Recycled Art Tools and Materials

Posted by artsupply.com on 3/8/2014 to Art Tips

Recycled Art Tools and Materials

Nothing stimulates creativity like a big, playful collection of tools that you love to use, and that are right at your fingertips. Imagine being a kid again, and you have a huge toy box filled with every toy you ever wanted. That is a wonderful way to feel when you walk into your studio to create, so let's cultivate a studio full of tools that are fun to use.

The best part of filling your studio with creative tools is that it can save you money – money that you can use to buy things like paint, canvas, drawing supplies, and all the other lovely materials you might need to express your creative spirit.

Old Kitchen Gadgets and Materials
You might be surprised how much creative use you can get from old kitchen items. From rusted cookie cutters, to old utensils, to warped pans, make sure to evaluate before you trash kitchen supplies! Basting brushes make a great option for painting and applying liquids, rubber spatulas are great paint mixing and blending tools, and old cutting boards are wonderful work surfaces. Straw are great for spatter painting techniques, and styrofoam leftover containers can be used to create prints. You can even use old food; for instance dried-out root vegetables like carrots and potatoes are a great medium to use for carve and create stamps, as well as wine corks and old dish sponges. And after you've finished the pickles, save the glass jars for organizing the small materials in your studio, and empty cans are great for paint, varnishes, stains, and other liquids. Remember to clean those jars and cans thoroughly to prevent contamination of your paints and tools.

Harvest the Gardening Tools
If you garden, landscape, or care for an exterior space, then chances are you have various materials and tools amassing. Landscaping material is a great source for structural elements: chicken wire is extremely flexible and can be sculpted into any shape you envision; old fence pieces, gates, and trellises are fun for larger scale sculptures and installations; old or broken terra-cotta pots and tiles can make for interesting mosaic projects – the list just goes on!

Hardware and Building Materials
Duct tape, leftover wood cuts, extra screws, and dry wall putty can all be put to great use in your artwork. Rebar is fantastic for structural support, copper pipes are easy to cut and have a great look, and that half-full bag of concrete mix could be the beginnings of your next great creative endeavor. Also, never pass up an opportunity to snag old tools: hammers, rubber mallets, box cutters, tape measures, and clamps can all be put to excellent use in your studio.

Old Office Supplies and Random Crafty Items
Feathers, string, styrofoam, and sponges: anything that can hold paint can be a brush. Pushpins, staplers, and hole punches are almost a must-have for a creative, and if you have a stack of old business cards sitting around, put them to use in your next multimedia collage.


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