Musings about the importance and impact of art and art education in the 21st century.

Art Supplies for the New Year

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in , at 1:51 PM
In response to a post about art supplies from Cassie Stehphens, I thought I'd post a few things I particularly like to order for my students. 

Here's a link to her post: 

 "In the Art Room: The Dreaded Art Supply Order"

Now, even though I'll be missing the first two months of this school year, I placed my supply order some time in early May.  Let me just tell you that I LOVE planning my supplies, browsing through the catalog and deciding which materials I'm going to re-order, scrap, or try out.  For me, the process is like Christmas, and I'm equally delighted when I get my supplies shipped to me and I walk into an art room filled with boxes of "goodies". In all likelihood, I spend too much time fussing over which supplies I'm going to order for the year, but I just can't help it, it's only done once a year, so its gotta be done right!

I keep a master binder that has everything I need for the year in it.  Part of the binder is sectioned off for supplies, and throughout the year, I write down the things that have been recommended to me, that I've read about or seen at conferences or in magazines, or items that are new that I particularly like or dislike.  I also write down the supplies that are almost used up so that by the end of the year I'm not running around inventorying everything in the room frantically trying to make sure I don't forget or miss anything.  I also have a word document that I've created to record all the supplies that I've ordered.

Here's a snapshot of how I organize what I order.  It's divided into 10 categories: 

Paints/Paint Accessories/Brushes
Paper/Construction Paper
Office Supplies/Organization/Furniture
Center Items/Teacher Resources
Miscellaneous/ Crafts
Ideas for Next Year

The list helps me inventory the items after they get shipped to me in August so I make sure that I've received everything I've ordered. Now, onto the good part! 

I'm always trying new things,  I have a few "staple" items that get ordered every year but probably about half of my order changes year to year based on the projects I plan on teaching and new techniques/materials I want to try with the kids. Here are some of the staples: 

Ticonderoga # 2 pencils.  My opinion?  Don't skimp on the quality of the pencils you use.  I've ordered "School Specialty" brand and they sharpen terribly and the point breaks easily.  I've gone through twice as many of the cheapie pencils as the good ones. So you end up not saving money in the long run. 

 Blick Essentials Tempera Paint (and if you read Cassie's post...Yessss, I too am glad they dropped the dick, lol)
I used to use Crayola brand, and found that these are just as good, if not better, and are 1/3 the price!  I order quart size. I find that the gallon pumps waste a lot once you get to the very bottom and I can't possible lug around all those gallons of paint!

Crayola Watercolor Paints  
There's always been a debate, Prang vs. Crayola...I've found them to be equally good, I just had some crayola already in my room when I started working there, so I stuck with em'.  Oh and also, ORDER EXTRA YELLOW REFILLS (you'll need them!)

Mr. Sketch UNSCENTED Markers: Don't get scented unless you want all your kiddos to walk out with colored dots on their nose, either that or spend more time sniffing them and discussing  their odors than actually coloring with them.  Oh and by the by, has anyone else noticed that they stopped making the super helpful plastic trays they used to come in! Super annoying! I really liked those trays. Now the ones I have left are all duck taped up!

Colored Sharpies (24 color pack) Some art teachers don't feel comfortable letting children use Sharpies, but I've found if you take some time and go over the rules for using them that you won't have a problem.  Plus, you can't beat the precision and colors you get from them.  Just an fyi though, if you're sensitive to smells, don't use these bad boys on a hot days, you'll want to pass out!

Amaco "25m" White Art Clay. It's durable,is light beige when "green", has no grog, stays moist pretty long for clay, and fires to an almost pure white.  It's really receptive to all sorts of glazes as well. It's a must. 

Pinky Erasers  I believe these are made using latex so be aware of kids that have latex allergies.  That being said, I've been teaching for six years and have yet to have a student with an allergic reaction to them.Also, the cheap ones work just as well as the "Pearl Pink" name brand.

Tru-Ray Construction Paper And Sunworks Pacon  Tru-Ray really is the best but hear me out on this...I have over 600 children to teach and if I ordered Tru-Ray brand I'd blow my entire budget.  Sooooo, I order blue and black of the good brand because when blue and black paper fade they just look awful, and Pacon for the rest.  Yes they fade, but I'd rather that then cut out other supplies elsewhere. Oh, I also order all my construction paper in 18x24, I can always cut it down, but I can't make it any bigger.

Sax brand Extra White Sulphite Drawing Paper (500 sheet reams of 18x24) I order, no joke, about 6 reams of this stuff, it's great for ALL types of media and considering the quality and quantity, well worth it!

Yikes this turned into a longer post than I thought it'd be, so tomorrow I'll post my favorite non-essential supplies then. 


This post rocks! I just got a new job with a new art department (they had nothing before) I'm building everything up from the bottom. I found this information so helpful. I love your inventory system and will be copying it! Thank you so much!