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Art On A Budget

Being an artist can be expensive especially when trying to acquire good quality materials. It also

Bowls embellished by Kathy Van Gogh

does not help that many of us have gone to an art supply store with the purpose of only getting one item and returning with a cart full of supplies and mediums. So, what do you do if you want to create beautiful artwork without it costing a fortune?


Instead of purchasing a large canvas, try painting on a smaller one, illustration board, or drawing in a sketchbook. These substitutes can also help when planning out your proportions and colours until you save money for a large canvas.

Recycle Canvases

Reusing canvases can be a great cost-saving method. I recommend trying to find an old painting that you no longer like or purchasing an inexpensive painting from a garage sale or a thrift store. Once that’s done, you can prepare your new canvas by wiping it down to remove any dust or residue before applying primer and paint. If you find that your canvas has a lot of texture from the previous painting or artwork try sanding it before applying anything.

Furniture painted by Kathy Van Gogh

Alternative Surfaces

If you do not have an old painting you can paint over or a small budget-friendly canvas you can use, consider painting on alternative surfaces. You can paint on furniture, clothing, accessories, and house decorations instead of the usual surfaces (i.e. canvases, paper, and boards). 

Here is a small list of items to consider painting, drawing, or embellishing on for your next art project:

  • Furniture: side table, shelf, dresser

  • Clothing: shirt, hat, jean jacket, pants, shoes

  • Accessories: phone case, laptop case, purse

  • House décor: pots, garbage bin, tray, jars, coasters, plates

Changing your supplier

Consider switching your supplier, try buying your supplies from a local craft store, the kid's supply section, or your friends. You can find a whole range of inexpensive mediums and substrates to explore.

Buying Less

Another way to save is to just use the basics or make a list of core colours to choose from. This will help those who have a habit of overbuying supplies. You can save a lot by only purchasing primary colours, black, and white. It can be a lot of fun to experiment and create your own shades and blends from multiple combinations.

Book cover by Kathy Van Gogh


If the cost-saving tips mentioned above do not work for you yet you still want to create art on a budget, try looking for deals. Several art stores offer discounts on their supplies for a limited time. To keep up with any new products or deals, consider signing up to email lists. Art stores will also offer discounts to members or art students.  

There are many methods for saving on supplies when creating art. These are just some that I found. What are some cost-saving and budget-friendly methods you use? Please share in the comments section below!

By Marlene Ferhatoglu


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