Special Art Supplies
Around this time of year I always take stock of our art supplies and think about ordering some special items as Christmas presents. We are pretty well stocked right now, but I will be getting some new Eco-Soy Pas for the children to share. I can’t seem to find a review, but they come in a set of primary colors + neutrals, so I’m hoping they’ll be a fun addition to our color mixing explorations this year. If they work out well I’ll share about it. I’ll be ordering them from Bella Luna Toys.
Now I’ll share some recommendations for special art supplies that make great presents. All of these we have used ourselves and loved. Typically they would be something that I give my children on Christmas or birthdays, which is why I consider them “special” as opposed to basic things to have on hand. I hope you find this list useful! Please ask if you have specific questions about any of these products and I would be happy to help.
Natural Earth Paint - Children’s Petit set of 6 colors - find it here
We just tried these for the first time with our homeschool group and were really impressed. The colors are earthy, but can be mixed to a surprisingly wide range of hues. The packets will last a long time and the children loved mixing the powder with water. We mixed them in glass bowls, and after a week of drying in the bowls we added water and were able to use them again without any problem.
This is an amazing set to learn how to use solid watercolors. The colors mix wonderfully and my daughter absolutely loved using the tube of white to experiment. In fact we loved them so much I wrote a review on the Imagine Childhood website (first link).
Japanese Silk Tissue Paper - find it here
We use this for special collage projects, window stars, window transparencies, and more. The colors are so beautiful. The paper is thin and airy, easily cut with scissors by an adult but a child will have more success ripping it into pieces.
Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencils* - find it here
* While these are non-toxic, they are artist quality made for adults. I feel confident sharing them with my 6-year-old, but please use your own discretion with how your child would handle them. Over the years I have grown my collection to 45+ colors (you can buy them individually at Dick Blick), which I now share with my daughter. We love them and wouldn’t use any other brand. They double as both colored pencils and watercolor pencils, which takes some practice to get the hang of but is so worth the effort. We keep them on a high shelf and my daughter asks for them often.
Staedtler Duo Tip Markers - find it here
These markers have proven to be a great value. They have a medium-thick end and a fine end, which makes them so versatile and good for drawing detail. My children can use these whenever they want to, but I do keep them on a high shelf because otherwise the caps go missing and the markers will dry out. So my advice is to establish a marker rule that the caps are returned and they are put away immediately after!
Cray-pas (oil pastels) - find it here
These are wonderful to experiment with! I don’t think I ever had a classroom without a few sets of these on the art shelf. Both the 16 set and the 25 set have a decent number of neutrals that work as skin tones, which is a huge plus. The colors layer beautifully on top of one another, and you can also use them for watercolor resist.
Lyra Aquacolor water-soluble crayons - find it here
These water-soluble crayons are smooth and satisfying to draw with. You can use water to paint over your drawing and blend the colors together. The crayons themselves can also be dipped in water and then used to draw wet on the paper… this is super fun and super messy! The crayons do become sticky doing this, so our solution has been to let them all dry before putting them back in the tin. In my opinion these are more for fun experimenting, as opposed to the watercolor pencils which are much easier to control and use for accurate drawing.
Beeswax Block Crayons - find it here
These are a staple in Waldorf classrooms and homeschools. They will last virtually forever if you take proper care of them. They can be used by very young children and older children in different ways, so they would make a great gift for multiple aged children to share. We clean ours by rubbing them with a rough cloth dipped in vegetable oil, which is a very fun and rewarding task.
That’s all for now! I hope you have found something special on this list for your budding artist.