I’m just going to assume that you don’t go to craft stores as often as I do. When I walk in, they shout, “Kerry!” like “Norm!” on Cheers. And it’s really hard for me to not go up and down every single aisle every time I go. I don’t think I’ve ever gone into a craft store looking for a certain item, gone straight to that item, picked it up, walked to the cashier and purchased it. The focus and discipline that would take! I can’t even.
But it occurs to me that most people might walk into a craft store, like our local Michael’s, and feel overwhelmed. So, I thought I’d create a guide to help you navigate the store and put together a basic art kit. Afterall, I want everyone to have some art supplies in their home to keep that creativity going.
Let’s start with paint. There are some high-quality paints like Golden brand that are great for artists who are selling their work. But for a basic set that is still good quality, I suggest the Deco Art paints in aisle 65. Another option is an Artist’s Loft set of 12 for $13.49.
You don’t need to buy paint brushes individually. Find the Craftsmart set of 18 brushes on the endcap of the aisle near the paints. This way you’ll get a variety of shapes, sizes and bristles all at once. It’s $8.99.
I can see how the paper section (aisle 58) could be very overwhelming. So, here’s the deal: Canson and Strathmore are nice brands, but you don’t need to start there in the beginning. Again, Artist’s Loft is great. If a pad says “Sketch” the paper is quite thin and really only good for pencil drawing. Paper goes by what is called “weight.” Sketch paper is 50-pound. By comparison, Drawing paper is 70-pound, meaning stronger. This could handle markers better. I personally buy Watercolor or Mixed Media paper, between 90 – 140-pound, as it’s much heavier and can withstand all the paint and collage I do. Lastly, you can pick the size of the paper you want and whether the pages pull out or stay in a spiral-bound pad.
If you’d like to paint on canvas, check out Artist’s Loft canvases, which are often packaged in multiples called “Value Packs.” Many are located on the far-left wall of the store and come in three levels of quality: 1) academic, 2) artist and 3) professional. It is a matter of preference really, but beginners can start with the first level.
Lastly, I can’t help but share with you my favorite aisle: #93. Brands like Recollection, Tim Holtz and Art-C get my creative juices flowing. Art journals, stamps, and embellishments, oh my!
This summer, I hope you’ll put together an art kit for yourself and your children, and I hope that this little guide through the Gainesville Michael’s will make you feel less daunted by a store full of possibilities.
Other fun supplies for your art kit:
- Permanent markers, aisle 59. I can never get enough of them!
- Mod Podge, near the markers. Perfect for collaging. If you purchase some, buy a sponge brush.
- Unfinished wooden items to paint. These are inexpensive enough to have fun giving them a go.
- Washi tape. Fun to use as borders on pictures, comes in lots of themes and patterns and can’t be passed up at $0.33 each.
- Stickers, aisle 90. These come in themes from pizza to Paris, hockey to horses.