Friday, May 9, 2014

Awesome Art Supplies for When You Don't Want a Mess

I love art supplies and I love when my kids "do art."    But I don't love a mess.  When I say "mess" I'm primarily referring to the "P" word... Paint - the paints that children's art supply companies advertise like this...
I mean Come On!  He doesn't even have a smock on...
but every real mom knows it's false advertising.  It's really this...

Poster paints and finger paints, "be gone!"  

So what can I give my kids when it's not a good time to paint?  (Oh wait.  I never let them paint.  I should probably work on that.)  What can I give my kids when I want them to be creative, but am not in a position to deep clean the house from floor to ceiling after a half hour's worth of "art time??"  

Here's what we like around here: 

Stockmar Beeswax Crayons
A new find for us this year.  They feel nice in your hand and they "feel" great going on the paper - smooth and clean.  The colors blend well together.  It's hard to explain, but there really is a difference between these and your standard wax crayons.  I'm thinking about getting them in the stick variety also since the kids enjoy them so much.

These are Clare's crayon of choice.  Their performance isn't really anything out of the ordinary, but everyone likes them because they're just plain fun!

Colored Pencils

Sort of an obvious choice.  They seem to be the preferred medium of Dominic, who has been my partner in crime as we scour the earth for the answer to the great questions of life such as, "Are all colored pencils created equal?" 
Dominic and I will astound you with our findings in a future post.

It's only fair to admit that these can get pretty messy.  But I'd much rather wipe down the table and vacuum up the carpet than deal with paint.  
Aaron is my chalk pastels kid.  He loves to use them (and rub his fingers in them), and he likes "how realistic" he can make things look - and he'll tell you all this over and over while he's drawing. 

Oil Pastels

We still haven't perfected the art of oil pastels.
But we press on experimenting with them, and I've kept them on this list b/c they seem like an important art medium that we should love...
In a way, the kids and I feel like they're just glorified crayons.  They break easily when the warmth from your fingers softens them, and they also wear down quickly.  Perhaps our difficulties are because we're using a very inexpensive set??  Any input?

Do-A-Dot Marker Paints
I use the term "paint" loosely because there are no paint bottles to spill or brushes to flick with these Dot paints.  I even sometimes let Clare use these *gasp* and then I remember maybe I should supervise her when I do because the other day she walked around with a very blue mustache for the entire afternoon.

PlayColor "Paint" Sticks

There's that word again, but be not alarmed.  These things are awesome.  Sticks of solid tempera paint offer all the vibrancy of poster paint with non of the mess!  They go on smoothly, don't run and don't bleed through the paper.  And they dry almost instantly. Love!

What types of art supplies do you like using with your kids?
(it's ok if it's paint!)


  1. Anna introduced acrylic paints to me, they're paint BUT they wash off very easily when still wet. Once they're dry not so much. I liked them a lot bc of the thickness of the paint. It made it easier to create solid lines and color in.

    1. I've been wanting to get some cheap canvases at the craft store and let the kids do something with acrylics, but I haven't been brave enough to actually jump into it. Maybe you can help me :)

  2. You mean your kids don't paint at their easel like that?!?! Ha! I'm interested in those beeswax crayons!

  3. Theresa
    hate dot to dot, they bled everywhere but then maybe here in Oz ours arent' the same, not all created equal. after all I've never even heard of paint sticks. we don't have the same range here at all.

    if you haven;t discovered art lessons on youtube highly recommend! I just type youtube kids pastel or the like and have found great tutorials!!

    1. Erin, thanks for the YouTube reminder!! We had watched tons of tutorials there for chalk pastels, but for some reason I had a mental block and we never looked for any on oils. I've been able to find some, so thank you!!

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  5. Bless you again, this is much needed around here in a place where the dining table is the art studio.


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