Organising the art materials

I think I thought when I first started this blog that the task would be finite. ‘After all!‘ I thought, in what I can see now is an irritatingly chirpy inner monologue, ‘How many corners can there be? I will work around the house, little by little, and then one day – wow! I will realise it’s basically all done.’

Feel free to have a little hollow laugh along with me at the optimism and naivety I displayed.

What I hadn’t quite realised was the interplay of several factors. Firstly, changing needs, both as the girls get bigger, and Oli and I have different things to do. The second is additional STUFF, which despite my best efforts keeps on a-comin’ in and needs somewhere to go. The third is the girls’ unfailing ability to find a place that I have sorted and tidied and organised, and to, well, mess it up again. It’s like a special talent of theirs. I would be proud if it wasn’t so annoying.

Cupboard of drawing materials

So I looked again at my cupboard solution for the drawing materials, and I realised that, yet again, it wasn’t quite working for us. It’s not all bad, though. Plenty of bits are still great. The red office trays are perfect, and my original classifications of ‘paper etc’, ‘colouring books’ and ‘stickers’ are still going strong. (That said, with my newfound fervour for labelling I am suddenly seeing a space where little labels could go…)

Organiser for children's art materialsThis altered shoe organiser is still going strong, too. Although have I replaced the metal hooks with command strips, to avoid scratching the wood? Have I heck.

Art materials caddyThe problem was this little fella. Ah, Pinterest. How you sucked me in and then let me down. I liked many things about this whole ‘muffin tray and Ikea cups caddy’. I like the bright colours. I like the homespin air it gives. But frankly, it wasn’t working out. The magnetic sticky sheets never actually held the cups in place, meaning it all rocked about precariously. The cups are just slightly too roundy to contain the crayons, particularly the big fat ones.

But I think you can’t get too hung up about these things. You win some, you lose some. And we could always use some more cups, and some more muffin trays. So then I was in Ikea, and I saw these. A mini chest of drawers, made from plain birch wood. And I was lingering over them, thinking how much I liked them, but reflecting that I have to stop buying things when I don’t have a clear purpose for them… when suddenly I realised.
“Crayons!” I shouted, holding it aloft triumphantly to a frankly bemused Persephone and a scarcely less bemused husband.
“Crayons. And pencils. And things. It’s perfect. I will spray it yellow.”
Oli’s face took on a wearied but accepting expression. One that I will term his ‘Ikea face’. “I suppose that means we’re buying that, too?”

Mini chest of drawersAnd doesn’t it look splendid? Rosa has suddenly and heart-warmingly got very into drawing and writing, so I needed something that could live on the children’s table in the bay window, where some drawing things could be readily available. I am still, with a newly rampaging nearly-one-year-old, not ready to leave out felt tips, glue, or other exciting craft materials at grabbable level. So this chest contains those things which I judge could only create minimal damage: crayons, pencils, small notebooks, colour pencils, etc.

Chalkboard labelsI went back to my favourite chalkboard labels, and had just as much fun writing on them with the white ‘chalk pen’ as I did last time. Just as before, this means I can easily change them around if I need to move the materials around a bit. I do find something very pleasing about the small ‘fluted’ design on these. I think I like the contrast with the simple letters.

Mini chest for drawing materialsJust as before, I am convincing myself that the labels are in fact VERY EDUCATIONAL as they provide some purposeful reading practice for my reluctant little reader. So you see I am not in fact just buying the labels because I love them. It is a self-sacrificing purchase in the name of Rosa’s education. I hope that’s clear.

And of course above you can also see how I managed to spray almost the entire thing, but clean forgot about the front edges. Ah well. I can’t easily do them now as they need a couple of coats of white primer before the yellow. You live and learn.

An art tableHere it is in situ, being happily ignored by my two ballerinas.Seeing it here along side the Ikea table and chairs I am reminded more than ever how I want to spray paint the chairs a bright colour (orange? Purple?) and paint the table cream, then paint the table-top with blackboard paint. But I fear my attentions are more urgently needed elsewhere.

Now that it’s in place, Rosa can go to the cupboard any time, help herself to paper, and sit down quietly to draw and write any time she wants to. Which I am happy to report that she does, all the time.

On a more theoretical note, it means that she can tidy up all the materials easily at the end of the day…. Erm…I will keep you posted on that one.


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2 Responses to Organising the art materials

  1. Gillian says:

    Oh, the endless sorting and re-sorting that i do in our “craft” cupboard – I don’t think I’ll ever win that fight. This is brilliant. I love the yellow, the little chalkboard labels are perfect (and educational!) and i thought you’d left the front part white on purpose, for contrast. Either way, it looks good. x

  2. oh i love this! you have made that little drawer unit so pretty. will definitely be copying this idea. my husband also has an ikea face x