I have a bit of an obsession with hardware stores, in fact I frequent our Ace more than any of my local craft stores. And it’s not because I buy lots of extra light bulbs and picture hanging nails, I go there to buy art and craft supplies. The hardware store you say? For kids’ project supplies? You betcha! If you are a little confused as to what art and craft supplies I could possibly buy at the hardware store read on….
I first discovered the joy of buying art supplies at the hardware store in design school. Granted I was making interactive projects sometimes involving electronics so I wasn’t shopping for the typical “art supplies,” but while I wandered the aisles of many a hardware store I discovered all kinds of goodies and loads of inspiration for off the beaten path projects. The bonus is that since most of these supplies are not marketed as “Art Supplies” they are often a fraction of the cost of items purchased in art and craft stores.
30 +Art Supplies from the Hardware Store
(and cool stuff to make with ‘em)
1. PAINT BRUSHES: Rollers, foam, bristle There are so many brush options at the hardware store! I love using rollers with kids because they cover a large area quickly. Project Ideas: clay resist art. pair them with stencils, store bought or homemade like these.
2. TAPE: Painters tape, Duct tape, Electrical tape. Painter’s tape is my favorite tape; it’s perfect for masking and for temporarily securing things in place. And duct tape, do I need to go there? You know it’s the bomb. And before there was washi tape there was electrical tape, colorful, rubbery and fun! Project Ideas: Painter’s tape: Tape resist art, giant spider webs. Duct tape: no-sew DIY bags, easiest bookbinding, sensory bean bags. Electrical Tape: decorate wood blocks.
4. SPRAY PAINT Kids should be allowed to use it with adult supervision ONLY! Project Ideas: I use it mostly for coloring things we use in projects but it can be used to make art itself like this spray paint art
5. ACRYLIC PAINT It’s not necessarily cheaper at the hardware store but in a pinch you can buy it here! It comes in small bottles usually for decorative home accent projects. There are some fun colors too! Be warned-ACRYLIC PAINT IS PERMANENT!
6. TARPS Let art be messy! If you’re worried that making art is going to leave a permanent mark on your home then spread out a tarp and fuhgeddaboutit! Project Ideas: Use them under Pollock Pumpkins. Make a giant faux frog pond.
7. CANVAS DROP CLOTHS A great way to buy canvas cloth at a reasonable price. Project Ideas: DIY curtains
8. GLUE: white, wood, and mod podge I love buying glue at the hardware store because it comes in big chunky bottles, not the teeny tiny bottle you find at the craft store. Need a gallon of glue? No problem! Project Ideas: glue resist art, GAK
HARDWARE & WOOD
12. WASHERS Washers have been all the rage since washer necklaces became the DIY jewelry project d’jour! Project Ideas: washer necklaces
13. SPRINGS I just purchased springs for use in a DIY jewelry project headed your way soon…..
15. PEGBOARD Pegboard is sold in sheets at the hardware store so you will need to have it cut and/or cut it yourself at home. Project Ideas: homemade pinball machine, pegboard water wall, giant pegboard cross stitch.
16. SANDPAPER Sandpaper is not just for smoothing though it’s nice to have it handy for that too! Project ideas: classic crayon and sandpaper art project, sandpaper + yarn , liquid chalk & sandpaper art
17. WIRE Coated wire, thin wire, thick wire, just make sure you get wire that does not contain carcinogens, it will say that on the packaging. Project Idea: easy wire sculptures
19. SALT You can buy boatloads of salt at the hardware store! It is used for de-icing. Just make sure you are NOT buying any de-icing products that have chemicals. Stick to the pure and simple salt. Project Ideas: rock salt crystals, melted ice sculptures, a salt pendulum.
23. SPRAY BOTTLES The perfect way for kids to spray paint safely! Fill ’em with water and liquid watercolors, vinegar and more for cool art effects! Project Ideas: Sharpie tie dye, flower art, erupting flour paint, yes I did say that ERUPTING!
24. PLASTIC BINS They are so handy for mixing plaster or to use as a sensory bin. Project Idea: making paper!
25. CONTACT PAPER Contact paper is awesome. So many amazing things can be done with this humble material, especially the clear kind. Hardware stores typically carry contact paper sold as “shelf liner”. Depending on how big and fancy your hardware store is you’ll see just how many patterns are available. The clear and white contact paper is pretty generic and should be easily found. Project Ideas: resist paintings, nature sun catchers, fallen leaf windows.
30. PLASTER OF PARIS Plaster of Paris is sold in art stores AND hardware stores. I haven’t been able to find a significant difference between the type other than the price. Always buy it big, smaller packages of Plaster of Paris are just a tiny bit less expensive than larger quantities. This is material that should only be used with supervision as it heats up as it cures. It’s an art supply staple! Project Ideas: DIY Sidewalk Chalk Chalk Rocks, leaf casting, classic handprint art project.
32. POWDERED CHALK You’ll find it with chalk marking tools at the hardware store. Project Idea: easy and cheap chalk paint.
33. TWINE, STRING & CORDING You need twine and string as a base material in your stash. I use it all the time on the fly. Hardware stores sell bright neon string too! Project Ideas: neon placemats, fancy lanterns.
35. ZIP TIES Just have ’em handy! Project Idea: ombre lampshade.
Phew! There are enough supplies here to keep you busy for the fall and winter…..and I haven’t even gotten started with what you can do if you want to get creative with tools. So the next time you are buying art and craft supplies for your kids get over to hardware store, get inspired, and stock up!
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