Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Messy Art Table

Our art table is always a mess! I love to give my kids access to their art supplies, but we need a better way to organize them so that clean-up isn't such a chore.

Here is a brief overview of our basic materials:

LOTS of paper, different sizes
Paint - watercolor palettes, powdered tempera, poster paint, finger paint
Colored Pencils
Stamps and ink pads
writing paper
fat writing pencils
paper punches
paint applicators

How do you organize your materials? Do you limit child access to them? What works for you?


  1. Go to "I'm an organizing junkie" for great examples of containerizing!! Grouping things together in a basket or plastic container and labeling it. A picture for non-readers will help it stay neat.

  2. We keep all of our coloring utensils (pencils, makers, crayons) as well as scisors and glue on top of our art table. In the drawer we have A LOT of different paper to cut and color on. I haven't gotten brave enough to leave the paint out at the table, but paint brushes and applicators are also in the drawer!

  3. We keep markers, scissors, glue sticks, etc. in a utensil basket ( a handled wicker basket with 3 small sections for utensils & one larger section for napkins/paper plates).

  4. cut off their hands-seriously, there is no good way to do it. I have tried everything and we, too, have all day access to the art table b/c I think it's important. I have made it SO EASY to clean up/organize and yet they do not do it w/o being prodded/yelled at/gentlyish reminded a million times b/c they are messy little disobedient angels :) But when I can convince them to clean it up, they do know where things are supposed to go at least :) I just used clear glass mason jars all in the same size (obtained on freecycle so, free!) for pens, pencils, paintbrushes, and scissors, a medium galvanized bucket for crayons and a plastic Sterilite ice bin (for the DIY ice tray kind of ice)to put all the markers in. I also have a little Sterilite 3 drawer tiny desktop thing to contain stickers, glue sticks, stamps, small stencils. Under the table is a box w/ loose paper, a large drawer for "random" supplies (paint, large stencils,paint smocks,etc) and then we added a shelf between the table legs (it is up against a wall so they use the long side of the table and the shelf doesn't interfere) and on that shelf we have 3 dollar-tree baskets for coloring books, writing tablets, and art activity books. Hope that helps a little, but remember the tiny little messies will fight you!!! Must not let them win!! :)

  5. So many great ideas! I feel inspired! There may be a "before and after" post coming soon!


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