A New Craft Area for Our Kids (total cost = $0!)

posted by Andrea | 06/20/2018

Over the last 5 years, it has become VERY apparent that crafts (and loads of craft supplies) would be a big part of our lives for quite some time.

Miss Nora is such a crafty little lady — that girl would work on some type of craft project every spare moment if I let her!  She has lots of really great ideas and some sort of crazy ideas… all of which are fairly “messy” in terms of lots of paper scraps to clean up and stuff to put away.

As you can imagine, Nora’s love for crafts has transferred down to the boys, who always want to do whatever Nora does — so we now have 3 avid crafters who all hate putting their craft things away when it’s time to eat (or use the kitchen table for anything other than crafts).

You see, our previous craft storage system was to store ALL our craft supplies in the corner of our dining area — specifically the bottom half of the red hutch and the cute metal caddy.

This storage solution worked very well for our family for almost 5 years… and then it stopped working as well.

With 3 crafty kiddos, it became apparent that we needed more space for them to do crafts and more space to display their beloved artwork. I also wanted to move the craft space away from the kitchen table so we wouldn’t need to pack EVERYTHING up and wipe up the table and chairs before every meal.

Eventually, we’d like to turn the nursery into a big craft zone; but since our nursery is still in use day and night, we opted to turn a corner of the play bedroom upstairs into a craft zone.

It’s not perfect, but the kids LOVE it, and I love that most of their crafty “mess” is out of my kitchen!

As an added bonus, we spent ZERO dollars on this project, only using things we already had — score! 

The little white table and chairs (it has 4 chairs) was already in this room, and the bench was moved from our mudroom after my uncle built us a custom storage bench. I also had a bunch of black storage boxes that fit PERFECTLY in the bench cubbies and are great for organizing little supplies.

Nora’s “Rules for Art”

1. Don’t use too much paper
2. Be Careful
3. Keep body to yourself
4. Listen to the teacher
5. No water
6. Do not break things
7. Read books after you are done
8. Be nice

Oh, and that antique sugar mold… amazing addition to our craft space, right!?! I’ve had it for YEARS and YEARS — just waiting to be stuffed with crayons and markers in a little kids’ craft area.

I had that idea years before Joanna Gaines!  🙂

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My most favorite part of the new craft area (aside from the sugar mold) is the cute little sign I framed for the space — using a matte and frame we already had in the house, of course!

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Now, before you start freaking out about the fact that we allow our 2, 4, and 6, years olds to use scissors and markers unsupervised, let me just assure you that our kids are fairly well behaved when it comes to using craft supplies.

Also, we still keep ALL the painting supplies, gak, and PlayDough in the kitchen storage cabinet for use at the table only.

And yes, I do need to vacuum up tiny scraps of paper every few days — but it seems a small price to pay for the amount of enjoyment they get from this space, and the fact that I don’t need to persuade them and “fight” with them to move their craft stuff every time we’re ready to sit down to eat.

The “mess” is upstairs, I don’t have to look at it in my kitchen all day long, and we can simply pick it up once a day before bed.

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I definitely do NOT think this system would work well for every family or every age child… but the point I hope I make with today’s post is that if something isn’t working for you, for your family, for your home, for your current stage of life, CHANGE IT! 

Don’t complain about the fact that it’s not working.

Don’t continually THINK about how you’d like there to be a change.

Don’t wish for a better way.

Just get up and make the change yourself.

It might not be perfect, you might change you mind again in a few months or years, but you might also surprise yourself with how much you like the change or how much more functional and practical the change is for your home or your life.

I’m certain we will not keep our craft area in this bedroom forever. Eventually, once Clara is old enough to move upstairs, we’ll have a girl’s bedroom and a boy’s bedroom upstairs… and then (as I mentioned above) we’ll hopefully turn the nursery into a dedicated craft space back on the main floor.

By then, the kids will be a little older and even more capable of working on their own. Plus, the nursery has hardwood floors so I don’t need to worry about spills or stains as much!

If you have a space in your home that isn’t functioning well for your current stage of life, start thinking of ways you could change that space, move the space, create a different space, or repurpose another space to better fit your needs.

You might be pleasantly surprised with what you come up with!! 

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Filed under: HomeKids StuffChildrenCraftsOur Farmhouse

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23 comments

  1. Dawn

    06/27/2018

    Hi Andrea,
    I love your blog, I have followed it for a long time and love seeing your family grow and your farmhouse change for your needs! You have great ideas and I love your perspective! We are remodeling a farmhouse room by room too, and raising two little boys in the country, love it!

    I was going to print out your “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart” but I realized it’s not a ready-to-go printable. Would you be willing to share it, or let me know what font you used?

    Thank you so much!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Dawn — I actually purchased that as a print and then framed it — so it’s not downloadable 🙂
    I tried to find where I purchased it from, but it doesn’t look like it’s available anymore — sorry!

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  2. Lori

    06/26/2018

    Andrea- do you purchase your craft supplies mainly at Dollar stores or wherever you see them cheap?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Honestly, I feel like we just acquire them — I don’t know where I purchase them. We get a lot as gifts (it’s one of the main things I ask for at birthdays and Christmas) and some hand-me-down supplies from cousins and friends.
    Other than that, I probably just get them from Meijer or Amazon!

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  3. Mary Ensley

    06/21/2018

    Hi Andrea, we have kids of similar ages. My 6 year old daughter is Laura and has a November birthday like your Nora. We moved into a new house last fall and I was able to turn our front room into our homeschool room which has become the craft room for all intents and purposes. We got a huge table used that is great for entertaining when we have dinner guests. It is so nice to not have to clean up their constant projects before every meal. I just stumbled upon some great kids art frames from Target clearance section. They had a hinged opening so it’s simple to just slip the art inside plus the frame can hold about 20-30 more pieces of art behind a bungee corded storage area.

    https://www.target.com/p/loft-by-umbra-kids-art-display-storage-white/-/A-51067266

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Mary! I’ve seen similar frames to that on Amazon — so cool! I think I might invest in several of those once the kids are a little older — and then let them choose their favorite piece to display each month. Right now, they do 20 drawings a day and it would be impossible to save them all or display them all 🙂

    Good to know the frames are easily available at Target though!

    [Reply]

  4. Rhonda

    06/21/2018

    It seems like I am always re-purposing or cleaning out some area of our home (although that drives my husband nuts when he can’t find something in the place where he expects too).

    One question – what is the tape that you use for the kids to hang their artwork on the wall? Is it a patterned painter’s tape?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    thanks Rhonda 🙂
    The tape is Washi Tape

    [Reply]

  5. ShellyL

    06/20/2018

    “I had that idea long before Joanna Gaines.” Hahaha I absolutely love it and don’t doubt it for a minute! You are very creative. Congratulations on another successful transformation. I love how your house is constantly evolving to fit your family’s current needs.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Shelly! Yes, it is constantly evolving — but it keeps working for us, so that’s the important thing!

    [Reply]

  6. Chris

    06/20/2018

    How fun! What a neat idea.

    [Reply]

  7. Avia

    06/20/2018

    I’ve been meaning to set up a craft area in a different space in our house and I’ve been waiting to have all the “perfect” stuff. This post just gave me a kick in the bootee to just do it! Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh good — glad to give you that little burst of motivation! We definitely didn’t have “perfect” stuff to create our space, but I pulled it together in less than 45 minutes and it’s been well worth my time and effort!

    [Reply]

  8. Summer

    06/20/2018

    I burst out laughing when I read “Just get up and make the change yourself.” Girl, I love how you think! Fabulous use of space once again!

    We continue to change our house to our needs, not even keeping rooms for their ‘purpose.’
    We inherited some furniture last year and my husband wanted this 9 foot couch with TWO 5 foot squared ottomans to head down stairs to build an entertainment room. Well, I asked a bunch of times if he measured it. Yes he did and it would fit. I knew it would never fit, but he so much wanted this to happen! Of course, it did not fit past the hall closet to head down the stairs. He actually asked to remove the closet…. um no. I knew it was both a desire for him but also it was nostalgic. I took and measured the two largest rooms on the main floor and decided we could move our formal dining room and switch it with our current formal living room. It’s sooooooo nontraditional! BUT, it worked beautifully! We can get the entire family on the couch and their friends! Secretly I absolutely LOVE where the dining area is now, so a complete win.

    Also to note, we had to do some ceiling repair work and repainted two bedrooms this fall. We opted to remove everything from the rooms and they were temporarily set up in the ‘old dining room’ space as well. It’s our home, I feel like we should use it for what we need and want, with no concern for what anyone would think visiting our home. We got up and made the changes! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    hahahahahahaha!! so funny about the couch! my sister and her husband actually knocked out a wall in their house JUST so they could get a specific couch to fit down their stairs for an entertainment center 🙂

    [Reply]

    Summer Reply:

    This is hilarious! Makes it even a better story since they actually did it for a couch!

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  9. Rachael

    06/20/2018

    Great idea to put it upstairs! We are going to put ours in our basement but definitely keeping the paints for upstairs use 🙂 Question: Is your kitchen table refinished/painted?

    [Reply]

  10. Jen @ Bookish Fahmily

    06/20/2018

    Nice!

    I’m currently rethinking our crafts/handicrafts storage right now. With older kids, I now want to make things like sewing, fiber crafts, accessible to the older kids as well as higher-end art supplies, like nice watercolors. I wish I had a whole side of a room, but I’ve cleared out a convenient drawer and I’m moving some stuff around.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    [Reply]

  11. JJ

    06/20/2018

    Love it!!! And Norah’s rules are fabulous!!!!

    [Reply]

    JJ Reply:

    *Nora’s

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — yes, I knew what you meant 🙂

    [Reply]

  12. Elizabeth

    06/20/2018

    Awesome! What do you use to stick their art on the wall?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Washi tape!

    [Reply]