Craft projects are a great way to keep kids engaged and creative when away at camp, or just at home looking to make productive use of a slow summer day. Though craft products can easily get out of hand at a moment’s notice if there aren’t some strong organizational solutions and some wise usage rules already in place. You don’t want to wait until there’s glitter flying through the air like mustard gas to start coming up with ways to keep everything tidy in the craft supply room!
Make Sure To Set Up Rules & Reminder Signs
When kids get creative in the craft room they sometimes play a little fast and loose with the rules. Whatever organizational system and craft product rules you set up, make sure that kids are well-aware of them, and post important reminders around the room.
This might include things like a basic orientation session, then posting notes on cupboards and cabinets noting where things are like smocks, drop cloths, paint pallets, craft trays, and scrap paper. Laminated signs stay in good shape in case there’s a spill or a rogue scribble.
Use Adjustable Shelves & Shelf Dividers
Some craft supplies are sloppier and more prone to disorganization than others. Children also have a knack for scrambling things up when they can’t quickly find what they are looking for.
Adjustable shelves in craft cupboards and cabinets let you maximize the available vertical space. They are a great way to maximize the storage area and let you hold more overall weight of supplies in one space to group paint supplies with paint supplies, drawing supplies with drawing supplies, and keeping glitters from spreading to other items.
You can then attach small sign holders to each shelf or divider with a removable Velcro tab. This lets you swap out notes for what is on each shelf and in each space as your supplies change.
Install Drawer Dividers
Craft drawers can easily turn into massive junk drawers in a single day of kid crafting. Especially if you have multiple classes or groups of kids coming and going each day. Simple drawer dividers help you assign tools and loose items their own specific space to keep them from intermingling.
If you happen to have some deep drawers you could also install a sliding drawer in the middle. This lets you pull out two drawers in one to truly maximize the storage potential.
Hang Baskets Under Shelves & Cupboards
Wire baskets are an incredibly popular and convenient way to keep loose items together while keeping them from spreading all over the place. They are especially handy for small tools like glue guns, glue sticks, and scissors.
The wire baskets can be easily installed on drawer sliders to let you pull them out when needed. It also makes it easy for kids to quickly see what’s in each basket before pulling it out. If they need to bring the basket with them to keep tools near their craft station, most basket rails will let you pull them out and put them back in with ease.
Drying racks are one of those often undervalued things in a well-organized craft room. While proper airflow is important for helping the paint to dry, it’s not the only thing to consider when devising a well-organized drying rack.
Take a moment to think about the location. Portable drying racks that can be positioned outside the door or in a hallway where kids and parents can grab projects on their own can help reduce interruptions to groups of kids who are actively using the craft room. This can be done by simply adding casters to the feet of your existing drying rack so it can be wheeled around.
Adjustable shelves can also be very handy for adjusting the drying racks to the projects your students are working on. You can then pull shelves or wire racks out when you want to make more vertical room for things like clay figures, ceramics, and birdhouses. You can just as easily add racks in when you need paintings and ink drawings to lay flat for maximum drying, storage space.
A Hands-Free Soap Station & Paper Towel By The Sink
Kids will inevitably need to wash their hands free of glue, paint, fingerpaint, glitter, clay, and other messy things. A hands-free soap station with a small motion sensor by the sink keeps those supplies from transferring to the actual hand soap making for easier cleanup and fewer headaches trying to remove things like glitter, glue, and paint from the dispenser itself.
This same concept applies to the paper towel dispenser and even the sink faucet itself. Motion sensors that turn them on and off keep kids from messing up the area that is meant to get them clean. It’s also helpful if you will be serving snack time in the craft room and kids need to wash up first before eating.
If you have the luxury of space or you are working with small groups of kids, you might want to consider giving each child their own cubby area. This lets them keep their personal art supplies, smocks, paint shirts, and drying pieces of artwork all in one convenient location. It spares the risk of kids sharing or arguing over who gets to take a turn with art supplies, while also making it easy for each child to find what they want when they want it. It might even help contain the mess if there happens to be a spill.
Collapsible Easels With Storage Built In
Art easels are for much more than just painting on a canvas or artboard. They can also serve as a drying area, display area, and storage space for key supplies. A collapsible easel with telescoping legs and folding sections can break down into a compact package that is easy to move around, and even take with you if students want to work outside or paint a realistic landscape.
Some of the best collapsible easels also have modest storage compartments built into them. This gives students a place to keep some of their favorite brushes, small paint pallets, and other loose supplies where they can find them at a moment’s notice.