We use a variety of craft supplies all the time. As I’ve talked about them, I’ve discovered not everyone knows how to use the supplies the way I do. So, I’m creating a quick reference guide for everyone to help you on your crafting way.
All paints I buy at Hobby Lobby or Michaels when on sale or with a 40% off coupon.
I buy my paint brushes when they’re on sale at various places, I do not have specific ones I really like, yet…… I’ve tried some of the Martha Stewart ones, and they’re creeping up on me.
tempara paint or poster paint-this is my go to for paint projects. It mostly washes out, and doesn’t really stain, and works for most projects you’ll do through elementary age. I prefer the Crayola brand, it seems to of worked best for us.
finger paint– this like it says is intended to be painted with fingers, it spread easier to my mind and to me feels slightly slimy, it doesn’t seem to stick to you as much as tempara paint does, it washes off your hands easier. You’re supposed to use special finger paint paper, but in reality I don’t think everyone does. My kids don’t really like it all that much because of the sensory feeling of it on their fingers. I also wrote about a homemade finger paint recipe.
watercolors– this comes in 2 different forms, there’s the cake form you remember from school, which I’ve never had much luck with, and there’s the tube form that you squirt out, I haven’t experimented much with it, but that’s on my list to try at some point. These are great to use for painting over other textures. They also produce a nice light color.
acrylic paint– this is permanent once it’s on your clothes it does not come off, so why would you use it with kids? well, making a handprint apron for a Father’s Day gift, or other projects like that. This does not wash off with water like tempara paint, which can be helpful depending on the project. I do not have a specific brand preference with this one and buy whatever is on sale.
glitter glue– not really a paint, but I’ve used it similarly, it’s glue with glitter in it, depending on the brand it does not dry completely and will stay slightly sticky (so don’t use it in homemade books) and it has a nice dimensional quality, it tends to be a neat way to use glitter where it won’t get everywhere.
PAPER (in order of weight, more or less)
tissue paper– aside from being great for stuffing in gift bags, it’s great for collages, paper mache, making sun catchers. I don’t buy this, I usually recycle the paper I get in presents and stash it away for crafts.
copy paper– this is what you use in your printer, great for general coloring projects, and a lot of art projects. I buy this at an office supply store by the box. Princess uses it up in batches of 10 or 20 drawing on it.
construction paper– this is slightly bigger than copy paper, if you cut it down to size it would run through your printer, but it’s a lot of work. It comes in all sorts of colors and sizes. I tend to get the one that’s closer to normal copy paper because most of our projects at this point aren’t big enough enough to need the larger size. This is best bought during back to school sales.
manilla paper– this may depending on the brand be lighter than construction paper, it comes in the large size paper 15×24?, I have no clue on the measurements. This is what the schools use all the time for projects. It makes great basis for making books. This is also best bought during back to school sales.
cardstock-this goes through your printer, is the same size as copy paper and is a lot stiffer, it’s like a really light weight cardboard. This is great for something you want to stand up on its own. Or that you think will get a lot of wear and tear. I buy it at Sams Club, they seem to have the best price on a ream of cardstock. I print on it a lot because it is so VERY sturdy.
fun foam– this isn’t really paper, but I use it in similar ways. It’s a light foam that is the size of paper, it comes in lots of colors and textures. It doesn’t really fold, or hold a crease so it can’t be used for stuff with folds, but otherwise it’s great. I buy this at the dollar store or craft stores when on sale.
Crayons markers and the like
Crayons– get crayola, go to the 20 cent back to school sales and buy all you want then, I like crayons more than markers because they don’t bleed through, don’t accidentally stain my carpet (thank you boys), and they can be cut into little pieces and melted into all sorts of cool projects. Crayons and markers can mostly be used interchangeably on projects, but crayons do not bleed through paper like marker does, so it’s preferable on projects where you need to be able to see both sides. They’re also great for resist projects used with watercolors.
Markers– get washable, in theory it comes out, I like crayola brand, but Rose Art is starting to get some decent products as well. The washable ones are not on sale during back to school sales for $1, those are usually the normal markers. The last few years we’ve been using “cake markers,” and those are great because you get a wide variety of colors and it’s nicely organized and portable. If my kids had their way, they’d use mostly markers. They can cover a page more quickly than crayons or pencils, but do not usually have the same fine control.
Color Wonder– this is a newer product that only colors on the paper made for it, my kids have never liked it because there is a slight delay while the chemical reaction takes place before the color shows up, that and it doesn’t seem to color as well as regular markers. This is great for young preschoolers still working on just coloring on paper. They also released paints, crayons, and more. When my kids were younger we mainly used these for car trips. But them at most craft supply stores on sale or with coupons.
Sharpies– permanent, does not come out, great for making cool looking clothes, but in general that’s one to keep way out of their hands. Now that my kids are in elementary school I will let them use Sharpies for some projects, but it has to be for specific projects. I buy them wherever I see the best price. Office Supply stores seems to be the best bet.
colored pencils-I love these, little kids don’t like them as much because they don’t cover as much as fast as crayons or markers, but they provide some really cool looking results. For my kids I buy crayola pencils or rose art, when on sale. For myself, I use Prismacolor, they produce a very nice effect when coloring. These are great for if you want fine details because you can sharpen them to get a finer effect.
watercolor pencils– after you’re done coloring with these you can brush over it with a wet paintbrush and it will blur slightly to make a watercolor effect. Kind of cool to my mind. We’ve used them for a few projects, and they’re always a hit. I bought mine at Hobby Lobby and Michaels with a coupon. Here’s a project on Florida using watercolor pencils.
General cool stuff
glitter– high on the messiness factor if not carefully monitored. I think it works best to use it on a cookie tray and in theory contain the glitter. You shake it out onto wet glue and it will stick to your paper and give it some bling factor. I don’t use it much because I have the worst luck with it getting stuck everywhere.
googly eyes– these are either a sticker backing or glue on, but they make animal projects look super cool
felt– this is sold by the sheet in most craft stores, it’s a type of fabric that can have all sorts of fun textures and colors. You can also by it by the yard at Hobby Lobby or Joanns. There are some projects that just demand yardage……
stickers– I love these as a quick easy way for a preschooler to add color and characters, my kids still mostly just scribble, and this lets them add recongnizable characters, and they’re fun to put on
pom poms or fuzzies– these are great for adding dimension, you glue them on, and they are fun, my kids love to stuff them in things
pipe cleaners or chennille stems– can be bent into most any shape, I”ve used them to make little dolls, they can be glued onto paper for a little texture, stuck into egg cartons to make legs or antennae, endless uses. I bought a giant set of them from Oriental Trading Company a few years ago (about 1000 or so) and we’ve almost used them all up. Almost.
That covers most of the obvious craft items you can buy in a store I can think of, anyone else have any to add?