Melanie’s List of Essential Materials for the Elementary Art Room
o Drawing/Painting (80lb is pretty good for all different kinds of media)
o I get 12x18 and cut it in half if I want 9x12. It is a little cheaper that way and more versatile.
o Construction Paper – Especially Black (It is really cool with oil or chalk pastels)
o Tissue – A couple packs of the multi-colored stuff lasts a while
• Pencils. Lots and lots of pencils.
• Big Pink Erasers – make sure to label them art or they will disappear quite speedily.
• Tempera Paint
o Gallons of Yellow, Blue, Red and White are a must…you can get away with smaller amounts of the other colors depending on what projects you are doing/how well you teach paint mixing. But they keep so it is okay to make the investment.
o I have the gallons with pumps but then got the clear ketchup squirt bottles from Walmart that I just refill for easy distribution.
• Watercolor Paint
o Note, you can just buy refill paint if you already have the watercolor sets. It is way cheaper.
o My newest adventure is in Liquid Watercolors. They are a bit trickier to distribute but save you the hassle of sticky, mixed up watercolor palettes. Most veteran art teachers prefer this variation.
• Paint Pallets – some teachers go without these and you definitely can but they are essential in my room.
• Brushes of some sort
o Some for paint, some less nice ones for glue – you can get buckets of them that have small flaws for very cheap.
• Construction Paper Crayons
o These are way more exciting than regular crayons and can be used on all kinds of paper. Although I don’t think there is a red, which could be an issue if you only have these.
• Sharpie Markers
o Boxes and boxes of them. They are good for outlining everything! But…the kids go through them like crazy and you really have to emphasize taking care of them/not drawing on anything but the paper.
• Crayola Markers – I actually personally hate markers but the kids like them. Plus when they dry out you can use the actual marker tip part to make liquid watercolor paint.
• Oil Pastels and/or Chalk Pastels (if I had to only pick one I would go oil)
• A poster of the color wheel
o Get the gallons of Elmers and just refill bottles. You can also use it watered down and in cups for Kinders and as a kind of Mod Podge substitute. I went through 2 or 3 gallons this year I think.
• Scissors (remember to have some lefties too!)
• Yarn (if your art room doesn’t already have some don’t get new stuff, look at rummage sales, on craigslist, on freecycle.com, ask old ladies at church, etc. You can normally get it pretty cheap or free)
• A noiseless pencil sharpener or you will hate your life. (I prefer the good ol’ fashioned wall-mount crank kind as it is sturdy and does not easily jam)
• Paint Shirts of some kind (I had my brother/uncles/cousins/random people I know send me their old t-shirts but you can have each kid bring one in too or get the apron kind)
• A drying rack – These are pricy if you don’t have one but I can’t imagine life without it.
• Toilet Paper or Kleenex. Kids have a lot of snot. Even in art class.
• If you don’t have a decent sink (My room has a sink that is literally 1 sq. foot. Impossible.) a big bucket is helpful for painty things. I got one at Halloween that was for bobbing for apples and it is awesome.
o Another thing I do to combat the sink issue is I have the kids use baby wipes to wash their hands and tables after painty or gluey projects. I hate that it is not resourceful but it saves so much time and effort. I get the bulk boxes of the generic brand and they are not too pricey. This is just an out-of-pocket, this-makes-my-life-easier expense for me.
• Sponges for bigger table cleaning and cleaning up paint pallets, etc.
• Towels for drying tables and hands (I used an old one and cut it up so we don’t go through 1200 paper towels a day)
• Masking Tape – You have to hang those beautiful projects somehow!
• An apron for you if you want to have any clothes without paint or snot on them.
• Recycled Stuff
o Things to make circles (start collecting lids to everything)
o Peanut Butter jars (handy storage receptacles)
o Tin Cans (I use them for everything. Seriously.)
o Caps to laundry detergent (great crayon/oil pastel holders)
o Yogurt Containers
o Newspaper/Magazines (for collage and for protecting tables)
o TP tubes
o Wallpaper sampler book
o Old CDs
• Stuff that is less essential but fun to have: wiggly eyes, beads, texture plates, random Goodwill stuff you can plop down for visual ideas (i.e. animal “sculptures,” vases, etc), colored pencils, neon and/or metallic paint, popsicle sticks, tooling foil, playdough, clay, Styrofoam plates or meat trays for printmaking, books for when kids are done, the list goes on…
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