In this blog I will cover how to save money on art supplies, whether you want to sell art or start a hobby. My 10 tips will help you spend less money. I love a good bargain, don't you?
1. Buy Smaller Amount
We all know that professional quality art products can be very expensive and some might say that the best way to start is to use student grade materials. I don't agree! If you are serious about art, choose quality over quantity. It's very easy to go out and buy cheap and affordable products but you are not going to get the same result. I think if you are going to put so much effort into something for that to eventually fade, then that is pretty much a total loss and waste of money. I'd rather do something correctly or not do it at all!
All you have to do is buy a limited palette of professional paints or pencils to begin with and if you like working with them, buy more.
You don't have to buy 120 polychromos colouring pencils, get a set of 12 to start and see if you like it and then go for a bigger set. A set of 12 Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils is only £18.
"You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step". – Martin Luther King, Jr.
2. Christmas/Birthday Gift Ideas
Another good idea to save money is to make a Christmas or birthday list. One year I asked my family not to buy me gifts for Christmas, they all gave me money and I put a bit more on top and got myself a full set of Luminance pencils.
(Derwent Lightfast Pencils were a birthday gift from my dear husband)
There is more to saving money than using vouchers, mindfulness and reducing waste can play a large role in saving money on art supplies. Some materials aren't that expensive. I work with Liquitex acrylic paints and they aren't that expensive and I am very happy with the quality. If you are new to something, start with the basic colours and slowly build up your supply. You can save yourself a lot of money this way. There are colours in the set of Derwent Lightfast that I haven't even used.
3. Use a Wringer or Pencil Extenders
Paint tube wringer is really cheap, you can get one as low as £5 on amazon. It will save you a lot of energy and money by getting the very last drop of paint out of your paint tubes. The pencil extender is a clever little tool too and it lengthens your favourite pencils and give you extra use. So, don't bin those little pencils!
4. Stop Wasting
One of the reasons why I love acrylic paint so much is that it dries up really quickly and even though I like that, it can be such a waste. I don't use more than I need but I am a mum on the go and sometimes I have to tidy everything up before I've even started my project. You can spray a little water on the paint to keep it moist and put a cling film over it to keep it from drying or you can get something with a lid. The cling film will be the cheaper option.. However, you can purchase a plastic container with a tight lid for as little as £1 from Pound Stretcher or Poundland too.
If you want a good quality air tight tray then I suggest you look online. it might be a bit more expensive but if it extends the usage of your acrylics, then its worth every penny.
I prefer the porcelain ones because they don't stain but a plastic one is the cheaper option ( £18.60 - www.jacksonart.com, whereas Porcelain would be around £35 ). Amazon would be a great place to look but I haven't tried any of their palettes yet to know if they are any good.
5. Buy Bigger Quantities
I know I said quality over quantity above but not when it comes to canvas! I always buy my canvases in bulk because some art shops offer bundles of 5 or 10 for a cheaper price. But remember, you have to work around your own budget. When I first got back into acrylic painting, I bought one canvas at a time as I wanted to try different things.
I buy all my canvases in batches of 5 or 10 from www.cassart.co.uk
Buying a canvas is very different to buying paints. Paints can dry up or go bad but canvas can last forever if you look after it correctly.
6. Try Different Websites
eBay is a good one, you can find really good quality art products that have been given to someone as a gift and they've never got round to using it. Some might be second hand or absolutely brand new! Over the years I have bought a lot expensive watercolour tubes from eBay for cheap. You know what they say about "someone else's trash is another person's treasure?" well, its true.. I love up-cycling furniture too, but we won't go into that! otherwise we will be here forever haha..
There are so many other places you could try and look for products; charity shops, Facebook marketplace and etc.. you'll be shocked what people throw away.
Depending on a medium, you can get away with not framing your paintings. Obviously this wouldn't work with paintings such as pastels, graphite and watercolour but oil and acrylic paintings can be displayed without frames as long as the edges are nicely painted or even left white. It all depends on you and what works best for you. I can be very fussy about leaving the white edges white and like to paint them so they match the painting on the front.
If you like to frame it, then I suggest buying a standard size canvas to fit a standard size frame. That is the easiest way to go about it..
To be honest I absolutely hate framing! I find framing and matting extremely stressful (sigh) and It can be so expensive too! For me, framing acrylic painting is much easier than framing a painting on paper. If you are framing artwork on paper then buying a standard size paper can make your matting so much easier. You can easily find pre cut mat boards on amazon which will work really well.
Overall, framing is such a personal thing and you never know what colours suit someones decor. I have used www.jacksonart.com
for my canvas framings in the past and they are really affordable and easy to put together. I framed a 24x36 inch painting on canvas for only £30.
To save myself a fortune, I have decided to frame my own canvas paintings and improve my framing skills. Framing can take a huge part of your expenses when you are exhibiting. I make a huge effort to save money on art supplies, I might as well come up with a better solution to save money on framing too.
*Please keep in mind that I will never present a work that doesn't meet a professional standard.*
The most important advice that I can give you is to look after your brushes, it doesn't matter if its £5 or £45. If you don't look after them and leave them in water for a long period of time, they will be ruined. I don't buy expensive brushes, I am happy using inexpensive nylon brushes and I usually buy them from any art shop but my most favourite online shops to purchase them are www.Jacksonart.com and www.Rosemaryandco.co.uk.
8. Shopping Tips
It is really good to sign up to newsletters so that you don't miss out on discounts and offers. Write down a list of items you need and then wait for sales. I always compare prices on google, amazon and eBay too.
10. Saving Account
Plan ahead and create a budget for yourself. It is really important to do this from the very beginning as it helps you price your artwork for sale correctly.
My bank allows me to open and close a saving account anytime I want and I have opened a saving account called 'Art', I put as little as £10 or £20 a month and that helps me for any future expenses or projects.
At the end of the day, you don't need a huge art supply or the most expensive paint brush to paint something beautiful. As long as you start with one or two high quality materials, you are good to go. Be an artist and use that fabulous artistic brain of yours to come up with something unique. Use your finger and toes if you have to, determination is all you need.
Hope this blog has been helpful to you, thank you for being here.