The beginning of a new school year can be overwhelming for new students and teachers alike. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead, set goals for projects, and gather must-have art supplies that will keep your students engaged and the creativity going strong all year long.
To help, we asked Sam Rausch, Nasco Education’s resident Art Educator and Customer Engagement Manager, to share which supplies she made sure to have on hand in her art room. Here are her top 10 suggestions for must-have art supplies that can help ensure a smooth start to an amazing new school year.
1. Mixed media paper
Mixed media paper, such as Canson® XL® Mixed Media Paper or Nasco mixed media paper, is a definite must-have art supply for any art room because you can utilize it for almost any project. Larger sized paper is great because you’re able to cut it down and get a lot of use out of different sizes and shapes.
Of course, paint is a must-have for every art room. Here are some of my go-tos for different grades:
- Acrylic paint is ideal for learning situations because it’s quick drying and able to be used on most surfaces. Nasco Acrylic Paint is one of my favorites because it’s easy to blend, layer, and work back into. You can also easily dilute acrylic paint with water to achieve watercolor-like effects.
- Grades 5 and up have beautiful outcomes with watercolor and liquid watercolors. Tempera cakes are a great low mess option for painting on the elementary level.
- For grades 9 and up, you can even introduce acrylic painting mediums such as Nasco’s Acrylic Gel Medium or Acrylic Modeling Paste for special effects.
For younger students, safe, reliable scissors, such as the Fiskars® for Kids – Blunt Tip – Classroom Pack of 12, are necessary for collaging and other multi-media projects. These scissors are also great for younger students to practice fine motor skills.
For older students, consider a larger size scissors, such as Fiskars® Double Thumb Performance Scissors. These have a larger blade that will work on lots of media including fabrics and felt and they’re long-lasting and resilient amongst lots of media.
Glue sticks, like the Elmer’s® Washable School Glue Sticks Classroom Pack, are preferable over liquid glue for most elementary classrooms because they’re easy to use for all ages, and they dry quickly and clearly without any residue.
Mod Podge® is a go-to liquid option for grades 6 and up, as it’s a water-based sealer, glue, and finish all in one. As a glue it dries clear and can hold different types of paper and fabrics, Mod Podge® is ideal for collaging, plus the shiny and matte drying options are available in multiple sizes.
5. Colorful construction paper
As a definite must-have art supply, colorful construction paper, like Pacon® SunWorks® Super Value Construction Paper, is great for collaging, weaving, creating multi-media projects, or drawing.
6. Paint brushes
Any art classroom needs a set of brushes with assorted sizes and tips, such as the Royal Brush® Scholastic Choice Brushes, that are versatile with most painting mediums, including acrylic, oil, watercolor, and tempera.
7. Oil pastels
Oil pastels, such as the Cray-Pas® Junior Artist™ Jumbo Stick Colorpack™, are extremely smooth and ideal for drawing, color blending, and color-resistant watercolor paintings. They are a fantastic alternative to crayons because of their bold color application and capabilities.
8. Air dry clay
Air-dry clay, like Crayola® Model Magic®, has limitless lesson plan potential — plus, it’s easy to distribute, easy to clean up, and it’s always engaging for all grade levels. Air dry clay is a great alternative for teachers who don’t have access to a kiln, but it’s also a great addition to a clay unit even if you do.
9. Permanent markers
Permanent ink dries quickly, resists fading and water, and marks on all kinds of surfaces, including fabric or dried air dry clay. Fine point permanent markers are a staple for every grade level art room because they can be utilized in drawings, paintings, and most multi-media works such as printmaking. Black permanent markers will get the most use throughout the year, so I recommend starting with a class set of black markers.
Finally, investing in a set of quality pencils, like the Ticonderoga® Pencils – Pkg. of 72 (pre-sharpened!) will get your students set for all drawing activities in sketchbooks, directed drawings, and everything in between.
Now that you have a good idea of what you’ll need to keep your art cabinet stocked with must-have art supplies, don’t forget to check out the Teacher Resource Center for even more quick inspiration, expert advice, helpful videos, free standards-aligned lesson plans, and much more!