Posted by: ad65shorty | June 1, 2009

Art Station

My kids love to craft. They love to create. They love to explore. They love to make a mess. And I do, too. My favorite time of day is when they’re being creative with me.

There are times though when I’m busy doing other stuff and can’t create with them so I feel it’s important that they can help themselves independently. Plus, it’s important for their development to not have things so “structured.”

Here are some things that work for me. I don’t have a lot of money to spend on decorating so my ideas are cheap but functional.

part of our art station

part of our art station--note the construction paper on the left side

I think it’s important that everything is accessible. My supplies are located in a low cupboard and bookshelf. The things I don’t want my children to play with independently, like paint, are put up high (with a “no-touch” rule). Art easels are also another great way to store art supplies in a tidy way.

Speaking of easels: I love having an easel out constantly in a corner or in a bedroom, where it will get used. For less mess, put a sheet, carpet remnent, or shower curtain liner below it. Ours has a side for painting and a side for chalk. The chalk always got too messy, and we had some neighbor kids destroy it so we use that side for painting and drawing, too. I always try to have paper on hand, as well as crayons and colored pencils. The markers and paint are only pulled out when Mom can supervise.

I love to store my items in plastic totes with lids. Cheap and durable, and they stack well. I grouped mine according to similar objects with labels on the front (and if I’d been really smart, would have put a picture with each label). They fit nicely on a bookshelf, and your children can pull one out at a time to find exactly what they need. I’ve heard of people using those shoe holders you hang over a door to organize, too.

We don’t have the luxury of having a child-size table, but I think that would be ideal, too.

Items to put in your art station:

paper–all sizes and colors and textures (I keep a “scrapbox.” Any papers that are used but still a good-size go in there. Small scraps go in the trash/recycling bin. The kids can then re-use these without wasting a whole sheet.) I also like having a big roll of butcher paper for murals (you can buy these cheap at IKEA).

glue–it’s a must to have both sticks and white, although our Elmer’s is put away

scissors–kid friendly, but I also throw my old scrapbooking scissors in, too

crayons, markers, colored pencils

paint–poster, finger, and watercolors (I always have old t-shirts on hand for smocks–too cheap to buy real ones)

playdough–I like homemade playdough. It lasts longer, is softer, and doesn’t crumble.

coloring books/magazines


paper bags, TP rolls, egg cartons, coffee filters, straws

stamps and pads

cotton balls

sponges in various shapes




pipe cleaners–variety of colors

whiteboards and markers


hole puncher


items for rubbings

cookie cutters–great for playdough and for stenciling

stencils or other items for tracing

popsicle sticks in various sizes


googly eyes

shaving cream

noodles, beans, popcorn seeds

I also keep wooden figures around for them to paint, but only pull those out occasionally.

What did I forget?!


Here is a good website I found about organizing your kids art supplies. It may give you some more ideas, too:


What do you do to stay organized?! What supplies do you have on-hand? And how does crafting work in your home?!


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