How to find inexpensive art materials for your class

By | 2017-08-17T22:43:11+00:00 November 30th, 2016|For creators, For teachers|0 Comments

With school-wide budget cuts and reduced spending on the arts, it can be hard to get enough materials for your art class. We’ve brought you some simple and cost-effective ways to create without foregoing your students creative potentials.

1. Recycle, reduce, reuse

Recyclable objects are a great source of materials for creations! Cardboard boxes, aluminum cans, plastic bottles, you name it, can be used as sculptures or installations, cut to make prints, or used as a base to paint or draw on. You can ask your students to bring recycled goods from their homes, check a local grocery or retail stores for boxes or even your school cafeteria.

This also serves as a great lesson for students who may not have access traditional materials or are reluctant to think outside of the box. Take a look at Swiss artist Zimoun Zweifel’s breathtaking installation from recyclable materials.

2. Do-it-yourself

A great way to save money on art materials is to simply make them yourself. You can use household items like sponges or spray bottles for painting or butter knives for carving clay. Not only that, but you and your class can easily make your own clay! You can also paint with coffee and make paints from other items found in your own kitchen. Karen Eland creates beautiful replicas of masterpieces using coffee.

3. Find art

Art can be created with just about anything. Have your students bring in all kinds of materials they find throughout the day. Materials can be fabric, beans, buttons, old holiday decorations, you name it! You can also look through your school for old materials that are no longer in use for your students.

The sky is also the limit with found art projects. Artist Hanoch Piven, of FacesIMake and creates collage-style portraits with found objects. Martin Roller, another found artist, makes amazing creations for objects that can be found in almost everyone’s home.

4. Go Green

What’s more inspiring than nature? There are so many natural materials all around us to make creations with. Whether it be colored sand or stone mosaics, if you a moment to explore the outdoors, you can find many quality items in your natural surroundings. Take your students on a field trip to a local park or forest to collect natural elements they can use for their art projects. Check out Sandra Groeneveld’s stone creation, Konijntje, or bunny.

5. Do it digitally

Integrating technology into art opens doors for a great deal of creativity that can not be achieved otherwise. Though a lot of digital tools come with a hefty price tag, there are quite a number of excellent ones for free. For example, GIMP and fotor allow you to edit your photos, even those taken with a phone. Inkscape Illustrator and Krita are great drawing tools that your class can at no cost. If you’re students have devices or there’s a computer in your classroom, why not try out this free way to create art?

GrundlerArt (38Y USA)

GrundlerArt (38Y USA)

Planning on making any found art projects or coffee paintings? We’d love to see them! Share them with us on

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Tish Seabrook. Copywriter at Creatubbles. Writer and former university lecturer. Interests: edtech, STEAM, arts integration.