Art Supplies for a Small Budget

Let’s face it: art supplies are expensive, especially if you are buying professional quality. However, if you are new to painting you don’t need to break the bank to get decent supplies. This article presents you with a range of affordable art supplies that not only spare your budget, but also empower you to unleash your creativity on canvas with confidence! At at the end of the article, I will show you how you can get all the supplies you need for under $70!

Best Acrylic Paint for Beginners: Blick, Utrecht

When it comes to paint, you definitely get what you pay for. Having experimented with a wide range, from the budget-friendly to the splurge-worthy, Golden stands out as the clear winner for top-notch acrylic paint. However, there are other paints out there that won’t break the bank and still keep your creative juices flowing.

In my opinion, both Blick Studio Paint and Utrecht Studio Series Acrylic deserve a shout-out for being affordable and reliable options. They each come in at around $15 for an 8 oz tube, but Blick sweetens the deal with a $5 option for a 4 oz tube. If you’re up for grabbing the larger tube, I’d vouch for Utrecht’s superior quality.

This 8 oz. tube is about $15

Cheaper Alternative for Beginners: Artist’s Loft

Artist’s Loft offers fantastic value for your artistic endeavors, especially if you’re looking to dive into painting without breaking the bank. What makes it even more appealing is that Michael’s, where Artist’s Loft is available, frequently runs sales. Plus, if you’re a regular customer with an account, they often reward you with financial perks, like $15 towards your purchases.

The sweet spot with Artist’s Loft Soft Body paint lies in the large bottles. While the 4 oz and 8 oz tubes are priced similarly to Utrecht/Blick, I’d recommend opting for those if that’s the size you prefer. However, if you’re in the mood for an abundance of paint to fuel your experimentation and artistic freedom, the large bottles of soft body paint are the way to go.

This 32 oz. bottle costs about $10!

Best Watercolor/Mixed Media Paper for Beginners

When embarking on your painting journey, consider starting on gessoed watercolor or mixed media paper. It’s a cost-effective way to bring your ideas to life, and if you use a sketchbook, it keeps all your creations neatly in one place. As you progress in your painting skills, you can even repurpose the painted pages for collage material. The key is to gesso your paper initially to provide a suitable surface for acrylic paint, and Liquitex offers an excellent and budget-friendly gesso.

For optimal value, look no further than the Artist’s Loft Medium Weight Mixed Media Paper (11″ x 14″). This robust paper is a true workhorse, resilient to more than just brushes. Whether you’re scraping, pushing, or pulling, this paper holds up admirably. With 60 sheets for $18, that’s just $0.30 per page – a fantastic deal for your artistic exploration!

For only $18 for 60 sheets, you can experiment your heart out!

If you want to go a bit bigger and go up in quality, then the Canson XL Mixed Media Paper (14″ x 17″) offers excellent value.

Not a bad deal at $33 (.55 cents per sheet!)

Best Canvases for Beginners

When it comes to canvases, the unbeatable deal can be found in the Artist’s Loft Super Value Canvas Packs at Michaels. These stretched canvases boast a sleek profile and can be easily hung on the wall once your masterpiece is complete. If you’re eager for the authentic canvas experience, these are a great starting point! The current price for the 16″ x 20″ canvas packs is $19.99, but keep an eye out for frequent sales, often dropping the price to $12.99. At about $4 per canvas, it’s a pretty sweet deal for your artistic endeavors.

$19.99 for 5 Canvases

Best Brushes for Beginners

Selecting the right paintbrush can feel like navigating a sea of options, and much like paint, quality often aligns with the price. Yet, I’ve found myself particularly impressed by the brushes from Royal & Langnickel brushes. While they may not offer a hard bristle brush option, if you appreciate softer brushes like liners and others, these are truly fantastic! Personally, I love the filbert for crafting cloud-like forms, and the liner brush is excellent for expressive gesture marks. These brushes are conveniently available at Michael’s, allowing you to inspect them in person before making a decision. Regardless of where you purchase them, aim for a diverse range of sizes, spanning from medium to large. While small brushes excel in oil painting, they might not be the ideal choice for acrylic abstract painting. So, make sure to mix it up and explore different sizes to suit your artistic needs.

Only $15 for this starter pack.

Palette Knives

Palette knives don’t have to be a costly expense, but they’re essential for mixing paint. Personally, I find them versatile enough to even replace brushes when I’m painting. For a great balance of price and quality, I recommend checking out the U.S. art supply palette knives.

$7.99 is a great deal for these palette knives

Other Supplies

When you’re just starting out, don’t forget the basics like a water container (yogurt containers work surprisingly well), some old cut-up T-shirts or washcloths for rags, and perhaps even a handy spray bottle. Chances are, you can easily find these items around your house to enhance your painting setup.

Bundle Packages

If you’re gearing up for your first-time supply haul, here’s a ballpark estimate of what you might spend. Keep in mind, you’ll likely need at least 5 tubes of paint (red, blue, yellow, black, and white) to get started.

#1: Value Package. Get the least expensive supplies that deliver a lot of value.

  1. Blick 4 oz. paints. = $25 (5 tubes)
  2. Artist’s Loft Mixed Media Paper=$18
  3. Zen Brushes=$15
  4. Palette Knives=$8


#2: Quality Package. Better quality supplies at a great cost.

  1. Utrecht 8 oz. paints=$75 (5 tubes. Note you are getting twice the amount of paint here.)
  2. Artist’s Loft Canvas Value Pack=$20
  3. Zen Brushes=$15
  4. Palette Knives=$8


Don’t let the cost deter you from your painting passion. Consider using birthdays and holidays as opportunities to stock up on supplies, or set aside a small amount each month to ensure your artistic tools are always within reach. Painting brings numerous benefits, and unless you’re creating art for sale, you can fully enjoy this hobby in a budget-friendly manner. Happy painting!


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I am an artist out of Santa Fe, New Mexico who has been painting for almost 30 years. I love to teach first-timers as well as experienced painters who need a creative reboot. My work has been displayed in several galleries around the country, and I have a Bachelor’s in Art History, a Master’s in Art Education, and had my work in a show juried by Judy Chicago. The idea of getting more people painting makes me light up as I want to inspire more people to express their creative selves and tap into a place of joy and calm.

  1. Linden Kirby says:

    Thanks for this very helpful list of supplies. Your experience with acrylic options makes me more confident to in my choices. And by the way, I have a credit card from Michael’s and receive extra cash vouchers because of my purchases.

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