I have watched a lot of tutorials, soaked up plenty of tips and learned from exploring and creating for years and years! Most of these items aren't usually your first when you think of "art supplies" but they can be fairly helpful to nearly all creators. So let's get to it!
Shower Curtains. No, not new ones but any older ones will do! If you know someone who is redoing their bathroom or moving- let them know you'd like their curtain. I put out a post once to close family and friends and they still try to save them for me, just give them a nice hot wash. Shower curtains make excellent drop-cloths for sculptors, painters and makers. They tend to be big, spread out easily over the ground or can be draped over tables and benches. We make messes and we know it! Use the plastic-style of curtain under areas that might get wet paint or clay drips to prevent soaking into carpet. Use the soft curtains over the top of plastic for soft cushioning. Are you a maker with some tiny supplies? Use a dark shower curtain to catch runaway beads, narrow tools or other small items from rolling away or being hard to see on the carpet. These also help me remove pet hair quickly by gathering the cloth up all at once and laundering it. I don't even want to admit how many dog hairs are embedded in paintings. Do remember to wash these by themselves and not with other laundry as your supplies may stain regular clothing or linens. Feel good knowing you kept a couple old shower curtains out of the trash by giving them a new life!
Headphones. Tune out the distractions that might be affecting your focus as you create. Sometimes it is noisy neighbors, cantankerous dogs, or construction around your home. Headphones can help keep out the bad, but they can also bring in the good! Queue up inspiring music, put on your favorite binge show or follow along on the adventures of your favorite podcast crew. My personal favorite is the action packed Dimension Door Podcast about a summer witch, a gunslinger, a charming cleric and a brave little rat.
A Spray Bottle. I live in a particularly warm and dry climate for most of the year, so this baby is never far from hand. This item comes in hand for most makers that use wet products like clay or paint. Find a spray nozzle with a fine mist (to avoid thick drops) to gently spray down your palettes of wet acrylic paint or wet canvas. This can help your colors from drying out while you are still working on it. For abstract artists, spraying water can create a variety of effects to add depth and almost a graphic print to paintings, too.
Washi Tape (or also called Japanese masking tape) is...well...masking tape! I always find rolls in the discount bins at most art supply stores in an array of colors and patterns, making this a cheap item to keep around. Washi tape has a nice quality as it is not as sticky as most tape. It has a variety of uses beyond adding a lovely detail to paper crafting projects. The tape can also be used to block off parts of a painting that you want to be careful- while not pulling up the underlying paint! Create amazing layers and lines in your abstract pieces by taping down sections and painting around it. And in a pinch- use it to tape down the corners of drawing or watercolor paper to your desk or table to keep it from moving around as you work.
A Short Extension Cord For all the little electronics and lights needed in most art studios, I always keep one or two of these short cords on hand. While long cords can be very helpful, they are often too much extra length taking up floor space or causing a tripping hazard in small art rooms. Hot glue guns, laminators, photography lights and even speakers- keep them all in just the right spot with a little extra room to reach the right spot for your desk and shelves.
Butcher Paper In a pinch, you can always keep extra newspaper, too. I have a huge extra stack from the last time we moved that was meant to wrap glass and plate ware. It is another great item to use for laying underneath paintings or projects as they dry. It can be easily torn into shapes to lay over paintings to either protect against splashes from other areas (think splatter painting or spray painting). Trying to angle a canvas, camera or model at just the right angle to paint or dry? Fold up some butcher paper and stuff it into any crevice without the remorse of using expensive product. Create a layer over your dining room table so you (or your kiddos) can scribble away happily without fear of marking the table up. Using something like glitter? With this underneath you can crumble the whole thing up with stray flecks and tuck it carefully in the garbage. Protect surfaces from flyway hot glue strings, too! Need to sketch something quick without taking up a page in your special drawing book? Use the butcher paper! Lastly I use the butcher paper as the wrapping up paintings to deliver. It looks nice and I can use as many layers as needed without too much concern for waste as it call all be recycled. I'm always surprised at how many uses this seemingly simple item brings.
How about one bonus item that's not really an item at all? Your favorite color. See that mint green extension cord in the photo? It cost an extra $2 over the regular black or white cords. Is it worth it? It might not seem so on many items, but when you fill a space or room for creating with the little things that make you happy or excited you will be surprised at how much more joy they can bring.
I hope this list helped you find one or two new tools that can spark some more creativity or efficiency in your maker's space! Do you have some surprising recommendations of your own? Please share them with me!
Thank you for reading and if this post as been meaningful or useful or even just entertaining, please give me the little heart on this page a click and letting me know.