colored pencils photo by joe mazza / brave lux

reclaimed art & school supplies in (and near) Chicago

Make art with a big impact and a small footprint.

Explore these resources to reuse, repurpose and recycle art & craft supplies:

colored pencils photo by joe mazza / brave lux
Have art supplies you don’t need? Need art supplies you don’t have? Get to an art supply exchange. (photo by joe mazza / brave lux)

art & design & school supplies

Joe’s garage

animalia project‘s occasional, pop-up art supply exchange for artists, craft-makers, teachers and anyone creating art.  Check our event calendar for upcoming dates.

The Wasteshed

a storefront in Chicago that sells reclaimed art supplies at low prices.  They accept donations, too.  Check out their workshops on mending clothes, making crafts and more.

Zero Landfill Chicago

provides free surplus & outdated architectural and interior design samples for teachers, artists, students and arts educators at semi-annual exchanges in Chicago.  Look for interesting fabric, wallpaper, tile, glass, metal, carpet, laminates and more.  They also have binders, books, matboard and foamcore.

Creative Chicago Reuse Exchange (CCRx)

accepts art supplies, office supplies and other materials, then donates them to Chicago teachers.

Creative Pitch

provides free art supplies to art educators, art therapists and other professionals in need.  They offer graphic design supplies including crayons, pens, paper, paint, brushes, canvas, glue, scissors, rulers, clay and more.  Donations are accepted.  To receive supplies, apply on their website.

Upcycling Colors

collects used art, craft and school supplies and games (and suitcases!) that they clean, sort and distribute to schools and youth groups around the world.  They have several drop off locations in Chicago.

SCARCE

offers a wide range of supplies for schools, including art supplies, paper, furniture and books for teachers and non-profts.  Find out about making donations and how to get materials for your school.  (Located in  in Glen Ellyn.)

architectural materials

ReBuilding Exchange

sells salvaged building materials, large and small, including lumber, windows, drawer pulls, sinks, faucets, mirrors and lots more– in Chicago.  And– they offer classes to help you make your own stuff with wood.

ReStore Chicago

sells donated (often new) building supplies, furniture and appliances– in Chicago.  Sales benefit Habitat for Humanity and their work to build homes in Chicago.

Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse

sells a wide variety of salvaged building materials, including lumber, flooring, windows, plumbing and lots more– in Evanston. They host a series of architecture workshops, too.

Horigan Urban Forest Products

sells wood from the urban forest.  They have lumber salvaged from storm- and insect-damaged trees; species include ash, maple and other trees with beautiful grain.

See More the Sea Lion, made of found materials by Washed Ashore, on display at the Shedd Aquarium. (photo by Susan Ask)

useful things & oddities

Resource Center

has lots of zero waste programs, including a recycling center.  The home of Creative Reuse Warehouse, a resource for finding salvaged art and craft supplies.

Repurposed Materials

sells a constantly changing inventory of industrial leftovers and oddities, including flooring from basketball courts, snowfencing, parachutes, bowling shoe sole rubber, giant brushes and more.  It’s fun to look at their site; they have warehouses in Kankakee and other parts of the country.

Craigslist

provides an online marketplace for people to buy and sell all kinds of things, with digital hubs around the world.

Freecycle

provides an online forum for members to exchange materials for free, with digital communities all over the world.

Thrift Stores

often have great materials for making art.  Check out your local second-hand store!

 

Many of these organizations need volunteers to keep things going.  Maybe you can help them out?

 

Most of these organizations are on facebook, instagram & twitter, too.  They often have more information– and pictures of their latest stock on social media.

recycling information for other materials

For information about recycling in Chicago:

Chicago / Recycle by City 

is the City’s official recycling information page; it’s very helpful and kinda fun.  It includes a useful guide (with good photos of what can be recycled), a quiz for testing your knowledge and more.

Chicago Recycling Coalition

has been working on improving waste disposal options in Chicago for decades.   Explore their resources and get involved.

Earth 911

look up local recycling locations for specific materials.

Terracycle

find options for bulk collection of unusual materials, primarily packing for food and toiletries.

 

You may be surprised to find what can be repurposed.  Whenever disposing of something, check these sites to see if the material is collected for recycling or repurposing.  Ask questions before you deliver or send your materials to find out how they will be used.

 

download this list:  

art supply exchanges in the Chicago region 2018

last updated:  8/15/18