to larger glue bottles because we use up the glitter pens so quickly -- check out the link to DSS glitter glue bottles below.

(8)  Liquid Watercolors -- these are washable, easily dilutable, and just plain easy for toddlers to use.  Our top two favorite liquid watercolor projects are spray painting coffee filters and painting paper lanterns.

(9) Washable Markers -- nothing complicated here, but markers have been keeping both of us occupied recently for long periods of time.  Kane has really started drawing representationally (stick people, animals, things in the environment) and spends a lot of time lately drawing at the table or easel with washable markers.  Cami likes to join in and does a lot of scribbling.  Mom is working on some project to incorporate the incredibly large volume of marker drawings we are generating, but also favors the acrylic and whiteboard easels we have for their temporary art.  Mom hopes to get up a post highlighting Kane's new drawing skills soon, but for the meantime, you can check out the mean circles he was practicing at the beginning of this year.  We like to use DSS's lightweight sulphite paper for our everyday marker drawing (see link below) and we have IKEA's incredibly reasonably priced art easel, which has a whiteboard, chalkboard, and a paper roll dowel.

(10)  Butcher Paper -- although we occasionally use this paper for making art itself, it is mom's LIFESAVER for almost all arts and crafts that go on inside our house.  She keeps a giant roll nearby and covers our dining room table with it before we even get to sit down.  And sometimes it even turns out to make surprising art itself -- we've used it to make homemade wrapping paper before.

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Complete BioColor Paint Kit Complete BioColor Paint Kit
This kit is loaded with fun and value. BioColor kit includes the supplies to make 10 different classroom activities right away! Make stickers ornaments fabric paint projects shimmery metallic paint resist art projects marble paint crafts glitter paint reverse paint designs everyday easel paintings or table top painting and much more. The detailed video and brochure give you simple instructions for over 50 project ideas.


BioColor Paint 16 oz. BioColor Paint 16 oz.
BioColor does it all! It's so versatile - use with brushes spatulas or our paint accessories. It spreads and adheres easily to paper plastic wood metal cardboard. It shines brilliantly when dry and won't crack or fade with age! Use for fabric painting sticker art and marbling projects or make multi-colored putty!


20 x 30 Colorations Premium Bleeding Tissue Paper - 100 Sheets 20 x 30 Colorations Premium Bleeding Tissue Paper - 100 Sheets
Our premium art tissue is perfect for making arts and crafts projects of all types.


Extra Sturdy Tagboard - 100 Sheets Extra Sturdy Tagboard - 100 Sheets
Heavy yet inexpensive 125 lb. weight tagboard paper is perfect for painting construction charts and craft projects. Matte finishing on front and back.


Colorations Glitter Glue - Set of 6 Colorations Glitter Glue - Set of 6
A whole new way to paint decorate and do collage with beautiful glitter glue! This set of 6 bottles includes: blue gold green purple red and silver. Each bottle is 4 ozs. Bottles have a nozzle tip for easy dispensing. Great with our Nancy Bottles for detailed work.


Jumbo Glitter Glue Pens - Set of 24 Jumbo Glitter Glue Pens - Set of 24
These pens add glamour to ordinary art projects and are easy for preschool hands to hold! Top opens and closes effortlessly for a smooth and even application.


Colorations Classic Colors Liquid Watercolor Paints 8 oz. - Set of 13 Colorations Classic Colors Liquid Watercolor Paints 8 oz. - Set of 13
This washable water-based paint is the economical solution for classroom watercolor painting projects. Paint can be used straight from the bottle for ultimate brilliance and convenience. Use Liquid Watercolor on paper wood fabric and filters for hours of endless fun. Pair Liquid Watercolor with bingo bottles droppers spray bottles or even just a brush to create unique designs and unforgettable artwork! Non-toxic and AP Certified. Made in USA by Discount School Supply. Colorations Liquid Watercolor Is...


Liquid Watercolor Tissue Paper Lanterns - Set of 12 Liquid Watercolor Tissue Paper Lanterns - Set of 12
A beautiful decoration that will brighten any room! Use spray bottles or brushes to paint these tissue-paper lanterns with Liquid Watercolor (do not overly saturate). For even more dazzle enhance with Gold or Silver Liquid Watercolor accents or add glitter sequins or rhinestones! Each measures 5Dia. Not intended for use with candles or light bulbs.


Liquid Watercolor Texas Snowflakes Liquid Watercolor Texas Snowflakes
Super thick absorbent filters. Use with Colorations Liquid Watercolor in Bingo Bottles spray bottles or plastic droppers for beautiful bright bleeding effects. Great for making hats or cutting giant colorful snowflakes. Sold in sets of 35 and 50 or purchase a set of all 3 sizes.


Spray Bottles 4oz. - Set of 12 Spray Bottles 4oz. - Set of 12
Use stencils templates or your own shapes to produce a design. 4 ounce easy-grip plastic bottles set of 12.


Colorations Super Washable Chubby Markers - Set of 16 Colorations Super Washable Chubby Markers - Set of 16
Holds 4.2 grams of SUPER washable ink. Sturdy nylon conical tip is pointed for making both fine lines and filling large coloring spaces.


White Sulphite Paper - 500 Sheets White Sulphite Paper - 500 Sheets
Budget friendly recycled 50 lb. bright white sulfite paper is perfect for drawing and thick paint projects. 80 lb. sulfite paper provides maximum sizing for excellent paint retention and drawing. 500 sheets per package.


Butcher Paper Rolls Butcher Paper Rolls
40-lb. butcher paper rolls are an economical thickness for drawing with markers crayons pencils chalk collage projects and some paints.

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