Tuesday, October 9, 2018

My Favorite Art Room Materials

I'm retired, and work with small classes of 3 to 8 students, rather than the student load I had when I was teaching K-6 full-time in public school.  But nowadays, it's the same exact materials that matter most to me, just in MUCH smaller volume!  Here are a few of my absolute 'must haves' -

Good quality (Scotch 3M) masking tape.  The cheap 'store brand' stuff will not do!  We use masking tape in building papier-mache armatures, and it is absolutely essential that it really stick effectively. It is worth the investment for the good stuff!

Elmer's Glue-All.  Again, get the good stuff!  Elmer's "School Glue" is NOT the same thing.  If you are building constructions of some sort, perhaps with cardboard or wood scraps, the School Glue does not effectively hold.  The Glue-All is a zillion times stronger!  Check out these teddy bear chairs made with scrap cardboard, cardboard rolls, and Elmer's Glue-All.

Tempera paint.  My favorite brand is Sax Versatemp, because of the creamy consistency and good coverage.  But when we do the 'toothpaste batik' project, I prefer Blick Premium, because the color seems to have strong pigmentation that holds well when we wash out the batiks.  But otherwise, the Versatemp is the better choice.  There are better, more expensive paints, but they would require a huge chunk of budget, and the quality of these two paints is more than adequate for an elementary classroom. 

Nasco Bulk-krylic. I know some of you don't use acrylics with elementary, but I do, for painting papier-mache projects, cardboard constructions, and more.  My feeling is this: if you've spent a significant amount of time building a papier-mache creature, perhaps, use a paint with a permanent finish! 

'Stuff'.  Huh? What does she mean by that???  I'm a big fan of collages and assemblages, and of embellishing papier-mache structures with various materials beyond just paint.  So the essential 'stuff' of my art room includes fabric scraps, yarn, ribbon, buttons, beads, feathers, pom poms, pipe cleaners, and so on.  Art is much more fun when there's lots of colorful 'stuff' with a variety of textures and shapes!

Cardboard.  My favorite free art material!  I save all clean and undamaged cardboard from shipping cartons.  And also the mat board scraps that most picture framers will give away, and also the cardboard from cereal boxes.  There's more uses than I can list here.  Here are a few, pictured.

Black Sharpies.  I don't think any explanation is needed; we all love our black Sharpies!

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