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Ask the Craft Expert

Q. What crafting supplies and materials should I keep on hand for impromptu projects?

A.
There are some very basic supplies that you should always have around so when your kids get the crafting bug, you can easily get them going.

The Basics

A large plastic container with a lid is perfect for housing all of your basic craft goodies. Items you should keep inside: plain white drawing paper; a few pads of construction paper; a stash of popular colors of felt and foam sheets; craft paint in black, white and the three primary colors (red, blue and yellow). If you need other colors, you can always mix the paint together yourself.

Other essentials include a small box of crayons, white craft glue, a couple of glue sticks, a pair of scissors, a few paint brushes and a clean household sponge. Keep a stash of paper plates, chenille sticks in different colors, wiggly eyes and craft sticks as well  -- they're the basics you'll need to make some fun and easy crafts.

Expanding Your Craft Box

If you're looking to add items to your basic craft collection, some items you may want to purchase include paint in more extensive colors, Sharpie markers, colored pencils, and some decorative scissors. A collection of cookie cutters can expand the possibilities of your craft projects, while glitter glues, craft jewels, beads and ribbon can certainly jazz things up.

Other handy items include colored toothpicks, pom-poms in different sizes and colors, and tissue paper (saved from birthday and other presents!). A bottle of textile medium turns ordinary craft paint into fabric paint, sealer spray coats all your painted items, and pin backs and magnets are great to have on hand.

Recycled Items

You'll find that a large number of craft projects depend on items you would normally throw in the trash or recycling bin. Save a few tin cans, glass jars and plastic containers for a rainy day. Other handy items include cardboard tubes from bathroom tissue and paper towels, empty egg cartons, potato chip canisters, juice can lids, shoe boxes and flat pieces of cardboard.

Items from Nature

The world around us offers things we can use in our crafting projects. Smooth rocks and pebbles and wonderful to paint and glue on, while shells and sand make great summer projects. You can also collect sticks, twigs and acorns. Just be sure you are not actually picking them from a live plant; only take ones that have fallen from the trees and bushes already.

Keeping a well-stocked craft box doesn't have to mean filling up an entire room with paint and supplies. You can certainly make do with the basics, but I am guessing that once you get started, your collection will begin to grow as you watch your child's creativity flourish!

Amanda Formaro is Kaboose.com's craft expert. An entrepreneurial mother of four children, she and her husband live in sunny Nevada with a houseful of kids, dogs and cats. They enjoy traveling in the RV, swimming, and riding their four wheelers.

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