5 Essential Consumable Art Supplies for the Classroom

3 Min Read  •  Supplies List

We all know that school budgets can be tight. One of the major reasons that teachers are hesitant to fully embrace Arts Integration, is because they lack supplies. When purchasing art supplies for the classroom, priorities need to be made. I know this all too well, being an art teacher. I have often walked into stores and asked for scraps, snatched empty boxes from recycling bins around the school, and begged the maintenance staff to save any interesting junk for art supplies in the art room.

Art supplies or materials can be broken down into two categories: Consumable and non-consumable. Non-consumable art supplies are things like scissors, paper punches, staplers, etc. Consumable art supplies or materials are items such as crayons, markers, pencils, etc. Each is important for implementing arts integration lessons. In this article, I will give you my list of 5 Essential Consumable Art Supplies for the Classroom.

1. Black Permanent Markers – Sharpie:

If you can swing it, try to get the ultra fine tip, fine tip, and chisel tip.

What Makes Them Great: They are perfect for…

  • Going over pencil drawings to make artwork pop.
  • Drawing detailed images before painting.
  • Going over many different surfaces.

2. Colored Pencils – Prismacolor Scholar:

They cost more than other companies, but worth every penny. Because of their broad range of colors and smooth lead, they help students create amazingly colorful works of art.

What Makes Them Great:

  • Add bright, rich, thick, color to a range of projects with a smooth lead that coats paper easily
  • They show up on construction paper, even dark colors and black
  • Can be blended easily to create custom colors

3. Watercolors: Liquid Watercolors, Watercolor Pencils, or Watercolor Crayons

Liquid Watercolors: There are many paint options available. Liquid watercolors are the best pick for classrooms.

What Makes Them Great:

  • They are budget-friendly and versatile
  • Can be used with other art media easily, including crayons, permanent markers, and oil pastels.
  • They can be easily mixed to create custom colors
  • Many tools can be used to paint with, such as toothbrushes, marbles, straws, and string.
  • See my review of liquid watercolors 

Watercolor Pencils and Watercolor Crayons: These tools are perfect for no-mess classrooms. Use them to color in artwork and just add water to turn them into watercolor masterpieces.

What Makes Them Great:

  • They are perfect for detailed drawings. Work like pencils or crayons, but act like paint.
  • Can also be dipped in water for a different effect.
  • Can be used for a many Arts Integration lessons
  • Easily stored and managed

4. Construction Paper Crayons – Crayola Construction Paper Crayons

These are a fantastic addition to any classroom, especially to supplement a crayon collection that you might already have.

What Makes Them Great:

  • They come in bright colors
  • Perfect for blending and layering
  • Show up on black and colorful construction paper
  • Can be used with watercolors for wax resist and other Arts Integration lessons.

 5. Air Dry Clays

It is important for students to have the ability to express themselves using sculpture. This is also a material that students rarely use and it always causes great excitement. Additionally, some students demonstrate their learning better in 3D.

What Makes Them Great:

  • No kiln is required
  • Can be painted once dry
  • Can be used for many projects, small and large
  • Cheaper than other clays


Have some Extra Money? Buy something metallic or glittery! This could be paint, permanent markers, colored pencils, or crayons.


  • Every student likes metallics, in particular, and they are fun additions to any project. They should be used sparingly and should be introduced near the end or midpoint of a lesson. The reason for this is that students should be concentrating on what they are making before the materials they are using.

Arts Integration Connection:

  • Bring some sparkle to the star constellations or lunar phases. Give your Egyptian gods and goddesses some real gold looks.