Buying Art Materials on a Budget

Art materials don't have to cost the earth with our money-saving tips.

A row of oil paint tubes in various colours.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

I’m an avid arts and crafts lover. From lino printing to watercolour painting, I love to have a go at everything. Whether you are an amateur artist or a seasoned professional there is no denying that art materials can be very expensive. 

But how can we save money on art materials without compromising on quality? I’ve spent over 30 years creating and during most of that time, my budget has been pretty small.  I will share some tips on how you can save whilst enjoying the pastime you enjoy. 

Student-grade materials can save you a fortune

When it comes to art materials there are various levels of quality available. And while there are times when there is no room for compromise, it’s often worth spending less on student-grade materials. 

You don’t have to be a student to make the most of cheaper brands. They are perfect for practice and experimentation. Sometimes, student-grade materials can be at least 40% cheaper than their professional equivalent. I like The Works own brand, Crawford and Black,   of student-grade painting and drawing materials - prices start from just 50p. MyVoucherCodes often have discount codes available too, so be sure to check them out. 

Graffiti of recycling symbol

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Reuse and recycle

It might seem obvious but reusing items where you can will save money. A great example is reusing any canvases that you may have. Or picking up used canvases from charity shops. Painting over the existing art with your own is pretty satisfying! 

Save containers for mixing paints and washing brushes. Or use them to store materials. Remember in primary school how valuable yoghurt pots were? Well, they still are. 

If you are a mixed media artist, it’s always worth saving interesting containers or textured materials for future projects too. It’s not hoarding…it’s getting creative! 

Invest in a tube wringer!

A must for painters! A tube wringer ensures you get every last ounce of paint from the tube. Throwing away a tube of paint without using a tube wringer can leave up to 20% of the contents in the tube when it’s thrown away. 

Regular painters will notice buying less paint and saving some money. Tube wringers are inexpensive and available from art shops or Amazon. It’s worth noting that tube wringers can be used for any products in tubes, like crafting clue for example.  

Choose preloved materials

Opting for preloved art materials isn’t just a sustainable option, it’s a money-saving option too. And the great thing is, they are pretty easy to come by. 

Look out for local carboot sales for the ultimate bargains. It’s a great place to find the materials from unfinished art projects and short-term hobbies. I managed to pick up a pack of 6 blank canvases for just £4 at my local car boot sale. Don’t forget to mooch around charity shops too. 

When shopping online, there are so many options when looking for arts and crafts items. Etsy, eBay, Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree are all worth browsing.  

Paintbrushes in jars in art studio

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Stay organised!

I know, it might seem obvious but keeping your art materials organised is important. Not only are they then easy to find but you can keep track of what you have. I’ve replaced many ‘lost’ items only to find them a few weeks later! 

Whether you work at the kitchen table or you are lucky enough to have your own workshop, it’s worth keeping an inventory of all your materials. Shops like Hobbycraft have great storage solutions designed especially for arts and crafts that are worth investing in.  

Be sale savvy

When we hit the sales it’s often to grab a fashion or tech bargain. But there are loads of deals available on art materials throughout the year. Amazon has super discounts on Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday that shouldn’t be missed. 

Even regular stationers like Rymans and WH Smith are loaded with reduced art materials during the sale, not just good-value stationery

Sarah-Jane Outten

Hi, I’m SJ. I’m an editor and content executive here at MyVoucherCodes. I started my journey here as a deals expert which gave me the skills to become a money-saving expert. You can find my tips and recommendations in various publications including The Sun, The Mirror, and The Telegraph.

I gained a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing in 2018, and I’ve put my writing skills into many projects since then. My portfolio at includes my work with Cardiff Times, Buzz Magazine and more. 

I write poetry and short stories for pleasure and enjoy getting creative with watercolours and lino printing. I hope that I can merge my love of writing and art into a children's book in the future - watch this space!