I have looked at the Stockmar brand of beeswax crayons and paint, but was wondering what other high quality art supplies others use? My DD just adores art and I would really like for her to have some nice supplies to use.
I recently bought a pack of faber castell beeswax crayons from a bigbox craft store. They are regularly $4.99 for 12 but had a coupon so more like $2.50. They quality is good but variety of color is not the best. There is no purple!
There is also a 24 pack, maybe that has purple? Anyhow, I like them. The clementine ones color nicely too but are kind of pricey in my opinon.
There are also some crayons sold at the barnes and noble in my city that are nice but I can't remember what kind they were. They were pretty inexpensive though.
For paints, I bought some cheap adult quality (but marked nontoxic) tube watercolors. You can buy just red, yellow, and blue, as long as you buy shades that work with each other. This http://www.fountainstudio.com/watercolor%20tips/tip-mixing_colors.html explains a bit but I wouldn't worry too much about shade selection. It will all mix. :) And we use old baby food jars or 1oz honey or maple syrup jars when we have them.
My children have Stockmar crayons and they will use them on occasion, but by far their most used art material is the Stockmar/Art Makes Sense colored pencils. The crayons last forever - you will probably only have to buy one set - but we go through a couple sets of pencils a year. Honestly though I think they are a pretty good deal - I tried just about every other colored pencil out there when I was teaching and so many of them break, crack, are too hard or too soft - these are really perfect for kids. They are awesome if you have a wide age range of children because the older ones can use them for detailed drawings, but they are thick and soft enough for the little ones to use too. Unlike a lot of colored pencils the leads don't break and they sharpen pretty easily too.
We get ours from www.thewoodenwagon.com but I think they are basically the same thing as the Lyra Ferby pencils which are more widely available. I've found my little boys handle the full sized ones just fine so you can skip getting the shorts - the longs are just a little more money but you get almost twice the pencil.
They never really cared for wet on wet painting but they do like regular watercolors. The set we have now is from www.stubbypencilstudio.com. I can't remember what it is called but I choose it because you can remove and refill each color. I was able to take out the black paint, and when all the paint is used up I can get replacements and not have to throw out the whole case.
We also have tempera-like paint, from Clementine Art. It's ok. My guys don't ask for it much - I'm not sure if that's because they just prefer drawing or if they don't like the paint.
I get our paper from www.discountschoolsupply.com. We get the sulphite drawing paper which I think is great, especially for the price, and the watercolor paper, which is a good price and fine for wet on dry painting. A couple reviews say it is not good for wet on wet painting though.
It's a waste to get that great Stockmar watercolor paint if you don't get cold-pressed watercolor paper. I order ours through our school who purchase from a Waldorf whole seller. But any high quality watercolor as long as it's cold-pressed it great for wet-on-wet painting like the children learn.
We just started watercolors (Stockmar) at our house and I can vouch for the wonderful-ness of really good paper. I got the Fluid brand and it is secured on two sides to prevent the paper buckling and becoming wrinkly when wet. That, to me, takes the place of an art board. We've not done wet on wet yet, but I am excited to. I made a paper lantern with the Fluid paper and it turned out great.
I would be sure to invest in cold-pressed paper if she likes water colours and good brushes that are not made from stiff, thick, synthetic bristles in different sizes. You need not invest in professional brushes, since a child will ruin them pretty quickly by pressing too hard, rotating them against the paper, not washing them properly etc. The main important thing is that they are natural hair (I think the ones I had as a kid was made from horse hair, and the finest point ones from squirrel), since natural hair picks up colour and water in a different way than synthetic brushes do.
For the watercolours...I always rather liked the squeeze tube kind of colours we had in school. For one thing, they were wonderful to use for fingerpaint projects, easy to use with different sorts of sponges and carved potatoes etc. but also very easy to mix to get the right shade. We only had the primary colours of red, blue, yellow, black, brown and white and it was great fun mixing the colours on palettes to get the shades we wanted. Again, brand does not really matter that much at this stage. Most generic art store brands will do for an enthusiastic little one. :)
Personally, I never really liked crayons as a child. They were too clumsy, not exact enough. I much preferred coloured pencils like the ones Faber Castell makes. I especially loved the ones you can paint on dry, and then smudge out with water...aquarell? Not sure of the name in English. In any case, if you go with pencils you really do want high quality ones. The reason being not that they necessarily paint any better, but than when sharpening them they do not break off as easily as bad quality ones.
Once I grew a bit older and started drawing characters etc. my favourite tool quickly became a lead pencil. My favourite brand at the moment is a classic, yellow lead pencil from Timing. I buy them in packages of twelve or so. Timing I find is a good brand because they are made of truly hard pressed wood, which makes sharpening them very easy. Many cheaper lead pencils, made with sort of crumbly wood, tends to break off over and over...never really working. Which is really a waste of money.
Talking of which, if you do use pencils, do invest in a good, classical all steel pencil sharpener (mine is made in Germany...no brand name on it) and a good quality eraser. Faber Castell again make good ones that really do remove lead pencil marks cleanly. Many cheaper, no-name brand ones (or those with cute prints) are simply too hard and sort of plastic to work well.
For everyday, mindless painting (and paper projects) Ikea does make cheap stacks of paper of thick, decent quality as long as you are not using any kind of ink or wet colours. Good paper quality is of course always a joy to work with, but it can become really expensive if you have a little one who really loves art. So, keeping some cheaper paper around is always a good idea.
For scissors, I find again IKEA ones work just fine for most projects. They are not the best in the world...but for the price, really can't be beat. Plus they have rounded tips. If you really are looking for good quality scissors I would choose Fiskars. They are really wonderful scissors...but just a bit on the sharp side for me to feel comfortable with a little one using them. With the Ikea ones you can touch the edge of the scissor without cutting yourself, not so with the Fiskars ones. For fabric cutting where I need a sharp edge I do use Fiskars, but for general paper cutting IKEA is generally safer.
There are several fun scissors that cut special edges. As a kid, I loved those. Paired with coloured paper, glue and string I had a lot of fun making window mobiles etc.
Glue. Keep two sorts at hand. An ordinary glue stick for general projects, and a general craft glue (usually white, comes in a squeezy bottle) for projects where more precision is needed or simply just better adherence. I would not use a glue gun...simply because of the danger, and because that for most kid friendly projects it is not really needed.
I mentioned string above. In my family we've always had lots and lots of hemp garden string at hand of different thickness. Just generic, no-name hemp strings and ordinary, black kitchen string that you can use to close up a filled duck.
And well...that's really all you need to get going crafting. Oh, and a good wooden or metal ruler. :)
Our most heavily used art product is really big drawing paper + Lyra Ferby pencils + pencil holder that makes them available. Both my kids (2 and 4) prefer them to our stockmar crayons. When they do use the crayons they prefer the sticks. My 4 year old will draw iwth them for at least an hour every day. I do like the short, unvarnished ones better for really young kids but at four I am replacing them with the regular length now. I just love these pencils terrific colors, last a long time even with really heavy use, easy to grip, etc.
We do wet and wet on occasion but he really "draws" with the paint (i.e. person or ship) so I invest in moderate quality paper. Even that required some shopping around. The Farber version was the best quality to price version. Still, I find that mixing is a bit of hassle and as a result I do it less than I like. I think I am going to buy some some super bright premixed pigments that our (Reggio) preschool uses simply that we use them more often.
Oil pastels are also a nice change of paste and these are messy but the kids really enjoy the sparkle http://www.amazon.com/Faber-Castell-Metallic-Gel-Sticks/dp/B0021W16JO
Also, I've had really lousy luck with most of the newer eco-friendly brands of art supplies. It seems to be glue that doesn't stick and markers that stain everything and crayons that don't color. I stick to the classics listed here with some cheapo crayola washable markers thrown in.