Where can you find cheap art supplies for kids nowadays? Everything in stores and online is getting more and more expensive. But don’t worry. Depending on the source, you can not only save money, but also help keep something out of the landfill. Here are some great places to find less expensive or free materials for your child’s next project:

child with green paint covering their hands making hand prints on white paper

Where to find cheap art supplies for kids:

Consignment stores – Find new supplies and kits at a discounted price.

Creative reuse centers such as UpCycle– Materials are donated to the centers by the community, and can be purchased for a low cost.

Salvage shops – Find a wide range of items at architectural salvage stores. The shop near us has everything from stained glass, textiles, knicknacks, really anything you can think of.

Thrift stores – Find clothing that can be taken apart to use the fabric, jars for holding supplies, sewing machines, yarn, etc.

Mis-tint section of paint stores – People return paint to the store all the time because it’s the wrong color or they hate the color. You’ll find it on deep discount at paint/ hardware stores and big box home improvement stores.

Facebook marketplace/ Craigslist – Find literally anything you can think of on these sites.

Garage sales – Some towns have a designated yearly sale day, so check with your town and surrounding areas. Sale days are great, because often the town will provide a map to all the participating houses. 

For budget friendly fun, check out these frugal sensory bins.

And where to find free art supplies:

You local schools – At the end of the school year, some schools have leftover supplies available for other teachers or their students to keep, like markers, paper, classroom decor, etc.

Public libraries – Many libraries offer weekly crafts and provide the supplies for free.

Little free library – These gems are popping up all over the country and are no longer just for books. Some little free libraries are used for other purposes, including craft ideas and supplies.

Free book banks such The Maryland Book Bank – Find books on countless subjects including arts and crafts, as well as activity books, for free.

Your local Freecycle sites – Community members both give away and get free stuff in their neighborhood. Our local site had bookcases and scrapbook supplies listed at the time I posted this.

Hold a swap with friends – This is a fun little event where you get to declutter and get new stuff for free. Bring ANYTHING – clothes, books, cooking utensils, craft supplies, all of it. Donate whatever is leftover to your local charitable thrift organization.

Blogs like mine often have free printable coloring pages and activity pages that you can print.

Happy hunting – finding unusual supplies can take your project in a direction you never expected and that’s part of the fun. Know a great source not listed above? Drop your favorite place to find cheap craft supplies in the comments!


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