The Well-Stocked Art Supply Bin

Restock your art supplies during the back to school sales!


I always loved back to school shopping. All those fancy pens and glittery folders made both walking to aisles and later using the supplies fun. This is the first year my daughter needs supplies and I was sad to see that the list instructs us as to the color of all the folders, and that all the pencils, markers, etc. are placed in bins for general use, so splurging on fancy ones will be a waste. I still might decide to get her one fancy pencil to keep for her personal use!

With all the back to school supplies sales however, this is the perfect time of year to restock your basic art supplies. As you may have noticed if you have been following me here, I tend towards using very basic supplies, so many of them will be on sale! Kosher on a Budget is my go-to source for the best prices. She posts a weekly round-up of the best school supplies deals each week. Here is a list of what I consider “essential” and a second list of “extras.”

Construction paper
Glue (glue sticks do not work well in my opinion, even if they are neater!)
Kid-friendly scissors
Washable acrylic paint
Watercolor paint
Paint brushes
Clear tape
Masking tape

Textured or patterned papers
Sequins and jewels
Pom poms
Pipe cleaners
Paper fasteners
Dot paints (we will the “Do A Dot brand)
Glue gun

Easy Invisible Ink

Paint over your drawing and your picture magically appears!


We recently threw a science themed birthday party for my older daughter. We set up 3 rotating stations with experiments for the kids to do, and concluded with a dry ice show by my real-life-scientist husband. One of the stations was invisible ink. It involved mess, a hair dryer and soggy paper. Here is the version we should have done instead. It’s easy and can be kept fairly clean and of course, hair dryer free.

If you draw with a white crayon, it seems to be invisible. When you paint over the crayon drawing, the paint slides off the waxy crayon residue, revealing your message or drawing. Any paint will work, but for ease and less mess, we used dot paints, which the kids love. They had a blast revealing their messages.


Looks like nothing is there? Just wait!


This technique can be used for any theme. My kids wanted to do “winter” pictures but it could just as well be about anything. Scribbles are great too! You could do this to represent the first day of creation, (light and dark) using black paint over the white crayon. It could also work for the second day of creation (when the waters are separated). Color a large block of white in the center of the page. Paint over it with blue and voila! The waters split with white in between. The blue paint would go well with Kriyat Yam Suf too.  Share any other ideas you have, or photos of what you came up with!

Easy Invisible Ink

Active: 30 minutes

Age: 2-8

white  paper
paint (we used dot paint but any will work)
white crayons



Color with the white crayon on the white paper. Make sure to press down firmly for best results. Words are fun if your kid knows how to write but pictures are just as good. Make sure you have drawn everything you want before starting to paint, as you cannot go back and draw more on that page once the paint is applied.

Paint over the areas you colored. Watch as the paint slides off the crayon and your message is revealed!


Did you do this project? Share your pictures on our facebook page!

Keeping Clean

Some tips for keeping clean during and after a project.


After my last post, a friend commented “Just thinking of allowing paint anywhere near my house gives me palpitations. how do you do it??” My kids are a little older than hers, and she is renting a furnished apartment, but I am sure her quandary is not unique. Here are few ideas to help you keep up with the during and after-craft mess.

But first a disclaimer: I always say that mess shows that you were having fun. Let the playroom look like a disaster for a while (maybe a nice loooong while…). What good are all those toys/paints/dress up clothes if they are packed away in a bin in the closet? We only recently moved our toys down to the basement, so I am a pro at stepping around half finished Magnatile houses and Barbie shoes. When the floor was not navigable, that was too much mess, but some amount, to me, gave some room for creativity.

My #1 secret weapon to cleaning up after a messy project is baby wipes. I also use them to clean dirty counters, walls, doors – you name it. They clean everything! Paint, marker – check. Even crayon, which I find harder to remove, come off with a little pressure. My kitchen table is laminate so it wipes up fairly easily but our newly finished craft table is an old wood table that was knocking around our basement when we bought our house. We cleaned it off (there might have been some wipes involved..but paper towels too) and the kids helped me paint it with a bright yellow semi-gloss paint. I am finding my “magic” wipes to do less of a good job on that, but it’s still my favorite way to clean.

Another good way to keep clean is to buy some cheap plastic place mats and designate them as “project mats”. My sister was tired of wiping her table down and picked some up and that has been working great. You could alternately get a vinyl tablecloth to use for projects, but I find that makes the table surface softer which is less ideal for coloring.

And of course smocks! Either spend a few dollars on real ones, or use the time-honored method of Abba’s old shirt backwards. I used a short sleeve one on my younger daughter and the sleeves were the perfect length for her arms.

I would love to hear you tips for keeping clean! Share them on our facebook page or below in the comments.