Welcome to another Wacky Workshop project, creating a fun art space for kids.
Let me assure you, these ideas are very budget-friendly. It’s amazing how many general household items can be used to create beautiful art and to store art and craft supplies.
By avoiding an expensive run to the art store and instead, transforming what you have, you are not only doing a wonderful job of helping the planet, you are also saving money. More importantly, perhaps, you are helping your kids to think imaginatively and creatively.
Anyone who has visited the Wacky Workshops studio can tell you it’s a place of organised chaos. It may not always look that pretty, but everything has its place which means I usually know where to find everything I need.
The cement floor and old tables are covered with stains from the creation of artworks. This provides an atmosphere that encourages creativity without restrictions and concerns that art projects may result in unwanted stains or damage. It’s a place that encourages serious creative focus and you can provide a similar fun art space with these tips.
CREATE A FUN ART SPACE FOR KIDS – THE AREA
When you create a fun art space for kids, the first thing to consider is where you’ll put it. There’s no need to dedicate an entire room to the space. The main requirements are a desk, chair and cupboard or shelves.
These can be placed in the corner of any room but it’s a good idea to be mindful of the floor covering. Carpet and crafts are NOT mates. If you don’t have an available area with easy to wash floors such as a garage or playroom, be sure to cover the immediate area of the art space with a heavy rug or carpet or vinyl squares.
Any desk or table style can be used as long as you are not concerned about what happens to the surface. If you are you could cover the surface with a thick glass piece cut to size, but a different table would probably be a cheaper solution.
Whether you opt for open shelves or a closed cupboard will depend a lot on where your art space is and who else has access to it. If you have smaller children, I highly recommend a cupboard – maybe even lockable – to avoid artwork on walls.
CREATE A FUN ART SPACE FOR KIDS – STORAGE SOLUTIONS
There are countless ways to store art and crafts supplies that cost absolutely nothing.
See-through takeaway containers are wonderful as you can see what’s inside and the secure lids keep everything in place. These are particularly useful for small items such as poms poms, feathers and googly eyes.
Clean tin cans make fabulous pencil and markers holders. They are fun for the kids to decorate as well. These are also a great way to store pipe cleaners and anything else tall enough to stick out of the top of the tin.
Shoe boxes also make great storage containers as they can be stacked on top of each other. You can label the outside so you know what’s inside.
They are also a fantastic way to keep pencils, pens and markers separated if you fill them with cardboard rolls.
Plastic bottles are another fun way to store pencils and markers. Just cut the top off and decorate.
The humble egg carton makes a wonderful tray for tiny bits and pieces.
Cardboard boxes offer wonderful storage solutions. Cut open one side to store art folders and books or lay them on their side for paper storage.
If space is an issue, over the door shoe organisers, the kind with plastic pockets, are a wonderful solution. Though, they are not a great option for those with little kids as tiny hands can reach into the supplies and create a mess.
Of course, all of these things – the tins, shoe boxes, cardboard rolls and egg cartons, can be kept and used to create beautiful arts and crafts – not just for storage.
Tin cans and cardboard rolls can be used to create the bodies of robots, tinmen and even animals.
Shoe boxes are perfect for dioramas and mini puppet theatres. Read How to Make a Magically Magnetised Puppet Theatre
Egg cartons can be transformed into vehicles such as buses and boats or used to create scary Halloween faces.
Of course, the craft project possibilities are also endless with cardboard boxes. They can be transformed into dollhouses, hotels, characters and even Hogwarts School of Magic.
Other free and wonderful supplies for a fun art space include plastic lids, bottle caps, wine corks, bread tags, plastic lids from baby wipes, bubble wrap and paper scraps.
Look at some of the fun projects you can make with these.
ADD SOME NATURE INTO YOUR FUN ART SPACE
There are so many wonderful things you can create using nature’s gifts. Rocks can become pets, games and paperweights. Sticks can be transformed into fairy houses or just painted for a decorative feature. Glue them to a piece of compressed cardboard to make a beautiful heart. Or glue them together to make Christmas decorations.
THINGS TO BUY
Collecting, reusing and reimagining what you already have for arts and crafts supplies will go a long way towards filling your art space. However, there are some things no art space is complete without and they will cost money – but not a lot.
I love art stores and can spend hours browsing in them. However, having guided young students with arts and crafts projects for thirty years, I know it’s not practical to spend a lot of money on expensive supplies.
Kids tend to go through phases of what they enjoy creating and the materials they like to use. You could spend hundreds of dollars on special kits and materials, only to find your child’s interests have changed the next week.
That’s why offering a range of inexpensive choices is crucial. I’ve had students who have started with Wacky Workshops classes only interested in one aspect of arts and crafts – drawing, painting or whatever. Once they gain confidence, they love having choices and trying out new projects and materials. They often discover they have hidden talents.
Also, until young artists gain respect for the cost of equipment and supplies, paying top dollar for paints, paper and paintbrushes only serve to create tension when they don’t care for them properly.
The craft section of most cheap shops will offer everything you need to create a fun art space for kids and it won’t break your budget.
THINGS YOU’LL NEED TO BUY
- Scissors. Please buy child-safe scissors for young kids.
- Paper (remember to hand onto paper scraps – they are wonderful to use in collages)
- Sticky tape
- Glue (glue sticks are great for young kids)
- Pencils, markers, crayons, pens
OPTIONAL BUT HIGHLY RECOMMENDED PURCHASES
- Watercolour pencils – there are so many great things you can do with them and when you add a little water, they’re like portable paints – you can take them anywhere. Most cheap shops with a craft section have them.
- Chalk. Another fun material to draw with
- Pipe cleaners
- Googly eyes
- Pom poms
- Craft sticks
- Paint. If you want to avoid the mess, try buying paint sticks. Washable paint pads are a wonderful choice for tiny tots too.
- Paintbrushes – very handy but, here are 33 Ways to Make Beautiful Art Without a Paintbrush.
ADULT’S ONLY SECTION
The three things I find most useful at Wacky Workshops are not suitable for use by young crafters and artists.
They are a hot glue gun, craft glue and box cutters. I use them constantly and you will be forever grateful you have them too if you find you’re often being asked to help with projects.
These should be stored in an adult’s only area to keep kids safe.
TOP TIPS FOR A FUN ART SPACE
Remember, setting up an art space doesn’t have to be a costly venture. Every time you go to throw something away, consider what else it could be used for.
Bits of broken jewellery, beads and buttons are a wonderful addition to crafts and art collages.
Broken tiles can be transformed into beautiful mosaics.
Old screws make fun stamps.
Old canvasses can be painted over. Thick cardboard, bark and rocks are also great for use as canvasses.
If you feel the collection of recyclables is getting out of hand and taking up too much space, put a limit on how many of each item you’ll save. Perhaps you’ll save five egg cartons and then stop collecting until they have been used.
The main thing is to have a fun and safe art space and where the stress of mess is unlikely to cause tension.
Happy crafting and have a gleeful week, Tamuria