What are your favorite craft supplies?

Crafts can be costly.  One way to keep costs down, yet invest in your child's art time is to save up things that you would normally throw away.  I also buy a lot of my craft supplies at the dollar store here in town called Dollar Tree.  Also check the dollar section of Target as well.  I have an area in my house where I keep all our crafts.  It isn't what I dream of having, but it works for now.  I have tall plastic storage containers for our drawing supplies, I have leftover diaper boxes filled with things I find that I think the kids could create with.  I made a list of things that you should look out for either in your shopping or saving from what you may have otherwise thrown away.

Things to recycle:

  • boxes -- It is sometimes hard to keep a lot of boxes, but kids love to create new things out of cereal, tissue, and oatmeal cannister boxes. 
  • cardboard
  • magazines -- I actually don't subscribe to any, but we get a free parenting magazine for our area once a month so I save them, you can also pick these up at most libraries or sometimes grocery stores for free.
  • egg cartons 
  • empty jars and lids 
  • fabric scraps 
  • stickers -- I often get stickers in the mail for free from companies like Easter Seals and Sports Illustrated trying to entice me to buy something.  
  • old mittens -- These can be turned into puppets.
  • paper scraps 
  • paper towel and toilet paper tubes as well as wrapping paper tubes 
  • Popsicle sticks -- I actually buy them at the dollar store -- I like them unused! but there is nothing wrong with recycling them.
  • paint sample chips 
  • photographs -- Instead of throwing away Christmas cards or wedding invitations save them for crafting.
  • rubber bands 
  • thread spools 
  • wrapping paper scraps 
  • Old or ugly shirts --I cut one of my old shirts down the back and the kids slip in on with the cut down their back and it works really well to come on and off without having to go over their head.  I have also used shirts they get free from clubs or school that I would never put them in otherwise.
  • pencil shavings
  • packaging materials -- like Styrofoam or bubble wrap
  • also don't underestimate the power of even sticks, leaves, rocks, pine cones, and other natural things for drawing.

Things you will find at the dollar store:

  • buttons
  • cotton balls 
  • dried pasta
  • felt 
  • stickers 
  • Popsicle sticks --As I said I prefer them unused
  • ribbon (dollar section at Target has really cute ones always)
  • rubber bands 
  • rulers 
  • beads
  • chalk 
  • child safe scissors 
  • construction paper in various colors -- I like buying nicer paper than at the dollar store, but they do have lots there.  I buy mine at Ikea usually.
  • crepe paper 
  • glitter 
  • googly eyes 
  • pencil sharpener -- I like my electric one, but you can get manual ones from the dollar store
  • tissue paper 
  • tape 
  • foam sheets and stickers 
  • foam paint brushes 
  • wreaths 
  • pom poms
  • pipe cleaners 
  • Styrofoam balls 
  • seasonal crafts --They always have things like fake leaves in the fall, fake flowers around memorial day, heart doilies around Valentines.  
  • Coffee filters 
  • feathers
  • paper plates, cups, and bowls
  • yarn 
  • white drawing paper
  • sometimes they have tracing paper pads too
  • anything you think will spark your kids imagination

Things to buy elsewhere:
  • construction paper in various colors 
  • crayons --I like Crayola best.  I find anything else is really not as good.  All crayons break, but crayola is better at not breaking and the colors are far more vibrant,.
  • glue and glue sticks --I buy Elmers by the bulk around back to school time and they are very cheep.
  • masking tape
  • hole puncher
  • pencil sharpener -- I like my electric one.
  • pencils
  • colored pencils -- I am a bit of a snob and grew to like Prismacolor, but Crayola is also good.
  • markers --I like the washable Crayola brand the best. My kids prefer markers to any other drawing material so I buy lots.  Fat ones and skinny ones, little ones, and mixing ones. 
  • watercolor and sketching paper --I like nicer watercolor paper and go to Michaels for mine, but they do have some at many other stores as well that would work fine.  I just hated in school when they had us do watercolor on regular old white paper.  It really is different to use a thicker and higher quality paper.
  • tempera paints
  • brushes of all sizes --Dollar store ones are not good.  I buy mine at crafting stores.
  • circle magnets
  • Modge podge glue
  • water colors --I actually buy real water color in the tube.  I just like it better than the kid kind.  I think the kids try to mix a bit more if I give them less colors.
  • oil pastels -- I went to Michaels for mine and they were so cheep.  They had a whole section of a brand called Artists Loft.  I have really liked the results with it.
  • Watercolor pencils
  • yarn
Things I never buy at the dollar store:
  • crayons
  • markers
  • paint
  • paint brushes except the foam ones
  • sometimes the glue and tape can be not good.  I generally like better quality for these things.
  • construction paper although it isn't necessarily bad it is just I like my colored paper to be nicer
I am sure this is not a complete list.  What are your favorite things you recycle or buy really cheep to help your kids create at home?


  1. great list I'm doing a week long series on Greening up your craft supplies in honor of earth day in april :)

  2. There's nothing like a big box for a kid! We bought new a new washer and dryer last year, and those boxes were priceless! They kids drew all over them and used them as houses for days. They would probably still be in our living room if we hadn't gotten so tired of them taking up so much room...


I love comments. Thanks so much. Feel free to leave your blog or email info so I can get back to you.