16 essentials for setting up an art & craft space

Image: She Knows

I’ve never been very arty farty (my brother hogged all those genes) so I was always a bit hesitant to dip my toe into that pool with my toddler. However, lately she’s been coming home from daycare with great stories about finger painting, sensory play and messy outdoor activities in the art & craft space.

I figured it was time to get my act together. I quickly realised that a) making a mess is fine and b) you don’t need to spend a fortune. Now, it’s one of our favourite activities and… added bonus… it can easily take up a whole morning!

Here are the top supplies I think you’ll need to set up a really useful art & craft space. I don’t have much space so I keep it all in big tubs and we try to head outside as much as possible to make a big, fun mess.

Essential art & craft space supplies for kids

  1. Safety scissors. These are really easy to find. I was a bit wary at first, but the more I let her use them the faster my daughter learnt to use them. The most important thing is to keep reiterating safety (no running with scissors, put them away after each session etc).
  2. Glue. Most PVC glue these days in non-toxic and safe for toddlers. I also tracked down some old-school Clag which I adore.
  3. Paper. You’ll need plenty of blank paper, so ask anyone you know who works in an office to save up scrap paper for you. All the cheap $2 Shops have affordable sketch books and pads of unlined paper, so you can just tear out pages as you need
  4. Cardboard. I’ve started collecting old cereal boxes and cutting out the large panels. It’s really useful for pasting because it’s thicker than paper and the glue won’t soak through onto your work surface.
  5. Playdough. Find your favourite recipe on the Internet and it should keep for a few months in an airtight container in the fridge. We use cookie cutters and plastic cutlery to make fun shapes.
    Art & Craft Space Supplies
  6. Stickers. If you’ve not entered “The Sticker Phase” yet, just wait for it. All kids become obsessed with stickers, so thank goodness they are cheap! We’ve got pads and pads and pads of random stickers floating around. I taught her early on that stickers only belong on paper, and she’s generally pretty good (althogh don’t get me wrong, I’ve arrived at the office to find my shoes covered in stickers more than once!)
  7. Googly Eyes. These are super cheap and you can buy big packets of them that last for ages. Anything becomes hilarious when you stick Googly Eyes on it!
  8. Patty pans. Are we still calling them that? Or are they just known as cupcake wrappers or something? I don’t know. We used to call them patty pans when we were little, so I’m sticking with it! You can buy these from the supermarket, and they usually come in really cute patterns. Ideal for pasting onto cardboard and popping a few Googly Eyes in the middle!
  9. Pipe cleaners. I found these can be a bit annoying because when you cut them in half the wire can scratch little hands. But if you keep an eye on your toddler while they’re playing, pipe cleaners can be used to make all sorts of funny creatures
  10. Pom-poms. Grab a big bag of colourful, fluffy pom-poms in all different sizes. So much fun to stick Googly Eyes on, and they can be glued onto just about anything.
    Art & Craft Space Supplies for kids
  11. Feathers. These are another lovely, tactile item that kids can paste onto their creations. They can go flying if tubs are opening in a hurry though!
  12. Printed craft tape. Also known as washi tape, you can usually buy a few rolls at a time and kids honestly love it. My daughter doesn’t even make things with her craft tape. She just loves pulling off a length and snipping it with her little scissors. Buy the cheap stuff because kids will burn through a roll in one sitting if you’re not careful!
  13. Coloured tissue paper. So easy to scrunch, and great sensory play for little siblings. Tissue paper can be pasted onto just about anything, and feels good to scrunch between little fingers.
  14. Straws. Plastic bendy straws are great, and you can also find colourful paper straws really easily these days. Cut them up and thread onto pipe cleaners or string and use as beads. Kids also really love the process of cutting straws, and it can become a fun activitiy in itself!
  15. Spill-proof paint cups. These are great for storing your paint between art sessions, as it stops the paint from drying out and also makes sure you don’t have any accidents if you’re inside on a rainy day.
  16. Takeaway containers. Keep hold of these precious storage containers! They stack on top of one another and allow you to see all your arts and crafts supplies without having to open the lids.

Feature image: She Knows

What are your art & craft space essentials?