One aspect of living a rural life is that you cannot easily just go around the corner to the store for every little thing. This includes making a quick trip to the store for craft supplies. From the stand point of being frugal with our resources, it is a waste of fuel and money to go buy new each time. Another area where I take a lot of care is in the issue of chemicals. I am working to cut chemicals out of our home as much as possible. Already, I am gathering in a notebook recipes for homemade cleaners and other products that we can use in place of the store bought versions. The next area that I am going to work on is homemade art supplies. In past years, I have made a few art supplies like glue, play dough, and chalk. Now, I am learning that there is much more that you can make at home with most ingredients being things you can find in your pantry.
A wonderful place to start looking for the recipes is a website called, "Blessings for Life". I found the website through a Google search and was thrilled to see it. On the site, you will find a blog entry containing a long list of recipes for homemade school art supplies. The woman who writes the blog was very thorough and the list is extensive. I cannot readily think of an art supply that she did not include.
Whether you can use the recipes now or not, it may be fun to print out or otherwise save the recipes for your own reference. You never know when it will come in handy. The art supplies could be made for children/grandchildren in your own family, a preschool class, or church Sunday School children's class.
Having the ready reference of the recipes can be a blessing if you ever find a need for such a supply item and no time or money to run to the store. With the holidays coming up, it may be fun to make some play dough or other art supplies as a gift to a young child. Then, in the gift basket, you can include the recipes for the child's Momma.
I love the idea of making our own art supplies. In a homeschool mindset, making the recipes with little ones can be a part of their schooling. Math is used when measuring ingredients. Science can be used in explaining why certain ingredients cause specific reactions. Color theory is utilized when mixing food coloring to make colored play dough or paints. You can even get into the history of making some of the supplies. When was play dough first made? What is the difference between the cooked play dough and the older salt/flour clay in both the ease of use and in the dried project made from them?
One of the best lessons that making your own art supplies teaches is that of making do with what you have. This goes right along with our family's attitude of living more simply and conserving our resources. Why spend $$$ on store bought when you can make a similar product for pennies? When it comes to play dough, our son doesn't like the store bought. It is too sticky and he doesn't like the feel of it. Give him the homemade and he is happy. I am able to knead in just a bit more flour to get rid of the sticky feel of it for him. Water color paints, which our daughter loves to use, are made very quickly & much less cost than the store bought. If she runs out of 1-2 colors, I can make her just the colors needed instead of having to buy a whole new set just to replace the color(s) she ran out of.
I am so happy to have found the website of recipes. There is another good one called "Artists Helping Children" which has a large amount of recipes for art supplies. You will also find art projects with well-written instructions on their website. A quick search on Google will find you many more websites of recipes. These two however, are the best ones that I have found thus far.