My Favorite Things: A Guide to Art and Craft Materials

art and craft materials

So, my friend had this awesome idea for me to post about my favorite craft/ painting materials and of course, I'm using it!  Thanks Jamie!

First I'll tackle the art supplies.  I watercolor A LOT and have some experience with materials by now. I'm planning a whole How to Watercolor Series in a month or so that I'm excited about.  So I'll go into more detail about watercolor materials then.

For now, we'll stick with the basics.

Watercolor Paper:  

My favorite/most affordable watercolor paper is Strathmore 140lb coldpress paper. You can buy it at most craft stores, but Michael's is my favorite place to get it.  They have sales on this paper regularly and if not, you can always use a 40% off coupon.  This paper comes in pads or you can buy them in large sheets. I usually buy the pads of either the 300 or 400 series.  Both are good.

Another good paper I've used is Canson- also 140lb coldpress.  It has a little smoother texture than the Strathmore papers.  You can also buy it at Michaels.

watercolor materials

Watercolor Paints:

Professional Grade watercolor paints come in tubes as a thick liquid.  My favorite brands are Utrecht, Winsor & Newton, or Grumbacher.  Those are quite affordable at Michaels also, and are pretty good quality paints.  They really make a difference in how your paintings turn out.

watercolor paint tubes

Watercolor Paint Brushes:

My current and only brand of brushes I have ever used is Connoisseur.  I got them in college about 8 years ago and they have served me well. I don't believe they have these at Michaels.  I got mine at the university bookstore.  But you can find this brand on Amazon or the Connoisseur website.

Paint brushes can be made from different kinds of animal hair or synthetic materials.  I've heard that sable brushes are the best, but mine are made from white taklon- a synthetic fiber. Synthetics tend to be cheaper.

watercolor paint brushes

Ok, so now on to the crafty materials......

Acrylic Paints and Foam Brushes:

I use cheap acrylic craft paints and foam brushes quite often.  I like the Apple Barrel Acrylic Craft paint because it comes in lots of pretty colors and is quite cheap at Walmart.

As for foam brushes, I like to buy the Economy Packs in the house painting supplies section at walmart. You can get a whole bag of them for the same price as 3 or 4 in the craft aisle.

acrylic craft paints and foam brushes

Stamps and Paper Punches:

Ok, we'll go back to Michaels for these.  Some of my most favorite craft tools have come from the little dollar baskets there.  Both the owl and the robot stamps were only $1 each!  Doesn't get better than that!

You'll have to shell out a bit more for the paper punches, but sometimes it is worth it.  This little Martha Stewart butterfly punch has inspired so many of my crafty projects!


Picture Frames:

I've written about the awesomeness of buying frames from thrift stores and I'll write about it again.  You cannot get a better deal.  They do take some cleaning up and some paint afterwards, but to me- it's totally worth it!

There are a few things to look for when buying thrifted frames.  Most are pretty trashed, but there are some good ones in there.
  • I always bring a small measuring tape with me to make sure I'm not buying some random weirdly sized frame. 
  • I look for frames made of real wood.  It can be hard to tell, but generally, the real wood ones are heavier than the cheap-o particle board stuff and they are much more sturdy. 
  • I look for good glass, if I need a frame with glass- like for my watercolor paintings.  Some frames have cheap plastic stuff, not actual glass.
  • I look at the back of the frame to see if it has sturdy hanging construction or if the back has just been taped on .  There are ways to fix the backs so that your pictures stay in, but it's easier just to buy a good-backed-frame to begin with.
gold frames


I basically only use two types of yarn for my crochet projects: acrylic and cotton.

My favorite brand of 100% acrylic yarn is Caron Simply Soft- the softest yarn you will ever feel!  It's awesome!

As for cotton yarn for hot pads and dish towels, I like Lily Sugar'nCream brand.

Joann's is my favorite place to shop for these yarns.  They have the biggest variety, often have sales, and you can almost always get a 40% off coupon too.


Well, folks, that's my list!  What are your favorite craft/ art materials?


  1. Thanks so much for sharing! :) I am in the learning stages of both watercolor painting and crochet, so this is great info for me! I have been using W&N paints and love them, but have been looking for more economical options for paper. Looking forward to your series!

    Caron Simply Soft is my favorite yarn too! :) I also like to get yarn at JoAnn, but the closest one to me is about 20/30 miles out, so it's a rare trip. But you know, I have noticed that WalMart has some of the basic colors of the Caron Simply Soft brand, and at least the one near me sells them for less than JoAnn, so if I need a "common color," sometimes I just get it there.

  2. I'm so excited that you posted this because I've been meaning to ask you about the watercolor supplies. I will definitely be tuning in for your upcoming series! :)
    Rebekah Somewhere in the Middle


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