Teaching Art on a Shoe String
Here are some ideas that I’d like to contribute: how to source art materials in order to provide art experiences in the classroom with a small budget. Whether you teach, TAB or Direct Instruction, there are always teachers out there who struggle to get the necessary funds for their Art programs. I love to use recycled materials in my classroom. To find recycled materials takes some planning and search but most of the time I get what I am looking for.
My best choice for recycled materials are always the local good will shops. Sometimes I like to visit the shops just to find out what is available, other times, I go with a list of bits and bobs I will need for our next art experience. The emphasis of my program is not just to use recycled materials, ideally, it should be a combination of new and recycled art materials as I believe children should have access to both, but if you are in a situation where art materials are difficult to obtain, don’t despair, there are other ways.
In my web page www.bravaartpress.com you will find a series of projects based on the idea of combining recycled materials and new materials.
You will also find:
- A PDF list of recycled art materials to send home with students
- a video Art in the Classroom – Recycled Materials
- A number of video art lessons involving recycled art materials in combination with new art materials.
- PDF lessons on procedures and techniques
- A Teachers Help Page with articles on Art Education, lists of basic art materials and much more.
- The Brava Art Blog with information on the latest resources – videos, lessons, Useful Tips
- We offer all of this and much more for FREE to teachers, parents and students.
There are many places and ways to collect materials, new and recycled for free.
Paper: Local business like printers are excellent sources of free paper. No matter how small or how heavy, paper will always be useful in the art room/classroom. Find out on your local yellow pages two or three printeries and contact them. Most of them will be very happy to give. I had my best results when I visited them personally and talked directly to the manager of the plant. I used to get car loads of paper as they clean up every now and then. So, if you are not lucky the first time, ask when will they have the next “clean up”.
Other source of paper is home, send a list of the types of paper you need with students for parents to contribute. Make sure to be specific on the amount and kind of papers or any other recycled materials you would like to have from home.
Cardboard: bits of cardboard from printers, for bookmaking – Cereal boxes to cut up for *Card Printing “– shoe boxes for storage – tubes and cylinders *”Cylinder Puppets” and many other kinds of card/cardboard from home.
Big cardboard boxes from white goods shops are ideal to make big constructions, puppet theaters and colourful dividing screens.
Textiles: Home and Good Will Shops – Charity shops are the best sources for textiles, yarns, tulle, lace, buttons and so on. Old lacy curtains, and old plain curtains are ideal for puppets costumes for example. *”Textiles Puppets”- * “Textile Projects”.
And the list goes on, here is the link to the PDF Recycled Art Materials from the website. http://bravaartpress.com/pdf/recycled-list.pdf
New Materials – There are several ways to get new materials for free or at a very reduced price. Consult the yellow pages, and local newspapers to find out the business and factories based in your area. First I would approach the local business and factories for discarded or unsellable seconds. For instance, there are big box stores that every now and then give the “the discarded” to charities and I heard, to needy Schools too. Contact the buyers, talk to them about your school and your student population.
Manufactures have hundreds of unsellable seconds, they are not out there to give away to everybody, but if you tell your story, they will help most definitely.
- Contact local artists, individual artists and art societies and ask for a donation of an art work or crafts to run a fund raiser raffle, artists are normally very supportive of art education. Make your raffle tickets affordable to your community.
- Contact local stores to donate for the raffle
- Involve your community keep everybody in the loop, write an art newsletter to inform your Sponsors, Parents and the rest of your school community. Let everybody to know your progress and how much their contribution is benefiting the students.
- Send thank you cards, made by the students to your sponsors, they will love this.
- There are a number of charitable organisations on line. Contact some of them like Donors Choose to help with your art program.