Part 1: Creating an Art & Craft Space When You Have No Space

March 25, 2011

This post is inspired by one of my readers who asked about creating an art & craft space at home.  There will be to parts to this post.

Part 1: Crating an Art Space

Part 2: Storing Completed Art & Craft

Part 1: Creating an Art Space

I used to be a I-don’t-do-painting Mum.  I found dealing with all the ‘creative mess’ stressful. However, over time, I’ve come to highly value the messy forms of play so I’ve found ways to encourage it in our home while still maintaining some level of organisation.

We don’t have room for a designated art space so I have a mobile craft/activity system I can easily pull out, in entirey, or in sections depending on level of art my children are doing. This takes a lot of pressure off the mess side of things (as you can see, the table below is well used) because everything in my mobile art space is designed for that very thing: creative mess!  I think this a key to enjoying art at home.

My Mobile Art Space

creating an art activity space for kids

1. Useful Box

This is where I keep cardboard boxes, toilet rolls, milk bottle lids and other useful recyclable household items.  I use hobby bin or a large box works well.

the useful box

2. Craft Table

I purchased a fold down table specifically for craft.  This has been a wonderful investment in creativity because I don’t have to worry about paint, glue or any other mess. (As you can see from the picture above, it’s well used).  If the table you are using does need protection, use an old tablecloth, newspaper or butchers paper to cover it. A fold-able table can be purchase at Target, Kmart and Officeworks.

3. Laminator

If you don’t have a laminator machine, I’m telling you to drop everything right now and buy one ;) . Once you have a laminator, you won’t know how you survived without one!  I use the laminator for printable reward charts, posters from magazines, craft, awards, protecting documents, photographs, school projects and special drawings. I’ll be doing a post soon about the different crafts you can do with a laminator. You can pick one up for $30 (like this one).

4. Supply Drawers

I like to keep supplies in drawers so they are compartmentalised. Items such as these:

* Pencils, pens, crayons

* Paint & brushes

* Sticky-tape

* Stapler

* Glue

5. Craft Boxhobby box

The craft box has everything from cookie cutters to activity colouring books. I only use the Useful Box (1) for recycled items so other craft things like paddlepop sticks and pipe cleaners go in the craft box. Ideally, it would be great to keep craft items itemised in a hobby box (like the one I use for my children’s dress-up jewellery, shown right) or separate jars or containers. However, I have found this doesn’t work for my family as there are too many restrictions for my young children, so I keep all crafty things in one craft box.

6. Paper

My daughter does at least 5 drawings…everyday, so I like having paper on hand.  It’s great if you have a designated drawer for paper or you can use a box like I do. This is much easier than trying to get paper out of the packet.

7. Floor cushion

While this is not craft related, our floor cushions have become very much part of our creative space. Our family uses the floor cushions for reading, lounging, watching television, rumbling and even drawing.  I purchased our floor cushions from Strawberry Jam Designs (but I’m not sure they sell them anymore). They are washable and comfortable. Even a few pillow cases sewn together can work well too.

Other Ideas for a fixed art space

My sister uses a great system for her art nook.

1. Use a wire line with clips to hang children’s art work. It looks fantastic, plus the clips are strong so the art stays on the line.    This way, the artwork becomes an attractive feature in the home.

2. Keep art supplies like pens, paint and brushes in hanging tins on the wall.  Supplies are easy to access, neat and organised.  The beauty of this systems is the workspace is kept clear.

creating an art space for kids

1. Ikea Curtain Wire with Clips

2. Ikea Bygel Rail

3. Ikea Kroken Cutlery Caddy

Doing art at home with kids can be so rewarding!  The secret to being relaxed about doing art (for me) was twofold. 

First: use products especially for art.

Second: have a place for everything. 

Whether you are looking to create a fixed art space at home or like me, a mobile one, it’s a worthwhile investment in your child’s development and enjoyment. Plus, {whispering} you really don’t need to paint very often…just keep the painting supplies in the bottom drawer and keep the pencils readily available.

Do you do art at home?

Need more inspiration? Here are some great links:

The Artful Parent: Making Space for Art

The Artful Parent: Art Studio

Childhood101: Sharing Our Kids Art Space

Houzz: Creating Spaces for Children

Cafe Mom Blog: Awesome Art Area for the Kids

Read Part 2: Storing Children’s Art Work

Be A Fun Mum Links

Paper Clip Crafts & Activities

Make a Flower Head Wreath

Creative Kids: Drawing Out and About

A Fairy’s Home or a Pirate Trap

Paper Dolls

3D City Skyline

A Pile of Straws

We Play: Blu Tack

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Natalie from Mummy SmiesNo Gravatar March 25, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Brilliant – I am about to set up a nook for my crew and have been looking for those little curtain wire thingys. Brilliant!

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Kelly Be A Fun MumNo Gravatar March 25, 2011 at 1:31 pm

I know! Isn’t it great!!? And who would have thought about using curtain wire… it really looks SO professional. HA! I’m sure it will add a lot of value to your nook… x

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Naomi EllisNo Gravatar March 25, 2011 at 2:08 pm

We do art at home and the kids love it. I have to be in the mood for it because it makes so much mess. I love the Ikea wire clips – looks like I need a trip to Ikea – so love that place :)

I think I need to create a better space for my cherubs to have fun. You have inspired me. N x

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Kelly Be A Fun MumNo Gravatar March 26, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Yeah, I know what you mean about being in the mood. However, I let my kids draw anytime they like…

I love Ikea too. Such clever systems. Glad to inspire Naomi. Very glad. xx

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BookChookNo Gravatar March 25, 2011 at 2:12 pm

I heard that whisper! I must admit, I like outdoor painting – especially in summer when hosing down kids is part of the fun. But those IKEA caddies are brilliant, and I love your ideas for trying to keep chaos to a minimum. Creativity is so important, and if we can support our kids in it, then we are also helping them succeed in school, and in life.

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Kelly Be A Fun MumNo Gravatar March 26, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Dang! And I thought I said it soft enought ;) Yes, outdoor painting is fantastic…and that is one of the reason why I love using the portable table…I can take it anywhere in the house or yard. I absolutely believe in creativity… For me, it’s the foundation of learning!

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DebbieNo Gravatar March 25, 2011 at 7:51 pm

We have the Ikea cutlery rack & caddies. It has made such a huge difference to our art/craft corner.

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Kelly Be A Fun MumNo Gravatar March 26, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Cool! Becuase we’re renting, we can’t hang things like that on the wall but I’ve always been rather envious of my sister’s. Looks fantastic and works a treat.

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Kylie DNo Gravatar March 25, 2011 at 11:40 pm

We have just set up our art area outside, it is so much easier. My son isn’t really interested in art so I find it really important to have an interesting, enticing art space.

Oh how much I would LOVE an Ikea in Canberra!

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Kelly Be A Fun MumNo Gravatar March 26, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Ikeas should be everywhere LOL. An outside art space sounds perfect! Do you have wood and the like as well?

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BbeingcoolNo Gravatar March 26, 2011 at 8:10 am

Okay …. now I am worried. When did you start reading my mind? Just yesterday, literally yesterday, looked at all our crafting things and thought it needed an overhaul. But, I live in quite a compact house and wondered how to do this. But, thanks to your post, I have some ideas forming…. I am a qualified teacher, but, I do do paint, or play-dough or much glueing – to me, that is what school is for. I can teach my kids the abc and fractions, just let school be about tactile messy stuff *shudder*.

Good onya for another helpful post….

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Kelly Be A Fun MumNo Gravatar March 26, 2011 at 12:32 pm

The telepathy is working baby. My “mobile” art space has been brilliant. I basically have too many children lol…. so we all live on top of eachother…so there’s no option of having a special art space but I really do love to encourage art/craft/creativity so the mobile art space was born… How’s the blog coming along?

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DenyseNo Gravatar March 26, 2011 at 8:16 am

That’s post is definitely a FUN mum one!
You have done a great job balancing the “messy painting” and the “creating craft & art” space & use.
I’m a retired K- 6 teacher/ principal & totally love kids creating but totally hate when I gave to clean up after my own grandkids…so I have a tiled space, plastic table throwoverd ( cheap as chips) and similar “filing systems” for the 3 & 1 year old who stay once a week.
Parents who don’t let the kids play like this are setting the kids up for a more difficult transition to school …. I’ve had some kids start Kinder who had no idea what scissors did, had never help pencils … Because of the “danger & the mess”

Go you!! Look at your simple set up which reaps such benefits!!

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Kelly Be A Fun MumNo Gravatar March 26, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Thanks Denyse! It was important to me to find the balance between the both…and I wanted to because I believe encouraging creativity is so important for children. And you have highlighted some of the reasons why…so thank you. Love having you hre Denyse. I’m off to check out your new blog now.

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Trish @ my little drummersNo Gravatar March 26, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Our fridge is not big enough for 2 busy boys who draw 20 pictures a day lately.EACH.
I found an old stash of computer paper luckily but we get long drawings 3-4 pages long too.
I love the curtain wire idea and the cutlery caddy buckets..
I just started saving empty grocery boxes etc for craft. Saving for a rainy day mega construction.

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Kelly BNo Gravatar March 27, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Sounds very familiar Trish. It’s so hard to find a place for all the art isn’t it?

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MaritaNo Gravatar March 27, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Fantastic. Thank you. We are in the middle of reorganising my girls playroom and I’m in desperate need of some ideas for the craft items.

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Kelly BNo Gravatar March 27, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Oh good. Would love to see it when it’s done.

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KatherineNo Gravatar March 27, 2011 at 9:21 pm

The clips to hang the art is genious. I’m going to be doing the same in my bedroom but with photographs :)

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Kelly Be A Fun MumNo Gravatar March 28, 2011 at 9:59 pm

OH YES! Perfect for photos!

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AndreaNo Gravatar March 28, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Love the Ikea art clip idea. How clever!

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Kelly Be A Fun MumNo Gravatar March 28, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Ikea is full of so many cool ideas! Love that place.

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CaitlinNo Gravatar March 31, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Where have you been all my life!!?

I am the most un-creative person when it comes to craft and similar activities with my kids, this is gold! Thanks!

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Kelly BNo Gravatar March 31, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Nawww, I’m so glad Caitlin!

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CaitlinNo Gravatar March 31, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Your message here

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