Earth-Conscious and Budget-Friendly Art Teaching Stuff, Part II


Earth-Friendly And Budget-Conscious Art Teaching Stuff…

Part 2: Equipment To Repurpose (or Find Cheap) For Your Art Room

Recommendations for eco-conscious, low-cost and/or free Reusable Art Classroom Materials & Equipment… and ideas for how they can be used

There’s no shortage of everyday items that can be used to find new life in the art classroom… just think of all the junk we throw away daily! But by finding alternative uses for these materials in our art rooms, we not only conserve resources, but also inspire our young artists to think outside the box- training them to see the potential in everything around them.

Reusable and Low-Cost Materials

These things do cost money, but give “bang for your buck”.

-Pie Tins-


Wipeable for quick turnaround


Paint Palettes

Printmaking Plates

Crayon/Supply Distribution to Groups/Tables for sharing (can spread out selection and variety becomes visible)

-Dishwashing (or Sink) Bins-


-Typically fit student sketchbooks, binders, folders and notebooks, frequently almost perfectly.

-Last MUCH longer than the cheap plastic storage bins (the ones they market yearly to teachers) from dollar stores.


storage for projects, artworks sorted by class, table group, etc.

hold future Weeks’/Days’ handouts, instructional materials and supply distribution, sorted by project, grade level, class, table group, etc.

3D Artwork Storage that cant fit on your drying racks (don’t forget to label somehow)

Usually you can use permanent marker/dry erase marker, then erase later by wiping off ink with alcohol-based hand sanitizer on a cotton ball or papertowel.

Bins can be stacked when they have shallow contents or when not in use, for reducing the need for extra storage space on shelves or in cabinets, etc.

Disposable Materials To Keep On Hand

The following materials are disposable, but cheap, but I love to keep a pack of each on hand.

– Cotton Swabs-

Use cotton swabs for precise paint application, creating pointillism artwork, or for cleaning up small details in artwork and as paint brushes in a pinch.

-Popsicle Sticks-

Reuse popsicle sticks for creating structures, such as sculptures or frames for artwork.

-Tin Foil-


Sculpt-able into forms and armatures

Creates especially unique effects on project medium


Press or apply for metallic textures in painting, 3D clay pieces, printmaking, mixed media sculptures, etc.

-Bags of Seeds and/or Grains-


Variety of shapes, sizes, natural colors




Incorporate into mixed media artwork, sculptures, etc. for texture.


Creature Features (eyeballs, noses, etc.)

Disposable Materials, Cheap If Used Sparingly…

The following materials are disposable, but not as cheap and not as eco-conscious, so I use them very conservatively:

Baby Wipes

I extend their use by slicing or tearing in half. It’s great to have these on hand for when you just loose track of time and can’t spend too much time on sink lines. They work so great to clean hands or wash tables, but I use them SO sparingly because of their cost and environmental impact.

-Paper Plates-

Keep these on hand for those occasions when you just have to get some liquid material handed out without too much thought. I also use these less frequently because of their cumulative cost and environmental impact (plastic coated)

Why Repurpose?

Yes, repurposing and upcycling materials for our art classrooms reduces waste AND saves art budget dollars…

But, we also set a great example by doing this!

There’s such creativity and resourcefulness involved in finding alternative uses for everyday items that we can easily spark even more ideas as we encourage an atmosphere of innovation in our art classrooms.

By repurposing cheap or free materials for our art rooms, we help create sustainable and increasingly imaginative learning environments for our art students.

Have you found an earth-friendly or repurposed favorite?


And be sure this post if you know of someone who might find it useful.

Happy Eco-Friendly Art Teaching! 🙂

Check out Part 3!

Part III: Free (or Freely Available) Art Room Materials

Art Room Materials from free, or freely available things easily found around school sites and households.