How to Shop For Supplies Like a BOSS!

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Shopping Smarter Not Harder

It has been what seems like millennia ago when I was taking painting lessons and I had a “Checklist” of items that were necessary to participate in the class. Then there were always a few extras…things that were nice, but not as central, at least not until I had “mastered the learning curve”. Wow, what a task…not only did I need a canvas, paints and brushes, I also needed certain types of brushes and that about five of them were considered “very important”. There were certain paint colors too; it was awhile before I managed to learn the difference in “pthalo blue” and “cerulean”. But I digress a little…but it goes to show you that it’s easy to become overwhelmed at the prospect of having to come up with a list of art supplies required to get started and set out to acquire them all without having a multitude of questions or concerns.

If you shop locally it can be wise to spend some time there….especially if you’re like I was and you’ve got a lot of boxes to tick off. You don’t want to be starting a class soon and wonder if you left out anything! When shopping online, you’d probably come in contact with an equally wide inventory (perhaps even more so) but you might run into some different issues altogether. There is a good description of the items but the nuances of being able to take them home right away and test them out is not there. If you are used to buying from a crafts store like Hobby Lobby or Michaels and you have certain brands and types you’re fond of that have stood the test of time and suit your purposes, then you can feel pretty confident about shopping from online venues. For example, I really like a certain brand of modeling compound, Sculpey Ultra Light, but sometimes it is hit or miss to find it at stores (must be popular?) so I might search for it on Amazon with confidence.

Some items are less practical to look for online if but for their girth (like canvases) I haven’t bought canvases since Hector was a pup….but I always did get the stretched ones….Every now and then I find myself dissatisfied with a painting but I just apply a coat of primer and it’s good enough to go back to square one with again (because canvases are not cheap) Now there are some people who take pride in stretching their own canvases using the required tools; that’s a whole different magilla and maybe not for everybody. ( I attempted it one time, just for fun.I couldn’t picture myself doing this all the time)

art-supplies-2How to Save $$$ Online…Bundles vs Singles?

As long as I’m on the subject of tubes of paint, or brushes, I thought I’d expound a little here… purchasing them individually online can seem costly. It is far better to search for small bundles, like a 5-piece color paint set, or a set of ten brushes, or colored pencils in sets of 10 or so (these are just examples) In my own experience, things like colored pencils and oil pastels are sold in sets of 10-20, but things like tubes of paint can be bought by the color, or in a set with primary colors only, or it may include color and shade variations. Professional-grade brushes are sold individually only, as things like the nuances of “fine” “coarse” “sable” “animal hair” have to be understood very well, not to mention the fact that brushes can run the gamut from fine tip to wide.

Then there are the kinds of items like cleaning supplies, primer, and varnish. These are sold individually and independent of one another and their msrp might be about the same everywhere.

If you are browsing the Crafts section on Amazon you may notice some smaller-ticket items such as individual paint tubes – these may be “add-on” items and they are meant to be purchased with larger-ticket complmenting items…this is designed to help you save in the long run. Most people want to save on shipping and handling and there are ways to do that, too, with multiple items.

Best of luck, and remember that there are advantages to both venues, offline and online!

Photo Credits: Images Courtesy of Lotus Head

About Jennifer

Hi all, I'm just a humble arts and crafts blogger who also enjoys aquariums, goofball comedies, and sushi. In addition to art I am also owned by 3 pampered cats.

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