Building Your Craft Supply Closet
Crafting Essentials and What to Do With Them
I finally stocked up on canned fruits and veggies this past weekend. It’s a relief to know that I can put off going back to the grocery store for longer but still get some of those essential vitamins! (For advice on grocery shopping and cooking during Coronavirus, read Natalie Mikles’ article here.)
Another thing I’ve been trying to stock up on is craft supplies. Joss’s Granddaddy D and Grandma Stephanie have been very helpful with this: First, they sent Joss two large sketch pads for his birthday, along with some high-quality crayons. Then last week, they ordered him a couple of watercolor pads, another sketch pad and the cutest little box of watercolors.
Ah, joy! Fresh paint and paper!
I wanted to put together a list of the art supplies we’ve been very grateful for lately, and perhaps a few more suggestions for what to add to your craft closet. Or, in our case, craft shelves, tables, etc. They are EVERYWHERE! I will also include ideas for what you can do with these supplies.
The most basic of basics. But really, having fresh pads of paper makes me so happy right now! You may want a few different types: sketch pads, construction paper and watercolors are good places to start.
One thing we’ve been enjoying is the Mo Willems Lunchtime Doodles. These have kept Joss occupied for long periods of time, and it’s really fun to see him learn how to draw new things! Mo also provides behind-the-scenes looks at his writing and illustrating process. A bit over Joss’s head, but he does get excited when he sees characters he recognizes.
For Fitness Monopoly: Draw a game board (customize it to the kind of workout you want to do). Then roll the dice to see where you land!
We’ve also used paper to create a Fitness Monopoly board, which was a big hit with Joss! And of course, you can use it to create anything from homemade cards for friends and family, to paper dolls (use cardstock for best results), to giant paper chains, to shadow art! You can also start a “social distancing journal.” Have your child draw something of something fun you do each day, or something they are thinking about.
Shadow drawing: Place different items on a piece of paper in the sun. Trace the shadows.
If you can, I’d recommend getting both watercolors and a thicker, tempera paint. Watercolors are less messy, but the tempera paint can be used for different projects. We’ve used it to make sidewalk chalk (with mixed results), egg-carton flowers for a Mother’s Day bouquet, etc.
Watercolor Easter eggs
Here is a list of 20 activities kids can do with tempera or watercolor paints.
We’ve also been having a lot of fun with face paints. I’m still trying to figure out why it’s so hard–my lack of skill, the quality of the paints or both! (Both, probably.)
Plaster of Paris
I’d never used Plaster of Paris before but was happy to learn that it is cheap and versatile. You can make several different projects using just Plaster of Paris and water. We bought it for the aforementioned sidewalk chalk project, but have also used it to make nature imprints. This project was great because first you get to go on a nature scavenger hunt, and then you get to make a beautiful art project!
Other things to make with Plaster of Paris include: Leaf castings, Balloon sculptures, and Beads.
Plastic cups can be used to mix ingredients in that you might want to keep away from your kitchen utensils. But they also make great building materials and have been proven to keep Joss occupied for hours (give or take) at a time.
We first bought popsicle sticks for our craft supply closet when making picture frame ornaments last Christmas. Here are 30 ambitious popsicle craft suggestions from Good Housekeeping–very inspiring!–and here are FIFTY kid-friendly ideas from DIY&Crafts.
Felt and Thread
Using just felt and thread, you can make puppets, Christmas ornaments, wall hangings and more. The best thing about felt is that it doesn’t fray, so it’s very easy to work with.
A large bag of embroidery floss is oh-so-colorful–and inexpensive, too! You can also use it to make tassels, which can be turned into earrings, necklaces, or just decorations.
Besides literally being the glue that holds everything together, Elmer’s Glue is also a key ingredient in making slime. So you may want to buy a large bottle! Maybe one of the glitter varieties, too?
You can do so much with cornstarch! We’ve used it for making Oobleck, of course, but you can also use it to make Homemade Watercolor Paints, Rainbow Foam Dough and Homemade Moon Sand. For these last two, you will want to have plenty of shaving cream on hand as well!
Make sure you have plenty of food coloring on hand, as turning your projects all colors of the rainbow makes everything more fun! We had to purchase more after using food coloring to make slime, silly putty, homemade lava lamps, tie dye art, eggshell geodes, rainbow lemonade, etc.
We made silly putty using corn starch, dish soap and food colors. Easy peasy!
Baking Soda + Vinegar!
Baking soda and vinegar are essential if you want to make a homemade Volcano, of course!
Flour and Salt
I almost hate to put flour on here because it’s hard to find in stores right now, but flour can be used to create salt dough, playdough, etc. (Find a recipe for the best-smelling Gingerbread Playdough here, and a recipe for regular Playdough here!) Salt dough, of course, can be rolled into shapes and baked. It is commonly used to make homemade Christmas ornaments, so now could be the perfect time to get ahead on your Christmas “shopping”! Or, think about what else you could make!
Of course, there are other classic art supplies: Googly eyes (my favorite!), pipe cleaners, toilet paper rolls, pom poms, balloons, Sculpey or other modeling clay, beads and elastic string, glue sticks, scissors, etc. And don’t forget about crayons, colored pencils and markers, although they probably go without saying.
What craft supplies did I miss? What projects are you working on? If you post one of them to social media, feel free to tag @tulsakids on Instagram or @tulsakidsmagazine on Facebook! We are hoping to feature a different activity each day and would love to share yours!