As the holidays approach, we begin to see a different type of customer visit our store. Our regular customers are often artists or hobbyists who come to the store looking to make purchases for themselves. However, at this time of the year we find ourselves serving customers who wish to purchase art-related gifts for others. Sometimes we help folks find the perfect art supplies gift and sometimes we help folks that want to use art supplies to make the perfect gift. We also have customers that want to add some holiday sparkle to their decor or DIY their holiday greeting cards, but are unsure of where to get started. We hope this guide will be of assistance to both the gift buyer, the gift maker and the holiday DIYer and decorator.
As a gift-buying customer, you often have a general idea about what you want to purchase. You may be unfamiliar with the art world, or you may be an artist who’s looking to purchase an art-related gift outside of your area of expertise. You may have prepared questions about different products and brands or, as is often the case, you might not know what questions to ask. Rest assured that the staff at Wallack’s are experts in directing you towards buying a gift your friend or loved one will cherish.
So let’s get started!
First, we need to know:
- Who is the gift for? Are they artists, amateurs, hobbyists or newbies?
- What age are they?
- We need to know their interests. What do they like? Is there anything they don’t like?
- Do they have specific talents? Have they expressed a desire to do something new?
- It’s also important that we have an idea of their skill level.
Trends for Holidays 2017
Every year we notice distinct trends in gift buying. As experts in the art industry, we monitor these trends to predict what the hot gifts will be in upcoming seasons. This is what some of our experts are predicting for holiday season 2017.
Unlike standard calligraphy, this type of calligraphy has very art-project-based goals. People write over-sized words using a brush tip or a fine tip pen. The result is a beautiful handwritten script that looks more like signage, because of its large scale. To create this style, we have many different types of markers and a huge range of other products within this medium. There are many online tutorials about learning this technique. Because it’s easy to learn, it’s also accessible to a range of people and skill levels. It’s a great way to introduce younger people to the art of calligraphy. It’s also affordable. You can get all the basics you need for $15.
Here are some calligraphy gift ideas - Click to see even more!
Fountain Pens and Fine Writing Instruments
The other hot calligraphy trend we’re noticing is in the area of fine writing using instruments with real ink. We carry a Lamy brand calligraphy writing pen that has a flat edge on it, so you get variation in the line. These pens fly off the shelves, because they’re high quality quick and easy gifts.
Our fountains pens are one of our biggest sellers over the holidays. Here is a list of the most popular pens and their accessories:
Here are some Fountain Pen and Fine Writing Instrument gift ideas - Click to see even more!
Low Poly Crafts
We carry kits made by a local Ottawa couple. Try to imagine a cross between a puzzle and origami. The end product looks like giant 3D heads or shapes! They come apart in pieces and you fold or glue them all together. They’re bright and colourful and lots of fun. This company has had explosive growth and their popularity has spread across Canada. They have picked up a number of awards, and have recently added a lot to their inventory. There are so many products and shapes that you can choose from, like animal heads and . The end result is really, really nice. You can hang them on a wall, or some of the smaller ones can be placed on a table. They’re meant for anyone over 12 years of age, and are a great way to hunker down and work on a project over the holidays. They’re really neat, really well-received by our customers, and one of our favourite gift ideas.
See all Low Poly Crafts - Click to see even more!
Block Printing and Screen Printing
We think that block printing and screen printing are going to be very popular again this year. We have everything you might need whether you are just getting started or a seasoned pro. Prints can be applied to all sorts of things such as T-shirts, posters, cushions or canvases.
Here are Wallack’s block printing gift ideas - Click to see even more!
Colouring books are the comfort food of the art world. They have been around for a few years and all signs point to them being very popular again this year. Colouring books are suitable for all ages and all talent levels. Given their reasonable price point, they are the perfect gift for office exchanges, to add in with another gift, or to tuck into a stocking.
Here are some trending items at Wallack’s - Click to see even more!
DIY Gift Maker
Have you ever thought of making gifts yourself? This has been a year-over-year growing holiday trend and we expect 2017 to follow suit. Handmade gifts are thoughtful, personal and often the most cherished of all gifts. We can help you get started. Come into the store and we can discuss your ideas, give you money-saving and time-saving hints, supply some pro tips and direct you to the materials you need. Do you want to give handmade gifts, but are drawing a blank? We can help with that too. Paintings, block printing, a favourite poem in calligraphy script...we have ideas about hundreds of gifts that will help you find the inspiration to make something perfect. Starting in November, we start to see customers who are excited to get their creative ideas flowing. The DIY excitement is contagious!
DIY Christmas Cards
Handmade holiday cards were HUGE last year and we have seen signs indicating this year will be no different. We have customers making watercolour cards, printmaking cards, greeting cards, gift tags, a gift of note cards, or just cards in general. We have everything you can think of to make holiday cards and a lot of people come in the store to do just that. Handmade cards are only slightly more expensive than a box of generic holidays cards and they have 100x the impact. It’s a personalized item that can be saved and framed. They’re little artworks and definitely a popular choice.
DIY Holiday Decorations
Love it or hate it, the Internet is an awesome source of holiday decorating ideas. People want to personalize their decor with their own touches. We see so many folks coming in with a photo on their phone and a desire to recreate decorations for their own home. Some just need to be pointed towards the right materials, while others need some expert advice on the best way to put the materials together. Whether you are experienced at making holidays decorations or a first timer, we have all the supplies and expert advice you will ever need. We also have scheduled demonstrations to help and inspire.
Here are some of our trending DIY Supplies to make your own gifts... or let others make theirs - Click to see even more!
Need a gift for an adult?
Adults can be hard to buy for, but Wallack’s has something to suit everyone on your list.
Is the recipient somebody who had a previous interest in art? Are you hoping to reignite their interest? For example, you know they’ve done painting in the past and know they like it, but you’re not sure what to get them. We can help you narrow down the options, so you buy something that logically fits their needs. Continuing with the above example, are they at the stage where they need a table easel or even a floor easel, or is it more appropriate to get them started with a kit? We can help you choose the right gift that fits into their “art” stage.
Do you want to introduce your partner to painting? We recommend acrylic kits for people that are just starting out. Acrylics are the easiest medium to start with, because they are water-based, easy to clean and non-toxic. There are no smells or fumes. We have many different acrylic kits and these kits are definitely the way to initiate someone into the joys of painting. We suggest that hobbyists use acrylics by Golden or Holbein as a great way to begin experimenting.
Are you buying for a more seasoned artist? If so, you need to know their prefered medium. The store is divided into sections. You have the acrylic section, the oil section, watercolour, drafting, calligraphy, brushes. We will guide you to the appropriate section and be available to answer any question you may have.
Regardless of medium or skill level of your gift recipient, we always keep your budget in mind. We know at holiday time that every customer needs to keep within their budget. Once you give us an idea of your budget, we will make sure you get the most out of every dollar. Whether your budget is $300 or $20, we can help you pick out something you will be proud to give.
You can never go wrong with a gift card. Sometimes you just can’t make a decision. Other times, you’re buying for somebody who’s a bit picky (bless their heart). In times like that a Wallack’s gift card is the perfect solution. The best part, if you are in a time crunch, our gift cards can be purchased online and emailed to anyone without having to wait for a plastic card. If you like it to have a physical card, we can ship it to you.
Need a gift for a child?
Start out by telling us a bit about the child. How old are they? Are they taking art classes? Do they prefer painting? Do they like to draw or make crafts? Maybe they are a burgeoning finger painter?
Often parents have a good idea of what project they have in mind. They’re looking for products that are non-toxic. They may want bright and fun rainy day craft ideas with just the right amount of challenge. Easy cleanup is a must. We can meet their creative needs with our customized kits. We stock these really great clear stackable art boxes (art bins) and fill them with items that perfectly suit your child’s age, skill and interests. For example, this holiday season you can get a custom finger painting kit with tempera paint, finger painting pads, some scissors, glue, a few pom poms, googly eyes…just enough to make the rainiest day a little bit brighter.
Scratch and Sketch
This product was really popular last holiday season, so this year we’re bringing back these really cool scratchboard books. They are black on the exterior, but once scratched with a tool, they reveal colours underneath. Kids can scratch in different characters and metallic colours will show through. They come in different themes, such as a flower theme or a monster theme. Reasonably priced, these are a popular add-on to a child’s gift.
Here are popular items for kids - Click to see even more!
Request a Personalized Kit
We build great kits based around what your child loves to do. A colouring kit would include some crayons and a pack of markers, one of our drawing pads, a pair of scissors and some construction paper all neatly tucked into one stackable bin. It’s easy to wrap and put under a tree with a big bow.
You tell us your art or crafts ideas and we’ll help you create the perfect collection of non-toxic and easy to clean supplies for a personalized art kit. Do you need paint? Check! Brushes? Check! Cleaner? Check! We will make sure that you leave Wallack’s with everything you need. You can even tap into memory lane and add some of the craft items you loved as a kid, such as clay, plasticine or big boxes of crayons. This is probably the best way to start out with younger children. If they can sit at a table for 10 to 15 minutes, and hold a crayon or a glue stick, then a personalized art kit might just be the ticket. Once they’ve finished creating, everything goes back in the art bin until the inspiration strikes again. Another great feature of a personalized kit is that they can be replenished or adapted over time.