Art

6 Cool Art Supplies & What to Do With Them

We’re always looking for inspirations to keep us busy on rainy days and cold nights. Sure, there a whole lot of spine-tingling TV shows that could keep us entertained, but why not channel our winter blues into something productive?

An activity that will calm our monkey-minds, bring colour into our grey days and will leave us with something to gift to our friends or decorate our homes with – doesn’t that sound like the perfect remedy for these cold winter days?

Then it’s time to brave the cold for just a few minutes and head down to your local craft shop to stock up on some fun supplies to create cool art projects with.

If you’re still not entirely what you’re looking to create, check out these 6 cool art supplies for inspiration!

Calligraphy Pens

A silver pen on top of calligraphy writing

A card sent to your loved ones just to let them know you’re thinking about them will always be appreciated, whether you’ve opted for a Hallmark card or a simple postcard.

Nothing quite compares to a homemade card though – any recipient will value the thought, time and creativity that went into it.

A set of calligraphy pens will come in handy if you’re looking to create the kind of cards people will treasure for a lifetime.

Whatever quote or personal message you decide to base your card on, you can rest assured it will pop with the use of calligraphy pens. They will allow you to practise the type of artistic lettering you tend to envy on the chalkboards of your local hipster restaurant – cursive, bold and eye-catching!

Oil Pastels

The great thing about oil pastels is they allow for so much versatility, they can be used for all types of amazing projects – not just your standard painting on canvass.

If you’re a fan of journaling or scrapbooking, you can create striking backgrounds for your pages using just oil pastels, baby oil and tissue paper.

Choose a set of three colours to complement each other and fill in the entire page with them. Next dab a tissue paper with some baby oil and wipe the page down, stopping every now and then to check the progress. You’ll be left with a vellum-like texture you can use for all types of mixed media ideas.

Acrylic Paints

Acrylic paints also offer a whole world of possibilities and tend to resemble watercolours or oil paints when they are diluted or mixed with different pastes or gels.

One of the things that make acrylic paints a favourite to work with is the fact that they can be used on various surfaces, including glass and ceramic. You could create your own range of cutlery if you feel so inclined – paint lovely, cheery designs onto your wine glasses and match your boring white plates accordingly.

Colourful acrylic paint designs on glass bottles, old window panels or even a glass table top can act as standalone design pieces and will breathe new life into your home.

Oil Paints

Oil paints are the right choice for you if you like getting experimental with your art projects. They take a long time to dry, so if you are working on a detailed painting, patience is of utmost importance.

For something a little more abstract however, you can start practising the sgraffito technique, otherwise known as the scratching technique. This technique consists of using the other end of your paintbrush, the pointy end of a scraper or even a toothpick, to scratch through an already painted surface to reveal what is beneath – be it another layer of colour, the white of the canvass or the original colour of any other surface you might be using.

Aluminium has proven to be an exciting surface to practise this technique on, but you can go for surfaces such as wood or your standard canvass too. If you want to get really wild with your experimentations, try the marble technique – this is really fun for the kids too!

To create funky pictures with oil paints using the marbling technique, simply follow these steps:

  1. Fill a shallow baking tray with water
  2. Add your choice of thinned oil paints
  3. Use a medicine dropper to move the oil paints and squirt drops into the water, using as many colours as you like
  4. Patterns will start forming on the water surface, and if you gently blow on to the water (you can use straws to do so), the water and paint droplets will move to create a wildly colourful effect
  5. Once you’re happy with your patterns, dip a thick piece of paper into the dish and watch as the paint transfers onto it
  6. Remove from the water and see the final result!

Charcoal

Charcoal is such a fun medium to work with – you get your hands dirty, you can play with smudging, and even amateurs will be able to create impressive art thanks to their easy use.

There are three different types of charcoal:

  • Vine charcoals
  • Powdered charcoals
  • Compressed charcoals

Charcoal pencils are by far the easiest to start with. These pencils are quite soft and you will find yourself managing them differently to your standard pencil because of it, allowing you to adapt to different shading techniques with ease.

Working with charcoal pencils will teach you how to hold your pencil properly – if you’re usually prone to using a lot of pressure, in time, charcoal will teach you how to loosen your hold on your pencil, allowing you to work more freely with other mediums as well.

Spray Paint

Different colour spray paint cans

Is there anything you can’t do with spray paint? With a roll of masking tape, a can of spray paint and a clean canvass, you might find yourself becoming the new emerging artist in the world of modern art soon enough!

Choose a base colour for your canvass, paint it in its entirety and wait for it to dry. Once ready, use your masking tape and stick off areas in different shapes, stripes or whatever tickles your fancy and spray over it with another colour. Carefully remove the masking tape once dried et voila – you’ll have your own little piece of modern art. Alternatively, you can channel your inner Banksy: find cool stencils online and get to work on your bedroom wall!

Richard Hammond

I am the founder of 9Mousai and am deeply interested in creativity and what inspires it. My main passions are writing, film and music but I have a great respect for all the arts. I'm also an animal lover and have a little cat called Winston and occasionally dabble in the odd whisky.

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