Essential Arts Integration Supplies

By |2022-05-22T13:14:04-07:00July 13th, 2021|

Sparkchasers Episode 44 | Show Notes

Essential Arts Integration Supplies

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. In today’s episode, we’re walking through our favorite consumable essential arts integration supplies, as well as how you can gather and organize them without a lot of upfront cost.

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 our 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. They 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.

Why? 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.

How to Gather Supplies

Now, how do you go about gathering these supplies? As we said earlier, most schools don’t have the budget for a lot of materials. So we need to get creative. First thing’s first, DON’T take supplies from the art room for arts integration projects.

Art teachers need those materials and resources (in the limited amounts provided to them) to be used to teach students the intricacies and value of their own craft.  Students need to be able to use the materials and instruments to practice their art as a way to deepen their schema of learning the arts themselves.  When we take these things away from our wonderful Arts teachers, we are then taking away a chance for our students to have a purely artistic experience which could then be applied critically in an integrated lesson.

So what can you do?  How can you provide an Arts Integration lesson when going to the Arts teachers are out of the question?

  1. Have a dedicated Arts Integration Cart or Closet.  This has worked wonders for me in any building I have worked with.  Set aside a certain amount of money – $1,000/$2,000 is a good range to start – and then order supplies just for that cart.  You can order art supplies, musical instruments, an iPod dock, and even a few iPads for digital design.  Then, as you and your colleagues plan for integrated lessons, you can check out the cart to use with your students.  Be sure to keep an inventory of what you used, as well as a copy of the lesson plan, so that you can document where the materials are going.  This will help in the ordering process next year.  
  2. Try crowdsourcing or PTAs for the materials you need.  Create a list of supplies that you would like to have dedicated for Arts Integration in your classroom.  Don’t forget to include storage and organization for these supplies!  Once you have your list, price it out via online ordering sites (Blick Art Supplies, Sax Art Supplies, and West Music are great places to start) and come up with a total.  Present your budget and a brief statement of why you need these materials to your PTA or use them to create a pitch on a crowdsourcing site like to let others help fund your initiative.
  3. Don’t forget about recycling!  Have a dedicated AI Supplies box outside of your classroom where teachers or parents can drop off odds and ends that they don’t need anymore.  You’d be amazed at how many pieces of construction paper, scissors, markers, paints, and old instruments that will wind up with you just by that one box.
  4. Preparation is key.  Often, being able to gather arts supplies or resources from the Arts teachers doesn’t have to be a chore – you just need to use what you learned in kindergarten.  Ask nicely and give them plenty of notice.  It’s hard to feel generous when a teacher comes into your arts classroom saying they need the materials for this afternoon’s lesson.  If you prepare your lesson in collaboration with others, be sure to connect with the Arts teacher you are linking to when you create your lesson.  They may be able to budget and set aside something that you need.  Be prepared too, for if they can’t offer you the items you need and try tips 1-3, but thank them for their willingness to try.  Next time, you might just be able to work something out with them.

Have a Question?

Do you have a question about today’s episode or need help with something? Let me know using the button below and I’ll make sure to chat about it on an upcoming episode.

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