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Friday 29 July 2016

Visual Arts on a Budget

During the summer I put a link on my Facebook page to a Survey Monkey questionnaire about  the visual arts budget in classrooms. 

Most teachers (32%) have a budget of €100-200 euro each year. The top 5 resources bought from this money are paper/card, paints, clay, PVA glue and crepe paper.

With a strict budget, many teachers are looking for ways to cut down their art supplies bill so to ensure that they can bring the best variety of art lessons to the children in their class. So here are some ideas!

Certain supplies are worth investing in, as they can be minded throughout the years. Such examples are print rollers and pastels. 

Fabric and Fibre

Firstly ReCreate Ireland is a fantastic resource. 

Basically this is a warehouse full of reused art supplies. When a company is throwing out supplies they send it here. You can visit and fill your car with as much resources as you need. The school can join and everyone can access the supplies, and there is also an individual membership plan. 
There are loads of unused plastic containers that can be used as water pots/ paint trays also.


Another idea to collect fabric and fibre resources is to visit your local curtain suppliers. Sample books are often thrown out. They are great as the material is already cut to a nice size. Some thicker materials can be difficult for younger years to cut however. 


Ask the children to collect Christmas wrapping paper and Easter egg wrappers for you. We always did this for our teachers and loved to try flatten the tin foil from the eggs! 


Paint and Colour

Cereal boxes are great for making stencils from also. Cut out the shapes with a craft knife. 

In terms of paint and paper- there are often better deals when these are bought in bulk- it might be worth teaming up with another teacher in the school and going halves on some items. 

Have a cup at the back of your class for any 'lost and found' markers or crayons. I keep a plastic tub full of odd markers and crayons and the class love to use them as there is a good variety!

It may be useful to have an 'at school' pencil case and an 'at home' one to ensure equipment doesn't get lost as quick.  


Clay is a strand unit, yet a bag can set you back €15. There are alternatives to store bought clay however. 
Homemade salt dough is really easy to make and sets hard in the oven. 


Natural clay is something that children can always access. That sticky wet clay is perfect for experimenting in manipulation play. How about creating some tree creatures from it?



Foam printing can be expensive, but foam plates (€1.49 pack of 20- Dealz) are a great alternative.

Use old CV covers (plastic part) to print on also. 

Buy PVA glue in 5 litre tubs as it will last. Just pour some hot water over the lid if it gets stuck! 


Bring the class outdoors and explore creating shelters. They can be constructed on a small or large scale, depending on the resources available. 

Ideas for building shelters: http://www.mykidsadventures.com/outdoor-survival-shelter/

Responding to Art

There are some amazing sites to create art on that are absolutely free.


Some books that are great to inspire children are also available on Youtube. 

Many of these books may be in your local library also.

I hope these are useful ideas! Please share any tips of tricks that you may know! :)