Acrylic Painting Supplies for Artists on a Budget

If you want to start painting as a side business, your main business or as a hobby but you don't have $500 to spend on ALL new supplies, I can help you out. Here are tips and tricks I've acquired over the years from trial & error and from other artists who know what they're doing.

art supplies and tools

My first tip is to shop for the DEALS! If you're so lucky to live near a Michaels Art Store, you can download their app and the weekly coupons automatically load into the app. There's ALWAYS a 40% off 1 Item coupon in the app, so you really never have to pay full price for anything when you shop there. They also have really good sales on canvases maybe every few months. About 2 months ago, they had a Buy 1, Get 2 Free of any canvas. I basically stole them. 

acrylic painting supplies on a budget

1. Use Mixed Media PaperBefore starting a huge painting, start small! Plan out your painting before hitting the canvas. I've even loved some of my paper works so much that I bought an 11x14 frame and plan to sell them as originals and make them into prints.

2. I love this Palette Paper because it comes as a pad and you can rip it off when you're done, BUT if you don't want to spend the $14, let me blow your mind. Go to Goodwill or any Thrift Store and buy an old ceramic plate or platter for about $1. You can mix your paints on it and if you don't use all the paint in a sitting, cover it with a plastic bag to keep the paint fresh until tomorrow.

3. Liquitex Professional Gesso is a primer and white paint. Use it as both. Also, prime EVERYTHING you paint on TWICE. Even a "pre-primed" canvas needs some extra help, so save yourself headache and the pain of a canvas ripping because it wasn't primed correctly.

4. Do yourself a favor and paint a color wheel. When is the last time you even mixed all of the colors of the rainbow by just using the primaries? Kindergarten? I thought so. After I found Kellee Wynne and watched her color mixing tutorial, I don't feel the need to buy ALL OF THE COLORS (even though I want to so badly). Watch her tutorial here.

5. A set of synthetic paint brushes like these will do the job as long as you keep them in good condition. Build your brush collection slowly. I love an old, worn out brush and I don't spend a lot of money on them because I can be hard on them. I recently found a set of good brushes for $3 at Home Depot on the clearance shelf in the Paint Mixing Area. I use them to varnish my paintings and they're perfect.

6. Do you condition your hair? Then condition your brushes. It makes them so soft and gets the grit off. Get this conditioner for $0.97 or use the little conditioner bottles you steal from hotels.

7. Challenge yourself to just use the primaries (see number 4 again) and maybe a couple of other colors that you can't mix (like the neons or metallics). Golden is used by professionals for a reason. It's heavy body, meaning not transparent, and it's good quality pigment will transfer to the canvas nicely and with a punch. You can get these at Michaels and use your coupons on them!

8. Be a boss and buy a professional grade canvas. These are from Michaels also and they have sales on them often. I've never bought one for full price. They're a 1.5" deep gallery wrap to give you a professional look without needing a frame.