acrylics,  artists,  paint,  saving money

Artists on a Budget – Tips to Save Money on Painting Supplies

Whether you paint with oils, watercolors, or acrylics, stocking up on paint supplies is expensive. It’s especially tempting when you discover new products or get lost in the art store with no strict plan in mind. Artists at any stage of the craft can suffer a big hit to their pocket once they run out of paint, canvas, or need to replace their budgets. But if you are careful, there are ways to cut these costs in half. These following tips will allow you to have the same creative freedom while also saving some money.

Be mindful of the supplies you already have.

One of the main reasons I used to spend so much money on art supplies was because I was wasteful with the things I already have. Taking care of your brushes will cut future costs. Make sure to wash your brushes thoroughly after use and to store them in a way that won’t ruin the bristles. Another way to ruin your brushes is to leave them in paint water for a long time. Not only does it ruin the wood on wooden brushes, it loosens the bristles on the brush or changes the shape. Only leave them in water for as long as you are going to use them for the day, then wash them and let them dry and store them.

Using up too much unnecessary paint can also become expensive. Try to estimate how much paint you really need at a time and study ways to mix the colors you need beforehand. This will help to mix the correct amount and not waste too much on trying to get enough color. If you are just starting to paint and need practice, buy a medium that will allow the paint to stay wait for longer while you finish your painting. It’s easy to misuse paint if you have not practiced or want to paint spontaneously, but reminding yourself to invest a little extra time in the process will be cheaper in the long run.

Invest in some gesso.

When I first started painting, I went through so many canvases painting things that I was unhappy with. Thankfully, my friend saw my stack of canvases and told me that I can reuse them if I bought some gesso. You just have to apply it over your canvas and now you have a brand new surface to paint on. Gesso can also be used on other surfaces such as wood and panels as a base for painting. This is a great way to recycle canvases and other materials that can be painted on. The price varies depending on the type you trying to purchase, but if you want to purchase a tub just to cover old canvases, it can be as cheap as $5 for 16 ounces. This investment will save you a lot of money on canvas.

Buy used supplies.

You can find used canvases and paint brushes that are still in good shape in garage sales and thrift stores. I have made some nice discoveries digging around at local thrift stores – from finding unused canvases for fifty cents, to paints and easels. Even if you purchase canvases that have been painted on, you can fix them with some gesso and save a couple of dollars. You might be able to find bulk items for sale on sites such as Craiglist or apps like OfferUp (just be a little more careful in the process). You’d be amazed on the things you can find for really low costs.

Buy online.

I have found that buying online always saves me more money than buying in person. My favorite site and the one I have found most affordable is Jerry’s Artarama. If you are comfortable or have the time to look for supplies in non-traditional stores, sites like Ebay or Amazon can save you a lot of cash. Another perk about buying online is that you can sign up for sales alerts and find coupon codes that can save you up to 50%.

Buy from the same store.

If online isn’t for you, or you want to get a better feel of the supplies you are purchasing, then try buying from the same store. Places such as Blick’s offer reward programs to loyal customers. You can get discounts and even free supplies with every purchase you make. If you are buying from a store, make sure to check the weekly ads or their website for coupons to save you a little more.

Buy in bulk amounts.

Buying larger tubs of paints or packs of paint brushes is a better investment than buying single paint brushes and smaller tubs. I like to buy big tubs of primary colors, such as white and black, because those are the ones that I can use to mix different colors. Buying packs of canvases is can also save you a couple of bucks per canvas. This only works if you are buying bulk amounts of supplies that you use consistently. Buying a big tub of dioxazine purple knowing that you are rarely going to use it might not be the best idea.

Buy sample paint from home improvement stores.

Tubs of sample paint are great to buy because they mix well with acrylics. They also cost as little as $3 for 8 ounces. I would not use the sample paints if you are working on a painting of high quality because the consistency can be a little off. But, if you want to practice or are good at mixing to make the consistency and lasting effect better, than it is a step in saving money while still having a good stock of supplies.

Combining these steps for your future purchases will save you hundreds or even a couple of thousand dollars a year. If you have any questions or comments please leave them below. Thanks for reading and have fun on your shopping adventures!

2 Comments

  • Jill

    Hi Daybe, Loved your post as am also an artist. You have some really great ideas which I will definitely use. Wishing you all the best with your blogging and also your painting. I used to always use oils but have now begun to paint with water colors and am loving it. Find it very different but good in its own way.
    Happy painting, Jill

  • Jill

    Hi Daybe, Loved this post. You had such great ideas and as a fellow artist I will find them most useful. Your idea about buying 2nd hand paints was super as I often frequent charity shops and perhaps will find some there. Paints are such a price, and as you say once inside an art shop it is so easy to spend money. Many thank for you ideas. Best wishes, Jill

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