A Few Tips For Stocking the Art Supply Cupboard

We live in unprecedented times. As news around Coronavirus swirls endlessly, we are met with uncertainty but also resilience. In Washington state where I live, schools are shut down for the next six weeks and while we scramble for childcare plans and that last roll of toilet paper rumored to exist at the local grocery store — my little community is also busy inventing ways to support each other while we spend time at a distance. I was particularly cheered by a new Facebook “helper” group whereby healthy people volunteer to run errands and help bring necessities to those who may be housebound. Another community member is making what she is calling “vats” of soup for anyone who might need it. The way that we treat each other during this period of time might just heal us all. 

While preparing ourselves for the near future means procuring extra supplies for our pantries, I suggest we also prepare for the passions and hobbies that give us life in normal times. We do a lot of art making around my house so I know that will need to continue. I did a bit of preparation today and I have a few tips to share. 

1. Surfaces. Painting and collage work are two easy projects for artists of any age. As you plan upcoming projects, consider free surfaces that might be hiding around your home in plain sight. If you are like me, you have a million Amazon boxes laying around - grab a pair of scissors and create a stack of “canvases” for your little artists. Cereal boxes work great for this as well.

Cardboard paint surfaces

2. Tools. Paintbrushes are nice to have but if you don’t have any on hand, I guarantee you have all the tools you need to make art. In my own art practice, I use all of these tools when I paint. Get creative! Here are my favorites:

  • straws (regular and wider “smoothie” size)
  • plastic fork
  • wine cork
  • bottle cap
  • gloves 
  • credit card
  • spray bottle 

Recycled paint supply tools

3. Paint. If you don’t paint already, you are less likely to have this on hand. I bet you could find a homemade recipe for paint BUT I will leave that to you. I recommend purchasing paint. Here are a few basic Tempera paint options available right now on Amazon:

I am wishing you and your family health, safety and all of the creativity you need to stay in good spirits as you find new ways to fill time and stay entertained. Art can be an important part of that. As Brene Brown says, Art has the power to render sorrow beautiful, make loneliness a shared experience, and transform despair into hope.”

All the best,


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