If there's one thing all artists can agree on, it's that art supplies are expensive. Sure, $8 for a tube of paint here, $10 for a canvas there, doesn't seem like it would break the bank, but when you spend most of your free time practicing your craft, you go through a lot of materials. As someone who experiments with lots of art forms, I've found that the most financially straining for me is acrylic pouring. Here are some of the money-saving tricks I've learned over the last few months that have saved me some serious cash.
Make Your Own Pouring Medium
A 32 oz. bottle of brand-name pouring medium could cost you about $25-$30, depending on the brand, but only last two or three paintings. If you like to make a few paintings at a time, this can add up to a huge expense! When I first started pouring I exclusively used homemade pouring medium and it saved me some major coin. A gallon of Elmer's Glue-All costs about $15-$20 and a jug of distilled water is about $2. When using the recipe mentioned below, your gallon of glue will turn into 1.5 gallons of pouring medium!
Wipe Down Your Gloves and Mixing Tools
For those who use nitrile gloves while pouring, you know how quickly a box of 100 can dwindle down to two. This is not only harmful to your bank account, but it's also not great for our environment. Whenever I put on a clean pair of gloves, I keep paper towels and a pack of baby wipes close by. Every time I think I need a clean pair of gloves, I just wash the paint off the current pair as if I was washing my own hands. Rather than go through four pairs of gloves in a night, I'll now only go through one! Along the same lines, if you mix your paints with wooden sticks or plastic spoons, before you throw them away, wipe them down with a baby wipe and paper towel. You can usually get another few uses out of them, especially the plastic spoons!
Become a Rewards Member
If you aren't already, sign up to become a Blick Preferred Customer and a Michaels Rewards Member ASAP! Both retailers send out frequent mailers with awesome deals, plus, they'll email you about special in-store savings. Michaels has great bulk discount deals and Blick will match their own online prices if you shop in-store.
Buy Everything in Bulk
Living in a city, it's not that easy for me to get to stores like Costco, so I love shopping on Jet and Boxed. Rather than buying non-art supplies (i.e. gloves, plastic spoons, garbage bags) from CVS or Amazon as I need them, I hold off until I have a big enough list of things I need and place an order on Jet or Boxed. By doing this, I'm able to set myself up with enough supplies for a few weeks and I also save money in the process.
I also buy canvases in bulk from Blick. Their value packs of pre-stretched cotton canvases are $12-$20 online and depending on the size, you can get 7 or 8 canvases in a pack!
Use Apps like eBates and Ibotta
Before placing an order on Jet or Boxed, I always check Ibotta to see if there are any cash-back deals. Just last week I placed an order on Jet through Ibotta and because the brand was running a special deal, I got 10% cash back! While the cash-back deals are typically only 1-2%, every dollar saved adds up.
Only Shop for Supplies Online
While not as fun as walking up and down the aisles of Michaels, by purchasing your supples online, you'll stop yourself from spending money on frivolous items. You'll also know exactly how much is in your cart before you check out. It's never fun getting up to the check-out counter, hearing your final total, and having to shamefully tell the sales associate that you actually won't be taking everything. Shopping online also means you can use cash-back apps like eBates!
I'd love to hear some of your own hacks for pouring on a budget. Share them in the comments section below!
Disclosure: Links to Blick Art Materials and Amazon are affiliate links, which means that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Please note, I only promote products that I personally use and love!