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

Best Non-Essential Art Supplies

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in at 5:10 PM
Yesterday I posted a list of some of my "essential art supplies, my staple items that get ordered yearly.  In that post I said I'd mention some of my favorite "non-essential", or specialty art supplies.  These are going to be the items that get ordered based on special projects that I don't necessarily do every year or are materials that look particularly fun.  Sometimes I order supplies that look really good and then plan a lesson around them and sometimes the lesson idea comes first.  Here's a few of my fav's:

Crayola Model Magic
If you have a kiln, clay takes precedence over model magic, but this is still a great tool either for early childhood or as a center item.  If kept in a container the stuff lasts pretty long, and if you order the primary colored model magic you can mix them to create a neat marble-like effect, or blend them completely to get the secondary colors. When I student taught, the classroom was kiln-less and so my cooperating teacher ordered tons of this stuff as part of her sculpture curriculum.  It's way better than most air-dry clays, the only downside being that it's a bit pricey.

 "Specialty Papers"
Sold in scrap packages, themed packages or specific patterns/textures/styles in the bookmaking section of your supply catalog, specialty or fancy papers are the type of supply that once you have  you wonder how you ever taught art without them. I've used them in story quilts, as decorative collage frames, in collage lessons, for pattern, texture, and repetition components in my lesson and a bunch of other ways.  I love this stuff.

Liquid Watercolors
Some art teachers use liquid watercolors exclusively.  I like to have palettes as well as the liquids but these are really great.  Nasco's 'Country School Washable Watercolors' are cost friendly and really bright, they last a long time and can even be watered down to extend their life while retaining most of their brightness.

Acetate paper (clear and colored)
I've used this to create stained glass lessons,  It's pretty versatile and coupled with foil and some colored Sharpies and you've got yourself some effects the kids will drool over. If you don't have money in the budget for them, use the clear paper sleeves from the main office, they work exactly the same.

Velour or Velvet Paper 
The kids think this stuff is magic. Use it with chalk pastels and voila! Gorgeous results every single time!

Alphacolor brand Neon Chalk Pastels
In my opinion you can't teach elementary art without busting out the neon's on a regular basis. I LOVE neon.  Whether its, paint, paper, highlighters, or chalk pastels I try to use them on a regular basis.  I've also ordered neon watercolors and neon tempera cakes, (so-so) but the alphacolor brand chalk pastels are fantastic, they're so vivid and yet again, the kids love using them.

Scratch Foam
All you need is a ball point pen or pencil and some paints and brushes.  Scratch foam is a great introductory on printmaking and can pretty much be used for all grades. 

Crystaltex Glazes (or any specialty glaze)
What's the best and easiest way to add pizazz to pinch pots or simple clay projects?   Use a specialty glaze! Whether it's opalescent, textures, speckled, spotted, or mulit-tonal, using specialty glazes makes EVERY project look amazing.

Well, there it is folks. I could probably dedicate a whole blog to art supplies...Art teachers are so lucky to get to use all these stellar materials on a daily basis :)