2024 Amazing Tips for Ordering Art Supplies on a Budget

a blue background with text saying 'Ordering Art Supplies on a Budget' with art elements like paint brushes and paint

As art teachers, we’re no strangers to the challenge of stretching our supply budgets to accommodate our students’ creative endeavors. From paints to pencils, finding ways to make every dollar count while still providing quality materials can feel like a daunting task. But fear not! In this collaborative post, I’ve teamed up with fellow art educators to share our top strategies for navigating the world of art supply ordering on a limited budget. Join us as we dive into practical tips, creative solutions, and insider secrets to make every penny count while keeping those creative juices flowing in the classroom.

Art Supplies on a Budget Ideas

Ultimate Budget-Friendly Art Supply List

a spiral notebook with a stack of coins and a glue gun

Navigating tight budgets and limited resources is a common challenge for art educators. To help you make the most of every dollar, I’ve compiled my ultimate budget-friendly art supply list. After years of teaching and experimenting with various materials, I’ve identified which supplies give you the best bang for your buck without compromising quality. From essential consumables to indispensable tools, this list ensures your classroom is equipped for endless creativity, regardless of your budget constraints.

For more budget-savvy tips and creative solutions, visit my blog and TPT store. Let’s empower our students with the resources they need to express their creativity!

Art Class Wishlist with The Speckled Sink

a poster with a list of items showing an art teacher's art class wishlist

One of my best strategies for maximizing my budget is not paying for things that people will donate. Asking for donations can occur in a variety of ways throughout the year. The key to asking for donations is thinking about when people would likely be getting rid of things. For example, in December I email the staff asking for calendar donations. These are great for collage, photo reference, paper pottery, paper beads, weaving practice. If you wait until after the New Year, there’s a high probability they have already thrown out their calendar.

Around May I get my donation wish list for the following year ready. You can ask the PTA to send this home at the end of year or post to their social media account. I’d rather have them collecting things like egg cartons all summer and bring them in at once instead of getting them in dribs and drabs all year long. You can set a “drop off date” or better yet, let your PTA coordinate that for you. Once I have my summer donations, I can make a fresh wish list for back to school night of the items that are still needed. 

In June I select a big ticket item to post on Donor’s Choose in the hopes of securing a grant. I find these typically get funded by the end of August. They also run some matching campaigns throughout the year and almost always around teacher appreciation week. The great thing about this website is there is a section of ideas already into there with the shopping cart of supplies needed. I’ve recently had a class set of apple pencils, a high end mat cutter and a year’s subscription to scholastic art magazine funded.

While I was initially hesitant to ask for donations, I found that others generally enjoy helping when they can. I also found that with focused times of year and requests I get less of the random donations that I don’t want showing up. People know that if our classroom needs something I will ask. If you’re not sure how to start, this editable donation request sign is a small step toward your larger goal.

Explore more of Melissa’s creations and ideas by exploring her TPT shop, checking out her blog for more insights, and following along with her on Instagram.

Go-to Supply Lists with Look Between the Lines

a basket full of pencils and scissors indicating an art teacher's go-to supply list

Ordering supplies can be daunting, especially if you are a new teacher and haven’t picked your favorite supplies and brands yet. Over the years I began compiling a list of my go-to supplies. This made putting in those bulk orders much easier because I had the links and quantities ready. Check out my go-to supply lists for a program on a budget, a program with a big budget, and my donations request list here

TIP: Order the supplies you need for the first week of school at the end of the school year. When you go back to school during pre-planning you will have those beautiful supply boxes waiting for you and you will already be one step ahead.

You can also check out Whitney’s art teaching resources on her website here and TPT for more blog posts with tips and tricks to help you during the school year. 

Budget-Friendly Art Teaching Tips with Glitter Meets Glue

a hand holding a basket of plastic cups as art supply

My very first year of teaching art, I had a minuscule budget. And almost no supplies on hand (new school in its 2nd year of existence). As a result, I’ve learned to be stingy with my budget. These tips will help you if you’re new to teaching art:

1) Supports matter: Get the best paper your budget will allow. It will lead to less frustration with painting projects. I’m a huge fan of extra white sulphite, 90lb. paper for many basic art projects. If you can’t spring for 90lb., next best is 80lb.

2) Skip the fads: Covered ice cube trays seem like such a great idea in theory. But they’re costly. And the paint can get moldy and smell pretty quick. 

Instead, consider buying a sleeve of condiment cups and lids. They’re sold through several art catalogs. I get a full 4+ years of heavy use out of them. They’re way cheaper. And, the paint colors can’t pour into one another like those ice cube trays.

3) Invest in your art program: Most years, I’ll spend a good 90%+ of my budget on consumables like paper, paint, markers, etc. But I’ll reserve the remainder to purchase expensive times like quality brayers and inks for printmaking. I may not be able to buy all I need for the project for the following school year. So I’ll tuck these items away until the following year when I can buy the rest of what I need for the project.

4) Make ordering easy: Keep track of used materials throughout the year so end of year ordering is easy peasy!

Check out more from Amie, Glitter Meets Glue,  on her website here and on her TPT here.

High School Art on a Budget with Mrs TFox Resources

Teaching high school art with limited funds can be challenging. While limited resources may seem like a hurdle, the sourcing of unique supplies can spark creativity and ingenuity among students. With some strategic planning and a dose of resourcefulness, it’s possible to tap into the endless student creativity without breaking the bank. My two favorite strategies are:

Repurposed Materials:

One of the most effective ways to stretch your budget is to repurpose materials. Encourage students to think outside the box and use unconventional items for their art projects. For example, old newspapers can become the canvas for papier-mâché sculptures, while discarded cardboard boxes can be transformed into stunning relief prints. One of our all time favorite repurposed items was old clothing. Students cut up shirts, pants, jackets and table linens to create their own beautiful Textile Landscapes – each one was breathtakingly original.

Seek Strategic Donations:

Don’t hesitate to reach out to local businesses, community members, and even fellow educators for donations of art supplies. People love to help, especially when it is students from their own community. My favorite go-to is my local frame shop. Framers throw away huge amounts of museum quality mat board and foam board every day. Drop in with the trunk of your car open and they will gladly fill it. For the good old fashioned easy to use Supply List for Painting with ready to use links, click HERE. Need a Drawing Supply List? Click HERE.

Check out more from Tiffany, Mrs TFox Resources, on her website here and on her TPT here.

Art on a Budget with Picassas Pallete

a paint palette and brushes showing text that says how to extend a severely limited art supply budget

“As art educators, we often find ourselves facing tight budgets and limited resources, yet our passion for fostering creativity in our students remains unwavering. I’m excited to explore the concept of “making the most of what you have” by sharing some of my favorite advice with fellow art teachers on how to adapt to various spending constraints.”

In her blog post, Stephanie shares a few practical tips for stretching and expanding your art supply budget.

You can check out her TPT store here.

Thank you for joining us on this journey of resourcefulness and creativity. For more tips, tricks, and insights from experienced art educators, be sure to explore our individual blogs and TPT stores. Let’s continue to support each other and our students, making art accessible and inspiring for everyone!

Happy teaching, and happy creating!

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