Smart Art for Picky Moms

If I had $1 for every time I Googled or Pinterested (is that a word?) “creative ways to display kids’ art” I would have enough money to build an art studio on the back of my house. But since I’ve been searching furiously for free, I have to make do with my formal dining room. I wanted my daughter to have a nice space to be creative, with lots of handy tools, and the wall space to see her creations proudly displayed. But because this is the first room you see when you walk into my house, I also didn’t want it sticking out like a sore (and messy) thumb. I’m happy to report that I think I have finally accomplished all of those goals!

The first step in any great art space is, of course, IKEA! I wanted a big multi-function table in our creative space that could be used for building legos or doing puzzles in addition to being a great art spot. I chose the large version of the IKEA LACK coffee table because it is low to the ground and has a great shelf for baskets (yay storage!). Like most other IKEA items, it’s very affordable so I don’t feel bad if it gets paint stains or glue blobs. If you have less space, there is a smaller version of the LACK. The LATT children’s table and 2 chairs is also a great option (we use the chairs from the LATT with our LACK table). There are also some amazing LATT hacks to make it more personalized. Both the smaller LACK and the LATT set are only $24.99!

The piece de resistance in our art space is the IKEA RASKOG Utility Cart. To be honest, I want one of these in every room of my house. It’s fun and functional and portable! I’m pretty much obsessed with this thing. Ours is filled to the brim with semi-organized art tools. So what’s in it, you ask? On the top shelf, there are goodies like crayons, markers, pipe cleaners, a hot glue gun and glue sticks, paint, googly eyes, scissors, tape, and more. I buy metal pails from the dollar spot at Target and found some small, stackable storage boxes at Jo-Ann. Another great thing about this cart is that it’s metal which means magnet storage can stick on the side. I found this magnetic file folder which is perfect for holding coloring books. The second shelf holds coloring books that are too wide for the magnetic file and a storage bin for loose parts like empty paper towel or toilet paper rolls, sticker sheets, etc. The bottom shelf has a basket with blank sheets of paper (I need a better paper storage solution) and a divided storage container from Jo-Ann. I keep things like beads, elastic, mini baggies, and other small tools organized in the divided container. 

If you need ideas for tools and supplies, my favorite “creative kids” resource is “The Artful Parent” blog. Jean Van’t Hul is some kind of creative mommy goddess, the likes of which I can only aspire to be. She has a couple of lists that I highly recommend to help you get started with supplies. The 25 Best Kids’ Art Materials and The Best Kids Art Tools for a Successful Experience are permanently bookmarked on my computer. 

Once your little Picasso starts creating her works of art, you’ll definitely want to hang them proudly. But not somewhere too obvious, amiright? I considered about 739 different options for displaying art work: a fancy cable system, hanging clipboards, empty frames hung in a collage. Ultimately, I kept coming back to cork board. Large cork boards are pricey and I needed two, so I decided on an elaborate plan that I found on a blog involving insulation board and cork tiles. Then one day while perusing my local Hobby Lobby, I came across these great (and sturdy) unframed cork boards. I like that they had a beveled edge instead of that standard cheapy looking frame. To top it off, each one was only $12.99, minus a 40% off coupon, of course. I love the way it turned out!

At the end of the day, kids can get by with a coloring book and crayons. But if you’re like me, you want to find a way to incorporate your kids’ creativity with the design style of your home. I’m here to tell you that it can be done! 

How do you store supplies and display your kids’ art?

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