You don’t have to have a big elaborate project planned. It’s a lot of fun to just experiment with some new art materials. Explore how the different materials feel and different ways the materials can work. You can end up creating a cool art work, or just have fun with your experiments. Adults and kids alike can enjoy trying something new. You don’t have to be an expert!
Here are some of my favorite materials that are both kid-friendly and wallet-friendly:
• Oil Pastels- You can get a basic set for about $2.00 at most stores.
Try these on dark and light paper, on wood or even on rocks. The bright colors pop! Smudging and mixing the colors can be a great way to learn about color theory. Draw then wash over it with watercolor paint for a stunning resist effect.
• Water Color Pencils- Color shapes or just make lots of funky lines, then use a paintbrush and water to transform this material to watercolor paint right on your paper. It’s so much fun! A great way to learn about color mixing: layer pencil colors, swirl them together with your brush/water, see what happens! Some sets can be expensive, but Crayola makes a great 12-color watercolor pencil set for about $5.
• Model Magic- Just one small packet of this air dry clay by Crayola can have limitless possibilities. When dry it can be painted, colored with markers, or decorated with just about anything. The clay is super soft so its great for small hands or for people with limited hand strength. I like using it on paper to create 3-D effects, like raised outlines or textures like mountains or ocean waves. Just roll it into skinny ropes, stick it to the paper and let it dry. Short shelf life, so use it up when you open it. VERY easy clean up.
• Paper scraps- Go on a scavenger hunt around the house and gather up anything that can be glued down. Try everything: wrapping/ tissue paper, scrap-booking supplies, old greeting cards, magazines and newspaper, tin foil,... If you don’t have a large variety of paper, take white computer paper, use your pastels, watercolor pencils or anything, color it in random patterns.
Now, collage! Use a cardboard or poster board as a base if you really want to load it up, or regular paper is fine. Make it tiny or huge! Just cut shapes and attach with glue stick (easiest for little ones) or any cheap white glue that dries clear. If kids are too young for scissors, adults can cut a bunch of random shapes and allow kids to assemble. Random shapes can be formed into animals, houses, cars, faces or used in an abstract style. Collaging costs almost nothing and gives you hours of creative fun!
Tip: Glue sticks with colored dyes can bleach colored paper when it dries. And they’re ALL “washable”. Don’t pay extra for those products. Resist buying bulk packs for home even if it’s a good deal- they’ll dry out before you get to use them.
Shopping Recommendations: Try your local retail stores including major discount stores to find art materials. Locally (Southeastern MA), I always check Ocean State Job Lot for really great prices on supplies. I do a lot of online shopping for both my studio and classroom, and for that I use Nasco Arts & Crafts: low prices, reasonable quick shipping, free lesson plan ideas and great specials. They carry EVERYTHING!
Now start creating!