art box

November 10th, 2010

Towards the end of fall each year we close up the porch and try to fit all the play that happens out there inside.  Mostly it’s art. We have a big armoire filled with paints and markers and paper and glue and acorns and cottons balls and whatever else could be used to make pictures or sculptures or collages. It’s lovely to have a space where the two big kids can go whenever they have a need to make something, but where the crayon eating baby cannot.

Our house is about 900 square feet, so finding room for anything can be difficult, but art is very important to my kids (and me!) so we have to carve out space every last crayon. Last year I came up with the art box. It’s a wooden wine crate I trash picked filled with art supplies that I store in our closet/office and take down whenever the kids ask.  They can work on the dining room table (conveniently covered in chalkboard cloth) away from curious baby hands. Last year one box was enough, but over the summer it seems the materials we work with has grown.

After much rearranging, the art box has become the art shelf. Everything is organized into wooden boxes and labeled with chalk.  I can take out one thing or everything and the kids can put it all away before I put it back in the closet. I’m planning to swap out things as the year goes on. Do you have any suggestions? Is there any good or unusual art material your kids are into?

On the bottom of the box some awesome kid scrawled in big letters KISS! Alive! and it makes me happy everytime I see it as I take the art box down.  And makes me want to get out my old Kiss tapes.

Posted in kid art, my home.

21 Responses to art box

  1. Kathy says:

    My kids love twist ties and pipe cleaners and are forever creating, displaying, taking apart and re-creating. Even the 15 yr old (I just noticed these out again this weekend, and he frequently gifts them to people). Both kids come home from the grocery store with a pocket full.

  2. Samantha says:

    What a great idea for the art boxes. My kids love the paperclay.

  3. We love pipe cleaners too…and popsicle sticks and googly eyes. Lately we’re putting those silly eyes on everything. I love your wooden boxes. I have only one – a small one I picked up at an estate sale – and I love it.

  4. Helen says:

    I cut up toilet paper rolls to make circls. Then flatten them slightly to make eye-shaped shapes that can be leaves or eyes, etc. Use like a stamp. It’s always really popular.

  5. monica says:

    i am with you and everyone else on the pipe cleaners…i love them.


  6. Islay says:

    Love it! We are accumulating a toddler-version of your art shelf, but I’m reading your post and the comments closely for ideas for when he’s a bit more capable :)

  7. erin says:

    potholder loom and loops. very popular around here five years going…

  8. Lisa says:

    We love scratch foam around here. I haven’t found it at the big craft stores, but our little art store has it and the girls think it is so great.

  9. Becky says:

    LOVE how organized the art box is. Ours is just all jumbled together and anytime I get it organized, she ‘reorganizes’ it the way she wants….

  10. Julie says:

    Wine corks and beer caps… somewhere along the line two separate people gave us big freezer bags full of both… the boys love making cork boats using tooth picks to attach the corks together; and they just have fun sorting, counting and arranging and making pictures with the beer caps…. who needs expensive toys??? Also, my youngest son (6) loves pastels… must be the way they make nice soft lines… I love pastels too…. You can never have too much stuff for artsy creations :)

  11. Julie says:

    Oh, oh…. and buttons too…. there are NEVER enough buttons! For bracelets, softie eyes, necklaces, sorting, counting, gluing… they’re indispensible! …. Okay, enough from me :)

  12. Jessie says:

    My oldest’s favourites seem to be scrap cardboard, felt, glitter glue and foam shapes. (Plus lots of regular glue to stick everything together once she cuts everything up). Oh yes, and paper bags for making puppets.

  13. Marlena says:

    I love this. I also remember when Ellen and I found you trash-picking that armoire and we offered to help you. We were both about 6 months pregnant and someone walked by and said, “What, you asking the pregnant ladies to help you?” It was a lot of fun seeing how it managed to get to your house, and I remember laughing a lot in the process.

  14. We haven’t got a successful art stash for the kids here yet, but your gorgeous photos have inspired me! I’d like to add straws – they’re pretty popular for all sorts of experimental sculptures around here.

  15. We’re short on storage space around here, too – I managed to squeeze out a spare kitchen cupboard for the kids art and homework stuff.

  16. Cricket says:

    It’s nice to know I’m not the only one living with kids in 1000 square feet. Art and sewing take a front seat at our house, so my kids have a 5’x 3′ old wooden preschool table in the living room with a cubby shelf above for crafts and artwork. Their favorite items are consistently pipe cleaners, wikki stix (bendaroos) sticky foam, superfine glitter sculpey and plain old paper.

  17. Crysto says:

    Awesome, I’m an organization fanatic, love how the boxes are organized and even have can’s in them for more tidiness. Love the colour in the closet too!

  18. Holly says:

    I love the simplicity of this approach. Also, my boy is so into KIss. My husband gave me a new turntable last year so we hauled my entire record collection–plus that of my much older brother–and Kiss made it into rotation mostly because Julian was interested in the images of the band–and now he loves to rock out to Kiss.

  19. This is such a gorgeous post! Beautiful organisation in beautiful boxes to make beautiful things, what could be more wonderful? :)

  20. dilla says:

    I know this post is about the art box but I’m in love with the boxes. So wish I can find them here.

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