Ah, art class! It's a universal favorite among kids and adults. First of all, it's fun. Kids are encouraged to get messy and work with their hands. Second of all, everyone — even if they're not the next Picasso — has hidden reserves of creativity just waiting to be tapped. In art class, beauty stays firmly in the eye of the beholder. Plus, how often do you get to use clay or paint in math class? Enough said.

As a teacher, you already know how wonderful art is for letting kids express themselves in entirely new ways. But in order to really encourage your students to let loose and have fun, you need to keep your storage closet well-stocked with art supplies. We'll assume you have the expected stuff — crayons, glue sticks, markers and scissors — and focus on fun new equipment that will remind you why you love art class in the first place.

Without further ado, here are the eight categories of classroom art supplies that every teacher needs.

1. Paints and Watercolors

Finger-painting — a word that strikes fear in the hearts of parents everywhere. But you're a teacher! Your art room is built for exciting, messy endeavors. Include tempera, acrylics and watercolors, but leave the oils at home. Younger grades will love mixing primary colors to create a brand-new shade, and older kids will enjoy working with metallics and spray paints. It's also a great time to experiment with unusual brushes!

2. Paper and Printmaking Supplies

Paper and printmaking are two of the oldest art forms in existence. These projects are fun to work on, easy to learn and suitable for a wide range of ages. Block and monotype inks are essentials for older grades, but don't overlook the challenge of origami for the littlest artists. Not sure origami will keep their interest? Try creating intricate paper airplanes instead — just be sure to keep anything that gets thrown in the classroom.

3. Drawing

Drawing looks so easy when you watch a skilled artisan whip up a speedy creation like a caricature. Try to do it yourself — or show your kids how to do it — and it's a little bit harder. Jumpstart their creative juices and invest in "how to draw" guides. Instead of a just-a-little-bit-boring still life, let them create cartoon masterpieces!

4. Ceramics and Clay

What unit does everyone look forward to the most? Ceramics, of course! Keeping a well-stocked closet of supplies such as clay, liquid polymer clay, plaster of Paris and sculpting foam is an absolute must, along with knives, tools, molds, brushes and rolling pins. And if you want to let your students branch out, include a nice selection of glazes, stains, paints and varnishes. Don't forget the pot lifts!

If you're looking for a material that's easy for little hands to grasp and won't dry out quickly, try modeling clay.

5. Small Equipment

Chances are your art room comes equipped with a big, deep sink. As awesome as big sinks are for cleaning up, they're not great for projects such as marbling, making paper or developing prints. Invest in several shallow tubs to use instead! Bonus — you can use the containers to dunk for apples during the fall. Or, use them to make tie-dye prints and clothing.

Another unsung hero is the toaster oven. Perfect for Sculpey Clay classroom creations, you won't have to get time at the kiln or make your students wait for days and days to see finished results.

6. Big Equipment

Remember when you were a kid and you were so excited for your clay project to come back from the mysterious place known as the kiln? It always took forever because the school didn't have a kiln on-site. If you've got the budget, go for it — after all, this is a wish-list, so dream big! And while you're at it, see about securing a screen printer, a vintage printing press and a potting wheel for extra fun projects.

7. Decor

What better way to celebrate your students than with display cases? You can also cover your walls with prints of your own favorite pieces. The combination of professional art pieces and your students' artwork will only enhance the inspiration and excitement inside your classroom!

8. Fabrics and Jewelry

Introduce art from different cultures through fabric dyeing and jewelry-making! These activities are perfect (and fun!) for kids of all ages. Show them how to screen print a t-shirt. Share your favorite techniques for making friendship bracelets. Explore the fun of metalworking together! These are great skills to teach before the holidays for thoughtful gift-giving. Who knows? You may inspire the next generation of t-shirt creators or independent artisan shops!

Sculpey: Your Source for Must-Have Art Supplies for School Teachers Across Age Groups

At Sculpey, we've been sharing our love of crafting with clay for over 50 years. Our oven-ready clays are superb for kids and adults of all ages. Whether you're an actual art teacher, an aspiring one or you simply love working with clay, we can help.

No matter what ages your students are, you’ll find all the must-have art supplies you need to awaken their inner crafter at Sculpey.com. With free shipping on orders of $15 or more, Sculpey supplies are affordable and readily accessible to schools located throughout the United States. Need a little inspirational push? Check out our Design Squad and you'll find tons of fun ideas.

For versatile supplies at affordable prices and inspiration that will help you elevate your students to the next level of crafting, visit Sculpey.com now!