Saturday, May 23, 2015

Setting up a Simple, Inexpensive Art studio for Kids (Art Studio Diaries #3)

We didn't have a designated Art room. We don't even have a designated kids room! He sleeps with us, plays in the living room and till recently painted in the breezy balcony (!!!). But once we got a designated Art Room, things changed a bit. A lot actually. 

The biggest change was, we could keep things in WIP mode! for e.g.  when we got leaf strings, pebbles, sticks and stones to paint, and he painted them for 3-4 days in a row! So I didn't clean up till he was done. This is one reason why I don't understand Montessori principle that demands clearing up and put back your things after each and every activity. Why? why not clear up at EOD? and for long projects that take a few days, why not clear up once you're done? Before you think I'm a messy little piggy, let me tell you that I'm not! I clear up the whole house everyday, and like things in order. So even when an art project is over, my kid and I do clean up the whole place. But once we designated a room for art, 'COB' meant we could just shut the door behind us, leaving things behind in the work-in-progress mode and take off from where we left the next day.

Setting up a Simple, Inexpensive Art studio for Kids (Art Studio Diaries #3)

What really pushed me to create space was the weather change! India doesn't have the concept of spring. If it does, spring probably lasts for all of 3 days. Cuz once winters done, we dive into full blown summer almost immediately! And summers aren't warm and sunny, as it is in countries far from the equator, they are horrible and migraine-inducing, turning us into human popsicles the minute we step out in the sun! So painting in the balcony was no longer an option! 

So here's how I went about creating our simple, inexpensive Art Studio. Simple, since I like the minimilist look, and hate too many things popping all at once, and cheap, since we would be leaving this apartment (& country!) very soon. So no fancy shelves or swanky decor, unlike those gorgeous pictures I droll over on Pinterest! Mine are in fact far from say this oneIt is obviously *great* if you have the resources (if theres any room I'd like to decorate, it'll be the art room!) but if you don't, just remember that just the basics will do, as *kids don't care abt that stuff anyways* (they don't see pinterest!)
All you need to get is : Space, Color, Tables, Material & Kids and then you're set! 

Setting up a Simple, Inexpensive Art studio for Kids (Art Studio Diaries #3)
The Inspirational Wall Poster I made, an apt quote I came across on Pinterest!
"This Is Where The Magic Happens" 

Step 1: Clear Space

I had the space. A whole room, facing east, with plenty of warm sunlight in the mornings (which is a critical need for decent photography!). This room was being used to dump everything we didn't want to deal with. A whole air conditioning system, just lying there without being installed. An uninstalled movie theatre sound system. Mattresses. Boxes. Full of cumulative crap accumulated in the thirty something years of my life. My old report cards starting from kindergarten, family photos, greetings cards that were sent from my best friends way back when, some 500+ DVDs and CDs that were just sitting there. It took forever to sort all this off!

80% was disposed off! and the remaining 20 odd % was umm… you guessed right! Shoved in some other room! 

Setting up a Simple, Inexpensive Art studio for Kids (Art Studio Diaries #3)
The cleanest the room has ever been! like e...ver
This was on the first day or so...just after clearing out space

Step 2: Add Color

I wanted to decorate the room, without spending any real money. I put this off for several days till I realised, the answer was staring right at me! Giant glass windows: just paint 'em! I used tempera, so it could be wiped off easily. 

Setting up a Simple, Inexpensive Art studio for Kids (Art Studio Diaries #3)
Run a sponge roller on the top edges of the glass windows!

I also taped few of his old art projects (that had managed to stay somewhat intact) on the walls.

Setting up a Simple, Inexpensive Art studio for Kids (Art Studio Diaries #3)

Step 3: Get 'furniture', i.e. Tables, Easels and space to keep Art supplies. 

I don't keep ALL Art supplies out. Most of it is safely tucked in my wardrobe. So the Looong window sill would suffice to keep the daily use material. I do have an elaborate book shelf in the living room, which had been used till now to keep his stuff, but I didn't want to move things around as we will be moving out soon.

We had two easel already, one which we keep on the floor so he can sit and paint and another vertical one. I dragged in our coffee table which is made of rosewood, but the plastic sheet on top keeps the wood safe. This coffee table has taken permanent abode in this room!

The Work-In-Progress Mode

I rolled out a mattress (so I can 'parallel play' in the same room!) and opened up his tent house - which he has fallen in love all over again - it now has a mat, pillow, books, and toys and my kid happily spends his time in there!

No curtains or any thing that I would bother getting paint on.

Step 4: Get Art supplies.

I dislike shopping but the only time I do like it is when I'm in a stationary store! I buy stuff in bulk - which is a lot for only one kid. Now that I was getting more- would need to up the numbers. 


Setting up a Simple, Inexpensive Art studio for Kids (Art Studio Diaries #3)

But let me start by drooling over these pearl pet containers: I know the whole world uses paints in containers while I was still stupidly sticking with palletes all this while. Do you know the amount of paint that gets WASTED everytime we wash palletes! And the amount of effort it takes to wash pallettes every day! It's crazy! 

With containers, I can just close the top and keep aside! Add more paint, more water whenever I need to paint again!  No need to wash, no need to waste paint! (er, i.e. unless the kids have mixed paints in them!) 


Setting up a Simple, Inexpensive Art studio for Kids (Art Studio Diaries #3)

It costs almost nothing... Ok some $5/₹300 for 10. It's short & wide mouthed, so you can leave a heavy brush in there without toppling. 

I had trays, but I didn't get more such ones in white, so picked up round white plates instead- plates make more sense! Esp for messy art such as with shaving cream and ice slabs.

Setting up a Simple, Inexpensive Art studio for Kids (Art Studio Diaries #3)
Sponge rollers, sponge stampers, yarn tied on a pencil for yarn painting, foam brush, pom poms used for paint too and the severely under-utilised watercolors! 

LOT of droppers, disposable spoons, brushes of all kind, glue, spray bottles, squeeze bottles, drawing paper, canvases. And paint. Paints I usually buy from the neighbour variety store. The other stuff I rely on Venus Stationary Super Store. Its a weird, clumsy place where I literally have to crawl into, but it  has EVERYTHING which is more important than anything else!

Setting up a Simple, Inexpensive Art studio for Kids (Art Studio Diaries #3)
lots and lots of spray bottles! Big and small. 

Step 5: Bring in Kids!

I thoroughly enjoyed ALL my art sessions with my own son, and really REALLY wanted to try the same out with others preschoolers. I wanted to see THEIR reaction to the same technique, what they make of it. Most preschools have limited time allotted to paints alone - and most art schools will focus on how to draw better. But this age is too precious! It's when the ONLY focus should be to keep the child's interest going. The idea is not to help him draw better, or turn him into an artist, but to open his mind, and give his creatively a push. It's to make him think out of the box - not just on his drawing sheet, but.... in life!

That's it! 5 steps! Space, Color, Tables, Material, Kids!

Looking for Non-Traditional Art Material that can be used for Kids Art? I've got 13 Great Ideas!

For Details on my Art Studio, click here

Until later! Stay in touch!

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  1. I think in Montessori, they insist on cleaning up for reasons of disturbing visual clutter and maybe because children are taught to tidy after themselves. But I am no expert, this is just a guess. While I do try to implement Montessori principles, I agree with you about the long term projects. It had not occurred to me but we don't see a scientist packing up everything when they are in the middle of an experiment, do we?

    I will keep in mind to let my daughters' projects where she puts them so she can continue uninterrupted.

    I love your art room. :D
    I do have a playroom but it's more of a mess than something so explicitly creative as a space. I am brainstorming on how I can implement some of your ideas.

    1. I may get into trouble for saying this, but i think this montessori principle is a bit OCD! Kids do so many things in a period of few hours and many times they are interlinked! i prefer him coming back home after school to a clean house, let him pick his toys and activities and then we clean up at the end of the day! why does it have to be after every activity? what if he wants to leave it around and come back to it in a while? and what about the kids who thrive on clutter? some minds work best when theres clutter!

      I guess every idea needs to be tweaked according to your own kid! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Really cute and I bet the kids have a blast!!

    Thanks for stopping by!!


  3. love the room the idea even works for teens and moms who art journal with no studio thanks for sharing

  4. What a great space and I love the windows. Thanks for sharing with the #pinitparty. I have pinned.

    1. The windows look a bit diff now! Since my kid painted some more over it! Thanks for pinning !

  5. A creative space is a neat idea - I love this. When the kids were little the kitchen was our creative space, we didn't have the additional space for an art room. Love this - the best part is for you to sit back and watch them be creative.
    - Carole @ Garden Up Green

    1. Thanks Carole. Paints are a bit messy, so designating a space is equal to keeping your sanity! We do have the space in this house, who knows what space will we get next!

  6. This space looks like an amazing art studio! I'm so jealous! :) Thanks for linking up at the Thoughtful Spot!

    1. Thanks Samantha, I'm jealous of ALL art studios out there!

  7. This is just way to awesome. Pinning! Thanks for sharing with us a the Home Matters Linky party. We hope you join us again!

  8. So many of us adults dream of having a craft room. This art studio would be a kids craft room dream! Thanks for sharing with SYC.