Classroom Management

Get Art Supplies for Free With This Simple Tip

Art Room Wishlist

What art teacher doesn’t love free stuff?

Let’s be honest, the moment you step into a National or State Art Conference (or open your swag box from us!), and realize that vendors are giving away products for free, your eyes light up like a kid in a candy store. When you drive by that pile of “trash,” your mind lingers on what free goodies might await your art room. If we are truly honest, sometimes we love free things because our art budgets just don’t allow us the opportunity to buy everything we’d like to. Having to buy consumables year after year with dwindling budgets forces us to utilize all the resources we can.

One of my biggest resources for materials in my room is parents.

Despite some opinions, the majority of parents I’ve found really do love that their children are getting the chance to explore their creativity in my classroom. I’ve also discovered that if they have the means to do so, they will help me out in any way possible. That could be anything from hanging up artwork, to helping in the art room, to donating supplies.

Near the beginning of the school year, I assess what supplies I need and the supplies that the students use up the quickest. I make a large board called, “Art Wish List” and write out 8-10 supplies on the board that I’d like to have but don’t really have the budget or resources to get. Next to those I stick a bunch of post-its that mirror the supply name. Then at major events like Back-to-School Night, conferences, and Fine Arts Night, I put the board out on display in the main lobby. Willing parents can snag a post-it note off the board as a reminder about what supply they’d like to donate to the art room.

Art Room Wish List

In the weeks that follow, the supplies start to trickle in. Some years I get a great surplus of supplies and sometimes I just get a few. But free is free! I’m a happy teacher anytime I get something for free.

What method do you utilize to get art room donations?

If you could get only one supply for free, which would it be?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Jennifer Borel

Jennifer Borel is one of AOEU’s Adjunct Instructors and Academic Advisors and a former AOEU Writer and elementary art educator. She runs her own photography business and is passionate about students exploring the medium.

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