Basic Materials

Supplies to begin an art practice are paper, coloring implements, a notebook, gesso, glue and old credit cards, pen, pencils, and scissors.


Depending on how limited or limitless your time and resources are, paper can be as simple as a Canson 9 x 12 heavyweight watercolor paper pad, which holds multiple applications of paint, collage, and media quite well.

Or cereal boxes, flattened, the back and front cut apart, glued together, dried and gessoed. I have found these to be excellent surfaces that are durable, and are a bit sturdier than watercolor paper, holding cloth, ribbon, and bulkier collage elements terrifically.

Another option for paper is reusing old books::cookbooks, picture books, notebooks, your children’s old composition books from the school year.

Lastly, any hardbound 8 ½” x 11” sketchbook will also do, however when using these I do glue 2-3 pages together for most creative practices involving paint, collaging, and any wet media . . . often I’ll prepare the entire book in advance, but it’s not necessary to do the whole thing at once unless you choose to!

Coloring Implements

Crayola Portfolio series water soluble pastels, inexpensive and versatile

Reeves gouache tubes, can be applied for watery effects or laid on thick in an acrylicy way that retain brightness of color (I find inexpensive acrylics often become dull when watered down).

Apple Barrell acrylic paint set

Extra Fine Point Black Sharpie pen

Extra Fine Point White Sharpie paint pen or White Gelly Roll paint pen

An alternative to the two pens above are a jar each of black and white india inks with a very tiny fine paintbrush, which can be used to the same effect

Paintbrushes, an assortment pack with different shapes and sizes is handy . . . also feathers, twigs, old toothbrushes, and sticks with parts of old torn clothes tied on top may also be used

Besides the above, there is a huge range of these supplies in assorted qualities and grades, as well as the exciting venture of making your own colors with leaves, berries, and nuts to explore.  Once you get going you may enjoy Dick Blick or Utrecht as online sources for choices to experiment with.


This may be a beautiful journal with luscious pages to write in. It could just as well be a wide or college ruled composition book; which when finished can become the source of a repurposed art journal.


This is indispensible for anything involving a repurposed book, cereal box art, and serves in place of white paint. I keep a large tub of white acrylic gesso handy to prep with, go over parts of a painting, or even to cover a picture I’m done with as the base for a whole new project. A 32 oz. jar of it is a good place to start.

Glue and Old Credit Cards

I prefer Mod Podge Matte, but you may also use Elmers White School glue, which when applied well has pretty good adherence for paper based collages . . . I find Mod Podge sticks fabric, ribbons, and heavier materials better.

The credit cards replace roller/brayer: after gluing pages together, use one to press out air bubbles and extra glue.

Credit cards are also fun for spreading paint with and mixing colors.

And then there’s pen, pencils, and scissors . . . .

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