Kid’s Craft Organization

I had way too much fun with the organization for this post.  I had a 3 drawer plastic drawer system where I kept all of the kid’s crafts in addition to a couple of small plastic bins for the overflow. It was a good system, it was an effective system, it was a small system. The problem was that, as my older son got, well, older, he used a bigger variety of craft supplies. And now I have a 1 year old who is also capable of scribbling, flinging finger paint and lovingly tearing up every piece of paper I give him. So now I need more supplies….and a bigger place to put them. Well friends, I have found the perfect place. Who remembers when I did a 15 Minute organization on my den cabinet? The bottom half of the cabinet ended up empty and was just waiting for the perfect organizational project. I moved the CD cases elsewhere and freed up the whole cabinet for my new Craft Storage System!

I knew I wanted a good way to store construction paper so that I could easily grab any color I wanted for the kids. I also wanted the kids to be able to reach it. Before, a search for one piece of construction paper resulted in a giant rainbow mound of paper on my floor. Enter the office organizer…

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I was a little giddy when I realized that we had this organizer in our office and it was currently empty, awaiting it’s organizational life mission. So I spent a ridiculous amount of time separating our construction paper by color and ta-dah!

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I put this on the top shelf of the den cabinet and used the bottom of the cabinet to stack several craft items, such as a travel craft case, a box of stamps and ink, and a large markers set.

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I purposely left space in this cabinet for future craft kits that I know will magically appear in our house.

I still had a million other craft items though and needed a place for them. I decided to use the original 3 drawer storage system for 3 categories: Paint, Coloring Books and Play-Doh. It’s amazing how Play-doh seems to breed when you’re not looking and suddenly you have a litter of little Play-Doh containers.

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I had also acquired a collection of craft idea books and seasonal craft papers, along with sticker sheets and scraps of construction paper, which I know I’ll absolutely use so I can’t throw them away, right?  I needed to organize these and I shopped my home office once again. I had a small file box that wasn’t being used effectively so it became home to all of these loose papers. I also busted out a few of my favorite organizing tools…file folders, my labeler, and some pretty decorative tape.

Kid's Craft Organization (6)After a little labeling, here is what I came up with:

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The first section is for craft books, then I have a folder for each major holiday that we do crafts for. Keep in mind, this is different than my Holiday Organizing books that I made for Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Halloween. Those books include some craft ideas and photos, but the craft folders pictured here are for coloring pages, holiday cutouts and the actual items needed for the crafts. I also have a folder for sticker sheets and another folder for the construction paper scraps.

By the way, I know I’ve mentioned my little ‘helpers’ before, but I just had to share a photo illustrating how I usually organize around my house.

Kid's Craft Organization (5)It’s not easy, but it’s fun!

Anyways….I wanted a good way to organize all of the little craft supplies that end up tangled in a giant crafty mess. I have 4 clear storage boxes which I grouped items into and labeled the boxes.

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I also had a storage ottoman that was underutilized, but so very cute.

Kid's Craft Organization (10)And it just so happens that the storage boxes I had fit upright in the ottoman.

Kid's Craft Organization (11)So now I have all of our craft supplies perfectly organized and there is even room for more! I’m so excited to have this project done and to be able to craft without drowning in a pile of felt and googly eyes. 🙂 And my favorite part is the construction paper!

Construction Paper Holder - B&Y

~Erin

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Cute Valentine’s Craft and Art Organizing Tips!

When I was helping my mother-in-law clean out the Playroom Closet in her house, we came across the cutest little Valentine’s craft called the ‘Lovebug.’ Here is the one we found:

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I actually have no idea if this was made by my husband or if it was one of his siblings, but I loved the idea. Soooo…I stole it for my own kids.

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It’s so simple and we already had all of the supplies, so that made it even better! Just a Popsicle stick, construction paper, pipe cleaners and crayons. Easy!

I am constantly trying to find new ways to store and organize photos and art projects so that they don’t take over my house. I do have a scrapbook for the kids crafts, but since Evan started preschool a couple of weeks ago, I know the sheer volume of felt, crayon drawings and tissue paper animals will soon overwhelm me.

I take pictures of the kid’s crafts whether I decide to keep the actual craft or not. That way I always have a record of them. For my husband’s birthday last week, I gave him a framed collage print of my favorite of Evan’s art from 2012. Here is what it looks like:

Evan's Art - 2012We are going to do a new one every year for both of the kids. When the frames get to be too much, we will just put the 8″ x 10″ prints in a photo album. And of course, I will always have the files on my computer too.

I love to have some of the actual crafts, so I will keep on doing my scrapbook for my favorite pieces. However, I try to keep the paper in our house to a minimum, so I’m hopping on board the technology train to help me wrangle in some of the paper clutter. Scanning, JPEGs, and collage prints are some of my very favorite ways to preserve memories.

How do you preserve your family’s memories but also contain the paper clutter?

~Erin

 

Kid’s Magnet Board

I finally finished a project that was way too long in the making. It actually went through several concepts and incarnations before I got to the final product. I wanted to make a magnet board for the kids that I could keep in the ‘monkey cave’ in their room.  I’ll go into more detail on monkey cave another day, but basically it is a second closet in their room that we converted into a little play area for them.

The first magnet board concept was a board painted with magnetic paint. I went to Home Depot and they actually had 2′ x 4′ sheets of craft wood that was thin, durable and fairly smooth. They cut it into two 2′ x 2′ squares for me and I painted them with magnetic paint.

I did two coats of the magnetic paint with a small roller. Once that had dried, I painted 2 thin layers of paint I had used for my pantry. I used as little paint as possible for this part because the magnetic paint loses some of its’ magnetic properties under too many layers of latex paint. My plan was to add some decorative trim around the edges and have a cute and finished looking magnet board. Before I was able to complete that step, I came across this at a yard sale:

It’s a large cabinet door front that was just begging to be up-cycled into something fun. I actually got 3 cabinet door fronts in different sizes and I have no idea what the other 2 will turn into yet. Pretty much as soon as I got home from the yard sale, I took the hardware off of one and sanded the door front.

After that, I applied a couple of layers of Kilz primer. Now learn from me here, people. I did NOT stir the primer as well as I should have and when I first started applying it, it looked like I had just poured some Elmers glue on there and then topped it with a heavy dose of olive oil. It was completely separated and it was a horrible mess. I let it dry and then tried to re-sand, but it created little bubbles that are still there to this day! Sooooo, stir primer extremely vigorously and then apply thin coats until you get the coverage desired. Also, make sure to allow ample drying time. My patience was tested here and I think I went in a little early with the re-coats!

I painted the trim with some green paint I had left from another project. I forgot to take a photo of this step, so you’ll have to use your imagination. I considered using the magnetic paint again, but decided to try a sheet of metal. I bought a thin piece of metal from Lowe’s and cut it to fit the inside of the cabinet door panel. I used tin snips, which wasn’t easy on a 4′ piece of metal, but we had them around so that’s what I used.

I knew I wanted to cover the metal with fabric before I put it in the ‘frame’ so off to my local fabric store I went. Normally when I go into a store and someone asks me if they can help me find anything, my standard answer is “No, thank you, I’m just looking.”

When I went in the fabric store and the lady asked that question, my answer was….”I need a cotton fabric that won’t wrinkle and is easy to iron, and is fairly thin but not easy to tear and I would like a light color (but not too pastel) and it should have a little bit of a print on it (but not too distracting) and it can’t clash with light green.” Poor lady.

So I went home with my thoroughly searched for fabric. Although I felt all of my requirements above were important the two most important were that it was fairly wrinkle-free and that it was pretty thin. If I had used a thick fabric, the magnets would not stick as well. I ironed my new purchase and then my husband and I glued it around the metal sheet using Liquid Nails. I made sure to pull it taut so that it wouldn’t wrinkle on the front. Then I put a bunch of books on it and left it overnight.

The next day, we glued the fabric covered metal to the inside of the cabinet door and let it sit under books and weights for another 24 hours. Then, finally……A Completed Project!

I love it.And more importantly, the kids love it. I set it in our play room/ guest room for the kids to see it and play with it. When I said I was going to put it in Monkey Cave, you should have seen the meltdown. Evan insisted it had to stay in the playroom. So, the playroom it is. But I kept looking at the lonely Monkey Cave wall where I had envisioned the board. I decided a magnet board was going in there whether Evan liked it or not! So I went back to my original 2′ x 2′ board with magnetic paint. To be honest, I just didn’t have the energy to cut, paint and glue trim around the edges. However, I had recently gone to a teaching store (my new favorite place!) and picked up some monkey paper borders. They didn’t work for my original intended purpose so they were just laying around. I decided to cut them to size and glue them to the edge of the 2′ x 2′ board.

Now I have two equally cute and functional magnet boards in different parts of our house. Are there about a million things I would do differently next time to make the finished product better? Yep. But for now, I’m pretty happy. One more Before & After? Okay!

~Erin

Turkey Box Craft

As an organizer, I’m always looking for ways to maximize the use of things. The other day I found the perfect way to combine two projects. Me and my 3 year old made a fun craft project that was also a game! I mentioned this project in my Collectively Creative post here. I got this idea out of book of Thanksgiving craft ideas that my mother in law gave me. I changed a few things, but I like how it turned out. It was pretty simple but a lot of fun. Here’s what you need:

1 medium size cardboard box and at least 1 tiny helper:

An assortment of construction paper in fall or ‘turkey inspired’ colors:

And glue and scissors. That’s all you need.

First I cut the flaps off of one end of the box. This end will be the ‘bottom’ of the turkey. Then I drew a triangle on one of the bigger sides and cut it out with the scissors. This will be the mouth and you need to make the triangle pretty big.

Then I cut out construction paper shapes for the eyes, beak and weird turkey thing that hangs on their face over their beak. (Not sure what that’s about). I let Evan help me glue them on.

Then I cut out feathers from various pieces of construction paper and glued them to the top of the box. I had actually glued a brown piece of paper to the top of the box first to give me an even surface for the feathers. I also took one of the cardboard flaps I had cut off, bent it and taped it to the back of the feathers. This helps them stand up straight instead of falling backwards.

The instructions then say to make little bean bags out of material to use as ‘corn’ for the turkey, but we didn’t do that. Instead we crumpled up pieces of construction paper that had been cut in half. We used yellow paper for corn, but then Evan decided the turkey was REALLY hungry and wanted cherries, blackberries and grapes so off we went, crumpling up every color in the rainbow.

The best thing about this part of the craft is that it’s really fun, but it is also a great hand strengthener in little kids and helps them develop fine motor skills because of how their hands have to move.

Now it’s time to feed the cardboard turkey!

Both kids could do this part!

The kids took turns putting the ‘food’ in the turkey’s mouth. Evan also stood back and practiced throwing the food into the mouth. That was why we needed to make the triangle mouth so big, so that he could toss the paper in.

Great things about this project:

-It is very hands on.

-It involves lots of different skills for little kids to practice, like cutting, gluing, crumpling, throwing, gluing and sorting.

-The kids are able to get creative with the colors used and also use their imaginations when it comes to what the turkey is ‘eating’

-I got to see some adorable teamwork from 2 sweet little boys! (Can you tell it was pajama day at our house?)

This was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, create a memory with the kids and make a game that they could keep playing with.

I recommend this one!

~Erin