Part 5: Organization
Last night, while my husband assembled our new Ikea art table and storage bookcase, I scrambled to make sense of our growing stash of supplies. For the last week, the kids have been painting and gluing whenever they find a spare moment . I can’t wait to share their excitement over the new set up, with all the glorious room and accessible shelves. Here’s how I organized our supplies!
At the Table
I placed a large basket at the table for supplies they are likely to use everyday (like scissors and crayons) and supplies I’d like to encourage them to use (like modeling beeswax and paper scraps), which might get lots among the wonders on the art shelf. I expect to rotate some of the speciality supplies in this table basket. It’s a fun way to keep things fresh. Otherwise, I kept the table wide-open. I wondered if I will actually make an effort to continually wipe it clean of crayons marks, or if I’ll be happier to let it take on a scribbly, no-bother allure.
The lowest, most accessible shelves host our collection of collage materials, paint brushes, wacky scissors, glue and etc. I stored these supplies in open tins, open baskets or Ikea’s Burken jars. These jars have a push on/off lid, so they’re easy enough for my 2-year-old son to handle. Baby food jars come in handy too, for storing very small supplies like googly eyes. I also repurposed some containers – so get creative! Use neutral-colored containers so the shelf looks organized, rather than overwhelming. Simple colors and glass jars also help the child to see the supplies… not your containers! Be sure that your child can actually see everything, without removing lids.
By the way, that basket of paper shreds in the lower right hand corner is not my idea. My daughter periodically cuts up paper and insists we keep it around. Sometimes the paper scraps become rain or snow (just imagine that mess!). I have hopes that Liam (my younger child) will decide to cut and paste that pile to his liking! Otherwise, it just seems to grow…
In the Middle
Just within my Liam’s reach are the middle shelves. I bought an extra shelf so that I could create a paper storage area. It’s the perfect home for construction paper, copy paper and our huge stack of quality coloring paper higher up. I add my drawings to the construction paper pile so that they can be reused as project materials. The basket at right is our coloring basket with Stockmar stick crayons, our crayon sharpener and crayon shavings (which we save for craftings). I’m hoping my 2-year-old will choose to leave that basket be, so as to protect Aria’s 16 piece stick crayons from getting broken. Liam’s block crayons are in the basket on the table. There was also a spot for a frame of one of our favorite fairy postcards. I’ll have to see that it doesn’t get mistaken for an art supply!
Here I’m storing several baskets of paint and a basket with supplies that Aria will use, just out of Liam’s reach. Then I have some mommy-only access shelves with our Stockmar watercolor painting basket, some ceramic watercolor painting dishes, tissue paper, etc. At the very top, I bought three large Ikea Branas baskets to store extra supplies out of sight. The rest of these baskets were happily given to me by my mother when she discovered my lofty art studio plans. I made use of everything she gave me, because you cannot have enough baskets!
I’d like to Add…
Now that the project is finished, I have discovered a few more things that would improve our set up. We really could use another bookcase to shelf our supplies. I know that our stash is going to grow in the next year, and the shelf is already stocked! I’m going to ask my husband to build a shallow shelf that hooks to the underside of our table on one side. This will allow us to store large items like our coloring pads, wooden watercolor boards, over-sized painting paper, etc.
Our double-sided easel is wonderful! It’s so sturdy and well made. In fact, I think we may have to start offering those at EuphoriaBaby.com soon! Having a paper roll on only one side doesn’t make much sense, though, when I’ll have two children painting at one time. I’d like to add another paper roll set up, and buy some extra paper rolls. The quality of paper in that roll is very, very nice!
And, at Aria’s request, I plan to add an art line on the wall at her level. She’s like to hang her art herself, and it would be handy as a self-serve place for paintings to dry. We can always use more space to display art!
And that’s a wrap! It’s been a blast creating this space for my family. I hope you can garner some helpful tips for making your own artistic space for your child. If you’re looking for ideas of playful, open-ended art projects you can do with your child, definitely see one of my favorite new blogs The Artful Parent. Her blog is quite inspiring! Here is a list of fun activities she’s still working on bringing to life.