School Supplies – Art on a Shoe String

It is so that time of year again.
Time for school supply shopping. 
At our house, we home schooled for
12 years. School supply shopping was a
never ending venture with so many
educational items on the market.
Eventually our home school career came to
a close and I started looking at school supplies
in a whole different light. 
 Now with the Frankles living in Maine,
school supplies will once again become
a staple in our summers.
Yep! The little Frankles starts Pre-K this year!
Where has the time flown?
She was pretty excited to get herself a new
And while us grown ups shopped,
she managed to slide a couple of her own
choices into my shopping cart unnoticed until
we got home and none of us knew why we
had those things. 
Let’s talk art.
YouTube it if you’d like, you will find
several videos showing the use of hand sanitizer
with gelli plates. 
This is what our Walmart had today for hand sanitizer. Last year in Florida, I was able to get a bottle of glow-in-the-dark to use with my gelli plate.
Talk about cool effects!
The smaller bottle up top is more than enough
for your needs and at $1.98 it is cost
efficient as well. 
 For several years I did a whole lot of traveling.
A lot of time in the air and on the ground,
a lot of hotel rooms and lots of solo nights in front
of the computer watching Netflix while I tangled
under a hotel room lamp.
I needed a sturdy kit to travel with.
One that would withstand baggage handlers
literally throwing the bags on the carts
(I’ve watched them from the airports and from
the planes),
one that was large enough to carry all my needs
but not overly large and take up too much
luggage space.
These little pencils cases are metal, they cost a little
more than the other items you will see in this post,
but I have been using my Hello Kitty box for about
7 years now.
(No, this is not it – this one is new and is currently
located in Walmart on the school supply aisle.)
Well worth the money you will spend on it.
I promise. 
In my Hello Kitty box right now I have:
one circle template, one plastic 6″ ruler,
various index cards, 3.5″ tiles, and bijoux,
one eraser and one pencil sharpener,
one roll of washi tape, one zenstone,
18 various microns, copic multiliners, and 
assorted pens,
3 full size pencils,
4 gel pens, and 2 tortillions. 
It holds a bunch for just $4.97.
You know how much I love dragons!
I couldn’t pass this case up.
 Maybe you don’t travel as much as I did.
Maybe your needs are simpler and you just
want a tangle kit to carry to the sofa with
you each night.This little plastic box is actually 
a bit longer and taller than the metal cases.
Hard, sturdy plastic and it’s just 97¢. 
Don’t underestimate the pencil pouches.
At just 97¢, this hold both pens, pencils,
tiles, ruler, and whatever else flat-ish you
might want it to. 
And a perc is – it fits in a 3 ring binder for
travel if you want.
Or it could totally be a child’s tangle kit. 
Need something solely for pencils?
Or pens? This pencil case is – wait for it –
Apparently a popular number this year in
school supplies.
 I get asked all the time for organizational
tips for your tangle patterns.
There are literally thousands of patterns out there
lurking around. How to save the ones you like best?
There are many, many ways but
here are a few economical ways to organize
up those tangles.
Above you see a brand new size of composition
book available this year.
(I apologize for it being backwards,
but some rocket scientist applied the labels wrong.)
This little book is 7″ x 5″.
It is a great place to draw your step outs for the
patterns you want to keep.
Should you want to use markers for adding some
pops of color here and there –
they will more than likely bleed through these
pages. Easy enough to fix. Take a glue stick
and glue each set of 2 pages together.
Makes your pages thicker to withstand markers.
Yes, you will get the benefit of only half the pages,
but at 67¢ a book – who cares?
And they come in about 5 different colors –
so everyone should be able to find 1 or 5 that
you like!
 These are called something like 
Pop Art Index Card Folders. 
Cute, cute, cute!
Draw those favored tangles on index cards
and store them in this awesome little pouch.
Carry it on the road, in the air,
or just to the couch at night.
 Not as cute, but at roughly half the price,
these little sturdy plastic cases might be
just what you need.
I believe the 2 cases will hold roughly about
the same number of cards.
 Want to keep this organization project affordable?
Use the white graphed index cards and the plain
colored plastic box and you have a tangle
organization system for 100 patterns at $1.36.
 Or live on the wild side and match these color
index cards with the pop art folders for a total of $2.59.
The Frankles endorses this path.
These cute little card files on a ring are
2 1/8″ x 3 5/16″.
You get 75 cards on a ring.
If you need readers like me – 
this might not be the way to go.
But if you like cute, stylish, and easy to carry
this could just be what you want.
For $1.88!
(Yes, I know you can read that in the photo,
but wow! that’s a good price!)
 Need something a little larger for your
tangle organization?
Or to do your Getting Sketchy in each week?
Or to use as an art journal?
Here is a 100 sheet – that means 200 work
surfaces – book at roughly 9″ x 7″.
Just for 50¢.
 Not a whole lot of pretty patterns on the
covers this year, but they do come in several
colors. And though I didn’t get a photo,
they also come in graph paper style.
I sometimes use those for art journals.
Just do the same trick –
glue each set of 2 pages together with a glue stick.
 If you are trying to encourage someone
younger to tangle and want a ‘cool’ way
to do it, check out the Frozen (Anna) comp
books – they had Elsa ones, too – for $1.96.
 Don’t want to miss the Spiderman composition
books. They had several styles. And, if you
haven’t seen that movie yet – 
what is wrong with you?
Get out there and go see it!
Here is another option.
Hard backed book, about 10″ x 8″.
Sorry I have no idea how many pages.
The paper is thicker and sturdier.
I have one from last year that I still
haven’t broken out for use yet. 
It is really nice! 
Great choice for a journal.
 Thinking about adding some affordable
color to your art?
Here is 10 piece marker set for a mere
50¢. You are never going to beat that.
 Here is another 10 count set of markers –
apparently they are preferred by teachers!
Hahaha! I am guessing they are washable,
but I totally didn’t think to look closer.
Sorry. 97¢ – that is still a great price.
 Let’s look at 12 count packs of colored pencils.
And yes, you can shade with just 12 pencils.
You do not need a huge crazy box of colors
unless you feel you need to.
Here is a set at 97¢.
Or you could go with this set of 12 pencils
at 50¢.
 I’ve tried to gear this post towards making
affordable art on a shoe string budget 
and using Walmart as my host of choice.
If you still get a headache from all the choices,
hit the register where they had these cute
little 100 calorie size chocolate bars for 44¢ each.
Gotta love me some Walmart!
When we got home,
Frankles was quick to get to work in 
her art area at our house.
(Think Harry Potter’s cupboard 
under the stairs.)
She’s got a good set up there!
Art on a Shoe String?
But of course!
Hope you found this post helpful,
useful, and most of all –

9 thoughts on “School Supplies – Art on a Shoe String

  1. Thanks Alice, I have not seen the graph index cards either nor the cards on a ring.Just had to say, Walmart is my favorite place to shop for all things for Zentangle…everything from pencils to pouches and containers to stash my never ending supplies for same! Your Granddaughter is adorable and I bet you all are excited to have them there in Maine. I have invested in the small 3-ring binders for my step-outs with a zipper flap to store the endless notecard/index card tangles on the run.Someone on tangle (I think) had a stencil to print for graph or blank sheets for stepouts and I love those. I have filled 2 binders so far! Thanks again for your ideas and creativity.

  2. What a wonderful post – maybe you should have shares in Walmart?? Haha!! (How do you write a Swenglish laugh?) Wonderful to see Frankie so settled & with her own art space – I can really sense your delight in having her with you in Maine finally knowing that it will come together in time with the rest of the little family. Thank you for a romp through the stationery aisles.

  3. Alice, I loved this post, so much information. School supplies are so much fun to shop for. I was delighted that your sweet granddaughter is now living in Maine, how wonderful that your family has followed you. It must make life so much more sweeter.

    • Thanks, diane, glad you could find some useful information here. I try to make a similar post each year at school time – dependent on what is available at the store. Our big Walmart in Florida had 5 double aisles of school supplies. Here in Maine we have one short little aisle. Hahaha! What a difference. We love it here so much and are so thankful our son's family want to move here. Totally their idea. We were shocked when they told us. And elated.

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