I saw this today. "Resourcefulness" is definitely a word that characterizes Art teachers!
Do I want some coffee cans? Sure!
Can I use old calendars? Definitely.
I had enough money in my budget for supplies this year, but I know it's going to get worse. That's why I am stocking up and trying to think of as many projects as I can that use donated or recycled materials.
I now have quite the stash of cardboard tubes, old CD's, and 1980's computer paper. I am planning to use the tubes for cardboard sculptures with my 4-6 students next fall and make Totem poles sometime this spring. I haven't decided what to use the CD's for, there are so many possibilities! I love to get boxes of old computer paper. The paper is great for free draw if a student finishes early. (Free because the student can draw whatever s/he wants and free because it doesn't affect my budget!)
To get materials, I sent out an email to the staff, put a note in the newsletter that goes home to parents, and posted a list of desired supplies on my classroom page. I am always finding toilet paper tubes, etc. in my mailbox or on my desk and have teachers and parents asking me if I can use whatever it is that they have. I don't think I have turned anything down! I also asked the custodians at my school to save paper towel rolls for me. When the paper towels get close to the end of the roll, a new roll is switched out. I will put partial rolls at tables when we are painting and then save the tubes.
I know that others are interested in recycled projects and I think it would be WONDERFUL if we could compile a list of ideas! If you have an idea for a great recycled project or some other free/recycled materials that you have found a use for, please share it!