This was an answer I wrote to a post in a Facebook Group. A young lady was having trouble she didn't come up with ideas very often and was having financial difficulty and couldn't afford supplies when she did. Well I could relate since I'm on disability now and have very little extra money at the moment.
Long post: I feel for you I'm on disability now lost everything in one day medical issues, when you only have 5 or 10 dollars a month to buy art supplies if you are lucky it is frustrating. It has forced me to learn to draw which is good and to be more creative. #1 Write all your ideas down in a notebook so you will have it when you are ready. #2 Don't try to do everything which is hard at first because everything is so cool. Figure out what you want to do most then figure out what supplies you need to do it.
I figured out I had to buy smart. Instead of buying stencils I bought a heat tool for 10 or 11 dollars. I cut up my water jugs (like milk cartons) and make stencils. However I like to do experiments too I have made stamps from foam, cardboard boxes, made templates from cereal boxes, I took some pictures last night of them. I'm working on documenting everything so I can add it to my blog. I save brown bags, tissue boxes, other boxes stuff comes in with cutouts for templates. Example if you have a rectangle tissue box and you peel the top off it looks like a balloon. I made a homemade gelli plate.
Get junk mail? Use the clear backs to draw on or to paint on if you can't afford paper. I'm going to make a journal out of envelopes from junk mail. I've watched a lot of videos that use cheap things to make art. I save pictures of peoples art that I really like to help me for inspiration. There are tons of tutorials on YT the one poster is right you can find all sorts of things in your house to use for art, before you throw it away ask is there some way to reuse this. If you can get paint or watercolors, there are cheap oil pastels on Amazon or chalk pastels for 5.00 - 10.00 and under. The crayola brand makes great stuff.
The Dollar Tree usually has 6 paints for a dollar in poster paint and watercolor. I just found out our Dollar store has adult coloring books for 1.00 a piece 32 pages. I'm going tomorrow I have to have help getting in and out of the bathtub so I have a helper. Her trailer just burnt down and she lost everything so we might buy all 6 kinds and split them. You can also type free adult coloring pages in Google and print them off. Color them with crayons or colored pencils from the dollar store then cut them up and add them to a journal.
No journal? Get magazines from friends/library and cut out pictures or use to make a journal. Go to a thrift store and get a big book to use as an art journal get a little paperback book or music book rip the paper out to use as background. Paint around something you like on the mag or book page then use your cut outs from other mags to make scenes. Type in free catalogs in Google and they send them right to your house. No surveys or anything like that. Of course some of them might send you an offer to buy something it's more junk mail to reuse.
Remember some of these people have been doing art for years so they have lots of supplies. I nearly cry watching some of the videos when they have 10-15 pads of pretty paper just laying around and you would love to just have one. Or markers, paint and especially stamps since you can make beautiful art with it if you cannot draw. But you can't let it get you down, the more you can do art the happier you will be. And post your stuff and we will love it!
Although I do not like the situation I'm in I refuse to let it get me down and I chose to look on the bright side that is using my brain to come up with creative ideas to overcome lack of funds.
I've been making so many things (stamps, stencils, etc) which to me is fun and I consider it art I finally just start making journal pages and they look like a 3rd grader did them I don't care I'll get better. Some stuff I thought on my own others I've seen on YouTube. I'm saving every penny so I can buy Inktense Blocks because they appear to give you the most for your money and they are expensive but they last a long time, it may take 4 months to get them but they will be worth it. Hopes this helps reach out any time the folks here are great!. I'm going to collect a few videos that show you how to make something out of nothing, I think we can post them in here. Something to write/draw/color with and something to but it on that's art!
End of post. Cringe I thought I got the few typos in the post I didn't.
I did go to the Dollar Tree it was actually a town over (13 miles) and got 3 color books two floral and a geometric one. On their website they had 6 listed but they did have a few more. I was very surprised the ones I bought were one sided, most are double sided. No worries about ruining your page on the backside because there isn't one. Tip: if you have double sided coloring books and you don't color in order put a piece of wax paper behind the page you are coloring if there is one you have previously colored so it doesn't rub off onto the colored page. That may sound confusing I might have to find a picture of that.
I also went to Goodwill and the big books were expensive, best to go to a smaller thrift store or get a book from the Dollar Store. I do want to go back because I ran out of time. I did find a music book for art journal backgrounds and a blank 1000 list book for a buck a piece. I will explain the list book it's a great idea for helping with inspiration.
So back to the post: I finally took pictures of the homemade stamps I have made. I was working so hard on my ex-husband present I finished it and gave it to him and forgot to take a picture. I cannot believe I did that, now I have to track it down take a picture and post. Now I can also get back to my cards for the grand babies and my art challenges. Plus I came up with a great way to make backgrounds with the Crayola Slick Stix.
I plan to expand on this post and upload my pictures give me a couple days. I reviewed a couple products and I have to finish writing my reviews.