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10 Hacks to keep art making less messy

Oct 22, 2022

One thing that might be keeping you from a full fledged arty-creative home is – the mess. And yes, let’s be honest some art projects (like painting, printmaking, collage -eeek!) can be messy. BUT I’m hear to tell you 10 hacks to keep that mess under control and ENJOY the art making process.

1.      Expect your child to pack up

That’s right. In all my online lessons and school art classes my students (no matter how old) are expected to pack away their supplies. You’ll be surprised how much responsibility kids CAN take for their art supplies when given high expectations and shown how. They CAN rise to the occasion. I always demonstrate how I like the art supplies to be used and put away. The result is that kids begin to know that art time is ‘special’, it is a privledge and art supplies need to be cared for. On the occasion that this doesn’t happen the consequence is “no pack up, no art”.

2.      Art Supplies in one spot

Having one go-to spot for all your art supplies avoids the mad rush to suddenly find ‘glitter’, ‘glue’ or markers from the room on the other side of the house. It’s best to keep your supplies in a box, a drawer or art cady with easy access – this makes pack up seamless with minimal movement around the space too. Checkout these super glamorous ways to arrange your art supplies from Nursery Design Studio.

3.      Set Up you Art Space

We have ONE location where we do art in our house. It’s at the kitchen table, adjacent from the art supply cupboard. You might have a desk, a play room, or a plastic play mat that is the designated ‘art area’. Carpet is not a good option for painting – I recommend a bed sheet or drop cloth to pull out for art time.

4. Use Recyclable materials for painting

Use egg cartons and paper plates as paint palettes. No washing needed, just throw them in the bin straight after the painting is finished. We keep a collection of jars, egg cartons and paper plates for this purpose in our laundry. Other paint palette options? Muffin tin, ice cube tray, cupcake liners, paper cups.

5. Create Outside

This sounds too simple, but the opportunity to paint outside is often missed. I can guarantee if the sun is shinning then your kids will create for longer outside in the fresh air with nature to inspire them. Creating outdoors gives kids more freedom to do bigger art projects while keeping the mess away from the white couch! Kids love painting with catapults, balloons, and anything else that can be thrown at a canvas. Not only is this a great practice in creativity, but any outdoor art is also a good way to get rid of some energy and tension too.

6. Baby Wipes

Keep unscented baby wipes with your craft supplies and use them right away on any spills or stickiness, they work much better than paper towels.

7. Cover the Clothes

Smocks and aprons are your friend! So are hair ties for long hair. In my classroom I wear an oversized lab coat from the sciene department, it covers ALL OF ME. Kids can create with more freedom when they aren’t worried about getting their clothes messy.

8. Wrap it Up

Use kids’ artwork as wrapping paper or gift cards, that way it’s used and appreciated but it’s also not piling up and causing extra mess.

9. Plan & Schedule Art Time

Random art making can sometimes create a flurry of flying through the supply cupboard when you least expect, leaving a mess that didn’t achieve much. It’s great to go with the ‘creative-flow’, but not when it leaves Mumma stressed out. Children (and parents!) thrive on routine, the majority of my Art Club families find scheduling art time (Monday’s after school) a great way to maximize creativity. That way you are prepared, you child is excited about making something, everyone has pent up creativity waiting to explode and the art supplies or project is ready and waiting for magic.

10.      Have a source of quality Lessons

Scrolling through youtube or pintrest for the perfect creative project to grab your child’s attention can waste hours. And honestly, nothing looks as dreamy as pintrest in real life. Selecting a project that is above your child’s ability level or that has dodgy hard-to-follow instructions can leave your child feeling defeated. Having a collection of resources, printables or colouring/activity books makes the art making process at home STRESS FREE and EASY for parents. My Art Bundles or Online Art Club make it easy for kids to select a project they like and draw/painting along with me with easy to follow instructions. It's the one-stop-shop for easy art at home.

 Try these 10 hacks next time to embark on art at home. And if you're looking for some support around injecting more art into your home, I'd love for you to come and join me in the Online Art Club membership. This is where you’ll find a library of video art lessons that are easy to set up AND I teach your child how to pack their supplies away #bonus. Remember There’s no rule that says creativity has to be messy. Once you’re a Art Club member, you’ll find lots of my lessons use the same list of simple art supplies that are easy to pack away and clean up.

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