“Must Have” Items for Creating Process Art

By Backyartists

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Must-Have Process Art Materials


Fall is approaching and you’re probably planning to restock your art supply cabinet to refresh things. Keep reading as we share some of our favorite materials and supplies for getting started to create process art in your classroom or at home. We’ve divided our favorite picks into three categories: store bought; upcycled or found materials; and useful containers for storing and presenting supplies.


Store Bought Art Materials:

  1. Tempera Paint - paint is so versatile and a classroom staple. We LOVE Becker’s Artful Goods paint. It’s non-toxic, washable, and the colors are vibrant. Looking to spread your dollar further? Buy the primary colors and mix them to create secondary colors.

  2. Liquid Watercolors - liquid watercolors are perfect to use for painting, but also for coloring homemade play dough, rice, and other sensory materials. Add water to help these concentrated colors go further.

  3. Construction Paper and Tagboard - colorful and white construction paper make a great base for a variety of art projects: drawing, painting, gluing, cutting, ripping, and so much more. We often use tagboard for those times when we need a sturdier base for projects gluing heavier loose parts, using lots of paint, or for creating upcycled materials sculptures.

  4. Colorful Tape - we love providing colorful tape as a way for children to attach materials together, create tape roads on tables or floors, or practice scissor skills. Check out this fun tape art project!

  5. Variety of Paint Brushes - paint brushes in a variety of sizes are so useful. Younger children are often more successful with large brushes, but older children may want a variety of sizes for painting different materials and adding details. Becker’s also sells cool floppy brushes and fabric brushes for when you want to provide a different painting experience for your children.

  6. White Glue - of course glue can be used for creating collages and gluing pieces together, but it’s also fun to mix with paint or shaving cream to create sticky and puffy paint textures. We love buying glue in gallon jugs so that it can be used for a variety of projects and in multiple ways. You also get more for your money that way!

  7. Modeling Dough - modeling dough is perfect for sensory play and building those fine motor skills with small hand muscles, so you’ll probably want to have a good supply on hand. We love having it in a variety of colors but sometimes offer only one color at a time. Try using the loose parts listed below as manipulatives with your dough. Dough can be store bought or homemade - there are a variety of recipes which can be found online.

  8. Loose Parts - we find it helpful to have a variety of loose parts on hand to use with modeling dough or with other types of art projects. Some of our favorites include wiggle eyes, pom poms, chenille stems (can be whole or cut into smaller pieces), feathers, beads, shells, and buttons.


Upcycled or Found Materials:

Raiding the recycling bin is one of the best ways to find unique and interesting materials to use sculptures, collages, and play. Objects such as empty egg cartons, pouch tops, toilet paper, or paper towel tubes, bubble wrap, berry containers, and yogurt cups and lids can be fun and useful additions to your art area. We often use bubble wrap and cardboard tubes for printmaking projects, yogurt containers as water cups for paint brushes, and yogurt lids for paint palettes. Egg cartons and berry containers are perfect for sorting loose parts but can also be used in sculpture building.


Spending time outdoors in the later summer and early fall? Collect useful materials such as pinecones, acorns, shells, rocks, and small sticks. Natural materials make perfect collage supplies, loose parts for imaginative play, or additions to your sensory table or bin.


Useful Containers:

Time and time again, we find ourselves reaching for containers with more than one function, such as ice cube trays and muffin tins. These types of trays are great for using when sorting objects, mixing colors of paint, or for freezing objects in ice to melt later. Trays can be bought at the Dollar Store and Becker’s sells trays specifically for this purpose.


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Looking for ways to contain the mess that inevitably comes with process art? Check out our blog post and read all about it!


We hope you’ve been inspired to restock your art space in your classroom or at home!

Rachel and Nicole of Backyartists


With over 30 years of combined teaching experience between them, early childhood educators Nicole Werther and Rachel Miller know just how to keep your young children engaged—let them take the lead! Their small business, Backyartists, encourages creative thinking and discovery through the magic of process art and sensory play.

Rachel and Nicole are Becker's Creative Arts Content Advisors and have used their knowledge of process art to create resources, such as blog posts and activity ideas, to inspire teachers and parents when planning projects with the Artful Goods materials.

They also offer playgroups and classes in the Boston area. Check out Backyartists.com for the most up to date offerings.