we help adults teach art to kids

Teaching Art at Home Part III: Art Supplies


The third in my series, Teaching Art at Home. Click here for Part I and Part II

I’m going to tackle one of the most basic problems with teaching art when you are a non-artist: Art Supplies.

I remember when I first began teaching, I was asked to teach 7 grade levels and had one week to order art supplies and develop an art curriculum. Do you know what gave me the biggest headache? Paper! I could not figure out for the life of me what kind of paper art teachers were using. No one tells you. The websites I perused had images of beautiful art but I was baffled with what paper the teacher used to get such amazing results. It took me over a year of sampling special papers before I realized that the paper my school stocked for the classrooms was perfect for art. What paper was that? Sulphite paper! If you have no idea what Sulphite paper is, don’t worry. I have create a special Art Supply PDF that details all you need to know about art supplies. It includes links to Blick art supplies so that you can see the product as well as read about it.

art supply PDF

I am super excited about this little PDF gem, so go ahead and download it now for free! Click on the image above or this link: Home-school art supply list2


 Art Storage:

Now that you know what supplies to order and what to use them fo, you’ll need a place to put them. I’m going to be honest here. The more organized you are, the easier it is to teach an art lesson. It has taken me a long, long time to find the perfect storage for me. I don’t like to see art supplies in my den or on my kitchen counter. I like things tucked away, but not forgotten.

These plastic bins from Ikea are perfect! I slide them onto my shelf  and when I need an art product, I slide the little cover off and pluck out what I need. I can also remove the entire bin and place it where it will be close. I bought some Martha Stewart Chalk labels at Staples to give the bins some organization appeal. You don’t need these as it is just as easy to write on each bin with a Sharpie marker (it can wash off).

Paper Storage

I use an old dresser for flat paper storage. I looked at fancy flat paper storage units but the truth is, they are very expensive. Ikea has one, but it is cheap and wobbly. You are better off buying an old dresser at a garage sale and splashing a coat of paint on it. It will hold up better.

Here’s another paper trick: don’t buy too much. All you need is the paper outlined in my art supply PDF. Stick to the basics and try not to overload your house with craft papers.

Markers, Pens and Crayons….

I like finding jars and vases around the house to store my coloring tools. I prefer stand-up storage systems better than trays or plastic tupperware just because they are often pretty to look at. I always remove crayons, markers and colored pencils from their packaging for the simple reason that it is much easier putting these items back into a glass jar than lining them up neatly in a boxed package. Can you tell I’m a bit lazy?

Tip #3: Organize your art supplies in a way that pleases you and coordinates with your environment. I read once that organization advice always fails as everyone has their own unique method of organizing. I like to see some things, but not others. I have a big jar of crayons on my desk because they remind me of my child hood and my happy childhood art memories. It keeps me focused. You may hate the look, feel and smell of crayons, so my storage advice wouldn’t work for you. So, find what works for you and don’t buy too much!


  1. Thank you so much for this series! I love art supplies and quite often (all the time according to my husband) purchase more than my two kids can use in a year. I’ve been organizing and changing things for about a year, but I have hopes this year I will discover what works for us. Thanks again for all the wonderful ideas!


    February 25, 2013

  2. I just love your blog and these pdf guides! So wonderful. I noticed that when I download the supply list, the links are missing for sulphite paper, Canson paper, soft pastel and oil pastel. Can you email those to me? I’ve never heard of the sulphite paper – I feel like I’ve been missing out.

    Tyla B

    February 26, 2013

      • Thanks so much for your quick response, Patty. This list with the links is great. I am gearing up to begin teaching art lessons – I’ve been on your blog almost all day. I am addicted to it. It’s so great!


        Tyla B

        February 26, 2013

  3. This is such a good series – thank you for taking the time to write and publish it, it is greatly appreciated!-)


    February 26, 2013

  4. I just purchased an inexpensive but sturdy hutch off Craig’s List that I”m going to paint to hold all my art supplies for homeschool and crafting. I think your dresser idea is right on. I put my large paper in the drawer of the hutch. Where did you get the white boxes with lids?

    Caren with a C

    February 26, 2013

  5. What a great series! Thanks for all of the tips and lessons on your site.


    March 1, 2013

  6. I have been trying to stock up on some good art essentials and your supply list has been so helpful, thank you, thank you! One thing though, I live in Canada and I can’t find sulphite paper, Does it have another name or is there a similar paper I could use? I can find: drawing, water color, finger paint, and construction paper. Thanks again.


    April 18, 2013

    • Sulphite paper can also be called construction paper but it’s different from the crafty construction paper. Sulphite paper is smoother and whiter. Some teachers in my art ecourse have found sulphite drawing paper in office supply stores. In Canada, you can order online through School specialty (Saxs)

      Patty Palmer

      April 19, 2013

  7. I’m a homeschool mom and I love all your art projects. I’ve read through all the supply pages, I think, but was wondering if you had a recommendation for drawing pencils for kids. We have lots of #2’s around, but they tend to press too hard with those. I’m not that familiar with drawing pencils and was wondering if there is a softer type that erases easier?


    December 6, 2013

    • I’m afraid I don’t have a great recommendation for pencils as I use them so rarely. When I do, I use a regular HB school pencil. Pressing hard with pencils is pretty normal for kids and then they realize that it’s super hard to erase, so I get your problem. Hopefully others will weigh in with their choices. Actually, I post this question on Facebook. Let’s see what everyone else thinks….
      Here’s a link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Deep-Space-Sparkle/51340204099?hc_location=timeline

      Patty Palmer

      December 6, 2013

  8. Just ordered beyond the basic ecourse. I wanted to know what is the average cost per student? I have a small class 10-15 students.


    August 19, 2015

  9. I lead art classes with the elderly. Thank you for your generous posts. Traveling from job to job,where every penny counts and you never know what to expect, I feel better prepared after reviewing your tips. Today, it’s bulk watercolor paper, so much cheaper than the big box store selection. Thanks!

    Linda Dunn

    August 25, 2016

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