If you have been in any of my classes you know that sooner or later we’re going to use something a little unusual to make art with, so in this post you’ll recognize my favorite unexpected art supplies. Some of these discoveries came out of curiosity and experimenting, some out of desperation, and some were complete accidents. Here are my favorite five supplies that you probably have around the house. These can be used in mixed media, painting and art journaling.
These are definitely my favorite go-to tool for putting paint on paper or canvas. We use them in most of my classes and are included in the Creativity Bundles. Stiff, coated business cards work well for a few uses, but get a little floppy after they are soaked with paint, so have several on hand…good news is that you can incorporate the floppy ones into your art! Plastic gift cards and credit cards also work great and last quite a bit longer. They are also vital for pasting things into your art; scrape over the top of what you are gluing down from the center out to remove air bubbles.
Specifically, the small red and gold potatoes from the produce section of your favorite grocery store. I have tried many netted bags and these work the best in my opinion. The size of the holes, the type of plastic that is used work really well for adding texture to your art.
Makeup sponges-or better, horse tack sponges
These are what you need to use with your potato bag or any stencil for that matter…or just by themselves. Honestly, my very favorites are the round sponges I buy to clean my saddle and bridle with. I cut them into 4 pieces and the wedges last forever! Really, I have some I have been using for YEARS, and they are just as good today as when I first started using them. Makeup sponges are my second choice; they don’t last as long, though, and are a bit more dense and not as robust. I will have new horse tack sponges available in the studio to purchase ($1.00 plus tax).
Decorative Rolling Pins
I don’t bake well. I have tried, believe me. I always tell people it’s because it’s hard for me to follow directions in anything creative. I can cook regular food though, because most of the time the recipes can be adjusted – if I bother to look at the recipe at all, that is. I wish I was better at following directions, sometimes. Anyway, I have bought things from the baking aisle of Michaels and other stores to use in art making. There are several rolling pins that have patterns on them that are amazing to cover in paint or gelatos and roll across your paper or canvas. I keep looking for new patterns.
If you haven’t thrown out all the tissue or wrapping paper from Christmas yet, save a bit. Not all of it, because I don’t want you to get carried away and be accused of becoming a hoarder. Not a full-on hoarder, anyway. But tissue paper especially, is so fun to use in mixed media both on paper and canvas. Plus, you are saving it from landfill and extending the life of the tree that was used. So now you can feel good about it, even if you do go a little overboard on how much you save. No judgement, here!
Give any of my favorite unexpected art supplies a try in your next art project, and if you stumble across any that work well, I would love to hear about it! Please share with me, and I’ll give it a try!