The ultimate art station for the whole family

Is working on an art project your worst nightmare? Supplies thrown all over the house making it difficult to put together the right supplies? Do you dream of a closed solution?

Having a few creative art supplies on hand at any time can keep that child busy, allowing a beginner artist to develop or an advanced artist to perfect their work. Keep reading to learn about the art station system that has been working for our family (and add your own suggestions in the comments below!).

How to organize a home art station

I’ve tried a million and one systems over the years, but this one defies my kids’ ability to spread art supplies around the house in one smooth minute! We keep this art station nearby to work on creative projects at the kitchen table, or when we do something artistic during our school day at home.

Family organization is always a work in progress, but the system also works for many of our ages. Try it and let me know what you think! What worked? What will you change?

Step 1: Get a 10-compartment wheelchair

This is the biggest cost for this project, but also the most important. You need a good quality 10-drawer trolley. Don’t skimp on this! This stroller will be rolled around and used often so we wanted something that would hold.

I still use the Recollection Cart we bought at Michael’s Craft Stores years ago (with a coupon, of course) and it’s still holding up great! You can order a similar version on Amazon here.

Step 2: Select Container

The shopping cart is the perfect filing system for works of art, but we need a few other tools to put it all together. Since I wanted this art cart to be a colorful and inviting space, I used clearly divided containers to add another layer of organization to the cart. To add our color feature and make the most of the small space we’re using, you’ll want two of these subdivided containers.

In these containers I can hold an extra 100 markers/crayons/crayons or gel pens. Thanks to the dividers, you can even arrange them by rainbow, which makes it even more visually appealing. They also have handles – perfect for small hands.

Other containers I recommend are these small ones. I know they’re adorable, but they also serve a great purpose! You’ll want a set to divide your media drawer, allowing each item to stay in the exact same place in the drawer.

If it has a designated house, the chances of the kids putting it back in its rightful place are greatly increased!

Tip: Make sure you have your cart before ordering to check it fits.

Step 3: Collect art supplies

It’s time to collect art supplies! Chances are you’ve got tons around the house! We rounded up the kids and made them hunt for every art supply in the house. We want all the markers, crayons, crayons, watercolor paints, poms, tube cleaners, ice cream sticks, erasers, rulers…. everything.

We used the dining room table as a sorting station and separated them into piles and sub-heaps according to this list:

  • Writing Supplies – divided into markers, crayons, colored pencils, gel pens, pens/pencils, and others
  • Tools- divided into cutting tools, glue, stencils and other tools
  • Paper – broken down by paper type
  • Books/Kits subdivided by coloring books, drawing books, self-contained kits and others
  • All Things Sticky- subdivided into stickers, decorative tapes, jewelry, googly eyes, foam shapes and others
  • Paint supplies – divided into acrylic, watercolor, brush
  • Everything else- broken down by category

Important step: Go through and dispose of any unused items. Markers without lids, crayons or small colored pencils, torn stickers, coloring books with no longer usable pages, etc.

Now we build our creative station of fun!

Step 4: Build your system

Our goal is that each item has a home of its own, making it easy for kids to use, enjoy, and then put away. I can take a hallelujah!

Prepare writing supplies

Start by placing all of your writing utensils in two divided containers. Based on how many of each subcategory you have, you have a few different ways to approach this.

  • If you have a large number of markers, put them all in a subdivided container, sorting them by color.
  • If you only have a handful in each subcategory, you can make one subcategory per section.
  • Or you can strictly sort by color.

Tip: For younger kids, start with color grading so they don’t have to wonder what’s going to be in certain sections. The subcategories make sense to us, but young children don’t always understand the difference between gel pens and writing pens!

Now place these beautiful colored bins on top of the wheelchair.

Fill the drawers

Next, we will start to put the remaining items in the drawer.

Tip: If you have more supplies that would fit in these drawers, I recommend clearing them out or creating a rear storage bin. The back storage bin is simply a plastic or fabric storage bin/bin used to store any additional art supplies in a more secluded place. Every few months, you can check your art station and refill it from the stock later. Having spare storage allows you to take advantage of any great deals you find throughout the year, without knowing your immediate needs. It also helps children use up the old before seeing the new.

Label the drawers as follows:

  • Tools
  • Paper
  • Idea
  • Sticky
  • Mixed media
  • Paint
  • Masterpiece
  • First request

Compartment 1: Tools– This includes all supplies like scissors, hole punch/paper, stencils, large eraser, ruler and glue

Drawer 2: Paper– This is where you will keep the art papers for the kids to use. You can have a wide variety, either I recommend a large volume sheet of multimedia paper, or for budding artists great, inexpensive works. and easy to find.

Drawer 3: Ideas– This drawer is a spark of imagination. There should be plenty of guided activities in this drawing session so kids can be creative and explore. Think about things like Complete this painting, Reminder of this type of Magazine, step by step drawing instructions, color by number, just add water painting pages etc. There are 3-5 options for each type. operation and store the rest in storage behind the trash can. Too many choices can be overwhelming, and we like to keep it fresh and new by updating/rotating the items in this drawer every 6-8 weeks.

Drawer 4: Self-adhesive Tapes / Stickers / Supplies– This one is pretty straightforward, it will contain washi tape, stickers, sticky back foam shapes, googly eyes, and anything already sticky that can be added to their art. Take advantage of those baby crates in this drawer to make sure it doesn’t become a mess.

Compartment 5: Mixed media supplies– Sort all those odds and end supplies manually and put them in their own homes. Think ponies, popsicle sticks, pom pops, pipe cleaners, feathers, pieces of string or yarn, anything crafty. Give them each their own trash can or drawer space. Note: Some families may need 2 mixed media drawers. Also for high end artists, this drawer will look very different. It can include Indian ink, stamps, pastels, graphite, wooden objects, etc.

Compartment 6: Paints and Brushes– This one is pretty self-explanatory! If you buy paint in bulk or have different brands, it can be helpful to move them all into the same container, similar to this. Use those baby crates for your paintbrushes here. Tip: If you have young children, label this as “Ask First Drawer” as mentioned below.

Compartment 7: Masterpiece Storage– This is where all the masterpieces are finished and are in the process of being perfected after creation. Regularly schedule a time to sit down and peruse this drawer with your artist. Send masterpieces to friends and family, or use one of these ideas to preserve and display them for the family to enjoy!

Compartment 8: Ask first– This drawer is for crafty things that tend to be a bit messy. I like to use the bottom drawer for these items because kids tend not to see anything outside of their direct line of sight. This is the only drawer on the entire cart that they need to ask an adult before using. Depending on your child’s age, this drawer can hold watercolors, glitter, glitter, slime tools, or any other item they should only use with supervision.

As you may have noticed, this leaves you with two drawers for back/spill or other areas you find your family needs. Here are some other options:

  • You may want 2 paper drawers, one for plain paper and one for color and print media.
  • If you have 2-3 children who use the same station frequently, equip a Masterpiece drawer for each child.

Of course flexibility is important in any system. As children grow, their needs can change, so adjust this system as needed!

There you have it, your glorious art cart is ready for your artists!

An example of an art cart

Wish your family a lot of creation together!

Do you have an art station in your home? What do you do to organize art supplies?

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