Perhaps some local companies would be willing to make donations or even small grants if your creations somehow support them . Also, wherever parents work, there are throwaways. Sometimes they are pretty darn cool - I have a full box "Fecal Occult Blood Test" (don't think too hard) which translates in the art room to skinny popsicle sticks. A visiting artist came once and brought along lots of watercolor and watercolor paper - he had contacted a company who donated a classroom set. We stretched that set to 3 classrooms over 2 years. Grocery stores have donated styro trays for printing. I got a great stack of misprinted invitations from a printer - used the back of them..... Also, ask for all supplies that students and teachers are throwing away in anticipation of next year. Don't forget garage sales.
My coolest project was a Shekere http://www.drums.org/djembefaq/v8b.htm#covering made of throw-away plastic drink bottles, string found at garage sales and beads from one of those beaded car seatpads from a couple of years ago. I sprang for some colored beads, too. The kids loved them.
From: Colette C [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, May 16, 2003 11:04 AM
To: ArtsEdNet Talk
Subject: MS budget $100 for year
I was recently told that my budget for supplies will probably be about $100
for next year. This is for 6, 7th and 8th grade. About 120 students a day
every day all year.