Free (Or Almost Free) Art Supplies for Watercolourists

Art Supplies are expensive. Any artist can easily spend a small fortune on a trip to the Art Store. But there are a handful of amazing tools that you can get for free (or almost free). Here is my list.

Old Toothbrushes
Thesetoothbrush, art supplies, palette,green are the best spatter tool for fine spatter. A toothbrush and some white gouache can be used to create star effects or Snow. A toothbrush creates a very fine, controlled spatter and it saves your brushes from this sometimes rough technique.

Pickle Jars
I love pickles so I always save the jars for water vessels. You can soak the jars in soap for thirty minutes and their labels will come off easily. But you can also leave the labels on. Who cares, this is your studio, not Pinterest. And of course, any jar will work. Not just pickle jars. Spaghetti Sauce Jars, Apple Sauce Jars . . .

birch, fall, autumn

White Crayons

Okay, so these aren’t technically free, but I swear you can raid a toddler’s crayon stash for the white crayons and they will never notice. These are great to create a  resist and build textures with Watercolour. I used this this technique for the small background trees in my “Last Breath of Autumn Painting.”



Porcelain Plates

These make great Watercolour Palettes. You can get them at dollar store, thrift stores, or probably raid your pantry for a ceramic plate you never use. The benefit is that watercolour paints don’t bead up on your palette like they would on a new plastic palette. The only drawback is they don’t have nice little individual wells for drying and storing paint.

Mug Swag


Mugs are amazing brush holders and who doesn’t have a few mugs around from their favourite store or brand. I love my Wordsworth Books Mug.  I store my watercolour brushes upright in a mug so they dry nicely. It is important to keep brushes them dry and NEVER leave them in the Water.


Shop” Rags

Save old T-shirts, Towels and Clothes to use in your Studio. Old washcloths are my favourite. Its a great way to save a few pennies and also make your studio a bit greener. You can also wash them and reuse them instead of using paper towels. A small rag in your travel kit is also a great tool so you don’t have to worry about keeping it stocked with paper towels.

I’d love to hear if you have any free art supply hacks.

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