Essential Art Supplies

Setting up a home studio

What do you need to have to experiment with a range of art making forms at home without spending too much money? To assemble the basic list is not expensive and many materials are recycled or readily available, the extras are optional and require a bigger budget.

This page is available to students with student access in the distance learning section.

You want to have a range of materials that allows you to try some  2D, 3D and lens based forms, as specified in the Art Making Forms Requirements-or see table and end of page.This is a requirement for the Process Portfolio only, studio work for The Exhibition can be in a single medium or several. When you are developing work for the exhibtion in year 2  you will probably need to source some materials specific to your work.

It is also great if you can have a designated art table/area where you can work, leave your work in progress, and generally make a mess.


Drawing pencils

vine charcoal, charcoal pencils or graphite sticks

pens (markers, fine liners)

eraser, sharpener, masking tape, scissors

3 size brushes, fine, medium and wash brush (wide)

watercolors or tempera paints in tubes or palette- 3 primary colors and earth tones

jars for water and plate for mixing

sketchbooks or range of papers ( sugar paper or newsprint for quick studies, cartridge paper for pencil drawing, bristol board or watercolor paper for heavier media). Lined paper and graph paper can make an interesting background.

an assortment of found images, papers, old books or printed matter for collage

household supplies like salt, a wax candle for resist ( both with watercolor) coffee, tea as tinctures, bleach on ink (use with care) can also be used to supplement your range of materials.


india inks

acrylic or oil paints and solvents, gesso, canvas, gessoed heavy paper or panel

extra range of paint colors

conte crayon

compressed charcoal

oil pastels

chalk pastels

graphic markers and brush pens

printmaking supplies (lino or polystyrene, carving tool, water based ink, roller)


You can make 3D stuff with almost many materials can be recyled or scavenged: cardboard, packing materials, polystyrene, containers, wrapping, boxes, printed matter..

materials found in nature:  leaves, bark, earth, stones, berries, flowers, 

deconstructed or repurposed objects

fabric pieces, odds and ends, pins, thread, wire, white glue, box cutter,


unfired clay, or air drying clay

wood scraps and tools, wire of different gauges for constructing

textiles, stained glass, and other craft materials

Mad Materials 

lens based, time based, lens-less, electronic BASIC

any camera or camera phone for photography

free editing software

your body for Performance Art

digital EXTRA

computer and software for illustration, film editing etc. depending on your specific interests.

an SLR or DSLR camera

Lens-less Photography equipment

Emerging Media 

There are many other things that you might already have in your home that can be used as art materials, such as coffee, vinegar, spices, dyes, etc, check this list out on Art Prof!

Art Making Forms Table

Use the table as a reference for examples of  2D, 3D and lens based forms, as specified in the Art Making Forms Requirements.

download the Art Making Forms table

and get some more ideas from the list below

TEACHERS: Stocking the art room? art of education has a good list of High school drawing and painting supplies for the art studio

Looking for ideas? try planting an art seed...

Art Seed Bank

The Art Seed Bank is a collection of short invitations to create, to think about art, to try something different.Choose from the ever expanding seed catalogue, and watch your seed grow.Take a series of...

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