Stock Your Craft Room: Kid-Friendly Supplies for Decorating, Coloring, and Organizing
Markers, check! Crayons, check! Once you've got the basics down, the right craft room supplies can help kids tackle a school project or stay busy on a rainy day. We asked crafty types to share which materials they always keep on hand and how they organize it all. (P.S. No glitter—more or less!)
Crafty Items for Decorating
Fuzzy pom-pom balls are easily a kid favorite. "We like to make 3-D-textured art by gluing the poms onto cardstock to create colorful landscapes, animals, or houses." —Kristin Gambaccini, a crafter and author of Crafty Family Ideas
"I always have an assortment of chenille stems and self-adhesive googly eyes. You can make so many things with them, from crowns to figurines. The possibilities are endless."—Jen Wood, founder of the Instagram craft account @craftedbyjen
Collecting little treasures like beads or ribbon can add flair to various projects. "Place pieces in an open box, and invite kids to invent original characters by gluing them to paper cups or cereal boxes." —Rachelle Doorley, founder of TinkerLab.com, a kids' art and STEAM activity website
Pick up thick yarn in your child's favorite colors. It's easier for little hands to grasp. "Wrap sticks to make magic wands, string together a mobile, or create big pom-poms or tassels."—Meri Cherry, founder of Meri Cherry Art Studio and Shop, in Encino, California
Funky-edged scissors will dress up handmade cards or gift tags by turning a straight edge into a scallop or a zigzag. —Gambaccini
Adhesives and Sticky Stuff
Aleene's Original Tacky Glue "holds things in place better while still wet than the typical white glue." —Kimberly Stoney, a crafter, stylist, and artist based in Littleton, Massachusetts
"I love to have fun washi tape, colored masking tape, and patterned duct tape on hand." Personalize pencils or notebooks with the different sizes and patterns, or stick it on the floor to create an obstacle course or a "road" for toy cars. —Kristen Sabatelli, cofounder of SplatterBox art studio, in Westport, Connecticut
Glitter glue is a fun way to bedazzle any project, but it can also be used for coloring, embellishing, slime making, scrapbooking, painting, and card making. You can get that sparkly vibe without leaving tiny specks all over the house. —Gambaccini
Adhesive glitter foam is super-satisfying and easy for kids to cut. Snip it into shapes, letters, or characters to decorate collages. —Cherry
Double your colors with Switch-Eroo Color Changing Markers. The white tip on each end magically changes the hue (green to yellow, purple to pink).
"Cover the coffee table with butcher paper and keep markers or crayons nearby. When the kids are done, roll it up and use it later as wrapping paper." —Jodi Levine, founder of the blog Super Make It and author of Paper Goods Projects
Cleanup feels doable with Mondo Llama's Washable Tempera Paint Set. The kit comes with 12 colors, two paintbrushes, and an easy-to-carry plastic case.
Kwik Stix Solid Tempera Paint are packaged like glue sticks. "The texture is creamy and slick, so they glide over paper with little friction."—Doorley
Kids can accurately depict themselves with the Colors of the World Colored Pencils, which include 24 skin tones like Deepest Almond and Medium Golden.
Organizational Hacks for the Craft Room
Cleanup is easy and quick when everything has a home. Here are some tips for organizing your craft room.
Go clear. All the experts agree: Visibility is key. Use glass or plastic jars or translucent boxes so kids (and you) can see what's inside. For even more order, add labels to each vessel or sort the items by color, Sabatelli suggests.
Contain the small pieces. "I like when kids can get supplies out themselves—and put them away," Stoney says. Pencil cups that live directly on the table or caddies that tote silverware or cleaning supplies work well for wrangling paint brushes, markers, scissors, and other tools.
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Offer easy access. Open shelving lets kids reach for materials whenever they want. "A 'behind-the-scenes' storage area can hold bulkier items like reams of paper or stuff you don't use as often, like a gallon of glue for slime making," Doorley notes.
Designate a spot . Keep all the goods corralled with inexpensive shelving units, a few plastic bins, acrylic containers with lids, and a mounted pegboard with hooks, cups, and shelves. Elevate a standard brown pegboard by painting it another color, adding rose-gold hooks, and attaching metal baskets.
Be portable. Almost all our craft experts recommended a rolling cart. "We have several of the RÅSKOG Utility Carts. I love how much they hold, how durable they are, and that they can move easily from place to place," Hsu says. Within a cart, accessory cases hold things that normally end up on the floor: pom-poms, paint pots, brushes, ice-pop sticks, googly eyes, and beads, says Lynn Lilly, a Michaels crafter.
Tame the paper. Sort it by color and texture in letter trays to keep everything tidy and within reach. For larger paper and poster board, grab some (clean) pizza boxes. "I purchased new ones from Amazon," says Nylah Khan, an art teacher in Los Angeles. "Cut the fronts off, and then use double-sided tape to stack them on top of each other. Paint the boxes, or cover them in wrapping paper to decorate."
Corral crafts Keep paint off your table, let projects dry safely, or contain Play-Doh, slime, or sand in one spot with Doodle Hog Art Trays.