10 best Art Supplies needed for K-6th grades
- The art supplies that are required in my videos are not only flexible but minimal.
- All the art lessons can use substitute art supplies with the exception of a couple of watercolor projects.
- Feel free to use whatever you have on hand because making art, is so much more important than having the exact required art supplies.
- Markers, colored pencils, and crayons can replace oil pastels and watercolors. A black marker or ballpoint pen can replace a sharpie. A classroom pencil can replace a drawing pencil, and an eraser attached to a pencil can replace a quantity art eraser.
Building an art supply inventory in your classroom
- I kept the art supply list short because I understand the struggle
- Making art can get frustrating. Many times, the frustration comes from the poor quality of art supplies, rather than the student’s attempts. Purchasing higher quality art supplies will not only decrease your student’s frustration but your supplies will last much longer and produce better art.
- Sadly, most teachers use their personal incomes to purchase supplies, or growing your inventory comes from generous retiring teachers donating their art supplies to first-year teachers. Teachers are “givers” even up to their last minutes in the classroom.
- All the art supplies I require can be added to the “Back to School Supply List” except for two items, watercolor paper, and quality watercolor brushes. I strongly believe in providing students with quality art supplies if possible.
Art Supply List:
1. A good set of Color Markers.
Pentel brand makes a great set of markers. Cartoonists use Pentel markers, because they last for years, they have long lasting bright color, and a nice quality tip. I have had Pentel markers in my classroom that have lasted for up to 8 years. A Pentel marker can replace a Sharpie, but Pentel Pens have a sharper tip, so a good set of standard markers with a wider tip will be needed. Crayola is my go-to brand for many art supplies. They will last a school year and they provide great colors.
2. Colored Pencils.
A higher-quality colored pencil can make some really great art happen, it’s all in the technique. I have a couple of lessons on the use of colored pencils and the magic that can come from them.
3. Drawing Pencils
4B and H. Faber-Castell is my favorite brand, but there are many brands that will work perfectly for students’ work. 4B makes a dark graphite line, H makes a very light graphite line, and is perfect for watercolor projects. Giving your students special tool like a drawing pencil will lift their creativity and determination to do their best work. Drawing pencils work every time, as long as you begin your art project with, “we want your best work, so let’s start out using a drawing pencil”. A little side note: teachers should sharpen the drawing pencils. Less is more, and most drawing pencils will last years if not sharpened repeatedly.
4.Quality EraserStaedtler brand makes a great eraser that works perfectly with drawing pencils. Drawing pencils do not have an eraser attached. A Staedtler eraser can be cut into 4 pieces. Give the students one piece at a time throughout the year. If the students are respectful with the erasers and don’t stab them with their pencils or pick them apart or put them in their mouth and chew on them like a piece of candy, they will last for 2 years. The voice of experience has spoken, all those things actually happen in my classroom.
5. Watercolor Paint
Crayola is my favorite. They produce great colors, affordable, long lasting as long as care is given, and one paint tray will last the student an entire school year. Stay away from brands that offer the white color in the tray. Brands with a white color should be your clue for poor quality, white doesn’t work in watercolor. If a student wants the color white in their watercolor painting, they must leave that area unpainted and use the white in the watercolor paper.
6.Watercolor paint brushes
Paintbrushes come in lots of shapes and sizes and are intended for different techniques and applications. Watercolor paint brushes are designed specifically for watercolor paints. Only watercolor paintbrushes should be used with watercolor to get the best results. Watercolor paintbrushes are designed to hold water and to easily manipulate the painting movement and line thickness. Most watercolor tray sets come with paintbrushes, unfortunately, they are not the best quality. Investing in a set of quality paintbrushes, and a variety of sizes, with help your students be more successful in their watercolor projects.
Watercolor paint is designed to be used on watercolor paper. There is a long range of watercolor paper starting at the very least quality and going all the way up to, “holy cow that’s expensive” quality. A good watercolor paper is made from 100% cotton, it absorbs the colors, allows the paint to flow easily, and when a mistake is made it’s somewhat fixable. Low-quality watercolor papers don’t allow for fixes. Students don’t need the “holy cow that’s expensive” paper, but they do need a middle road quality. Biggie brand or Canson brand Watercolor paper makes tablets of paper. I buy 18” x 24” tablets and cut each sheet into 4 sections giving each student a 9” x 12” piece of watercolor paper. One tablet gives you 120 pieces of watercolor paper. A tablet cost around $35 leaving the cost of a 9” x 12” approximately 4 cents per piece of paper. Your students will think they have something really special paper….and it is.
8. Oil Pastels.
Oil pastels are magical but have to be used correctly. I love oil pastels and the students love them just as much. They are different from crayons, and they allow students to feel like they are using a medium that is special, and they are. Crayons base is made of wax where Oil pastels base is oil. The oil allows the colors to blend as long as students use a little pressure when coloring. When Oil Pastels are used correctly, they feel creamy and smooth. If they are not using the pastels correctly, they look like a crayon application and colors won’t blend. Oil pastels can be messy, the good news is they make water-soluble oil pastels and with a little soap and water they clean up in a jiffy.
9.Sharpie fine point, or black permanent marker.
Sharpie fine points are not so fine, but the thickness line of “fine point’ in Sharpies is perfect for students. A black standard marker will work great for any project that doesn’t use watercolor; regular markers will bleed if it gets wet. I use Sharpies a lot with students. When starting a project, I have my students draw with a pencil first, I always have them outline the drawing with a Sharpie, even on watercolor projects because sharpies won’t bleed when water is added. Younger students draw so much better than they color, so using the sharpie to outline not only helps them visually stay within the lines they created but helps the viewer and the artist see the art when complete.
10. Scissors, masking tape, a ruler and glue (both white glue and glue sticks).
I’m going to guess you already have these items. It seems as if nearly every art project will need one of those items at one time or another.
Some Helpful Hints.
Before every art lesson set some expectations: Art supplies are special and a privilege. Respecting the art supplies will give your students the opportunity to continue making art projects.
- Please don’t allow students to draw on themselves, or their neighbor, or their desk, or their chair. Art supplies are for paper not for skin and it’s wasteful.
- Erasers are like superheroes. They can swoop in and fix a line no matter how many times it needs fixing….as long as the students are drawing lightly, that is using light pressure. No eraser will remove dark pressure lines.
- Your classroom expectations might be different than mine, but you do whatever you need to do to bring the gift of art into your classroom.
Craftsmanship is the most important part of an art project. A great design will be a disappointment if craftsmanship is not applied, or a poor design will look fabulous with great craftsmanship. Compare craftsmanship to penmanship, your students will understand the importance of doing their best work.
Thank you for all you do! Teachers are my favorite 💙❤️💜