Here's How to Set Up a Studio Space for Your Budding Artist
So you have a pint-sized Picasso in the home... or you just want to give your child a permanent artistic outlet for self-expression. Either way, unless you want your entire house overrun by paints, crayons, and little blobs of Play Doh; you’re going to want some semblance of an artist studio.
Ideally, you have a room to dedicate to creating kiddie masterpieces. Otherwise, a little nook, or a bit of garage space will do. The important part is setting up an area that will spark creativity and fuel the fire.
Make It Practical, Not Precious
Skip all the designer goodies and knick-knacks (or keep them for the bedroom). This is not the room for anything precious. In fact, roll up the rug, rip out the carpeting, and put away the curtains. If you’re in the process of remodeling, please conveniently overlook touching this space – no flooring or fancy paint job necessary. You’re going to want to keep this room bare. After all, it’s soon going to be plastered with a whole slew of amazing art.
Make sure the room has plenty of good lighting. Of course, natural light is best but we’re not always so lucky. Besides, your little one might want to get creative on those cold, wintry nights when darkness sets in early. So make sure the artificial light is good and plenty as well.
Include a vertical surface for painting and drawing – an easel or wall space will do. Making art while standing upright helps your little artist see what they’re working as it would be displayed. They’ll get a better view of the entirety of their artwork. Plus, they’ll be engaging their core and strengthening their fine motor skills as they create.
Bring in a Table. Your child’s going to need a flat surface as well to explore a variety of media and techniques. Collage, assemblage, and sculpture all work better on a horizontal surface where kids need to press down or require more stability.
Don’t forget the clean-up tools! Make sure you have a trashcan and plenty of paper towels to soak up messes. Keep a plastic tub for all the dirty brushes and paint-covered trays or plates. Make sure you have a clean-up routine determined. And maybe even consider making a poster that spells it all out in plain view.
Keep Access in Mind, and Creativity Your Goal
While you might want the studio to look all cute and adorable, chances are your little one would love it to be all grown-up. Not only will the aesthetic make the room feel more important, you’ll be forgoing the over-priced stuff they’ll outgrow and opting for useful elements that are more enduring instead.
Install grown up shelving to organize all art materials. Heavy-duty garage racks will do just great. Just make sure they’re anchored and secured to the wall to avoid any accidents in the studio. If necessary, add a sturdy stool or stepladder that your child can easily transport and use to access out-of-reach shelves.
Have plenty of bins, plastic cups, and jars. You will want all brushes, crayons, markers, and paints well organized and properly labeled for quick access and easy cleanup. Use empty jars or old Tupperware and try to avoid unnecessary purchases. These containers are going to get paint-splattered and all marked up.
You don’t want your child worrying about ruining a cute elephant-shaped container when the goal is to make great art. So avoid their tears – and yours – by just focusing on practicalities. And don’t overlook the paper trays. Without proper paper storage, you’re going to have a lot of waste and a big mess.
Make sure you have easy-to-use items like crayons, pastels, and markers on your lower shelves. These are go-to tools that don’t create a lot of mess. For tools that require adult supervision, keep them higher up. These would include hot glue guns, wood burning pens, or anything else that requires electricity. Also, consider hammers, nails, plaster of Paris, and other items that requires your help.
Place hooks on the wall for aprons and smocks within the entryway to the studio. That way, your child will always remember to cover up. Creativity can get oh so messy!
Consider including a mirror on the wall. It’s not only useful should your kiddo decide to make a self-portrait, it’s a nice vehicle for staring at when they’re feeling reflective and dreamy.
Also, add in an inspiration board – just a simple, framed corkboard with pushpins. Your little one can hang up some of their favorite images, words that get them thinking, or pictures of their best-loved artists.
Add a Treasure Box for Added Inspiration
If your household philosophy includes “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle,” or if you just want to encourage new ways of using everyday objects, consider including a treasure box filled with found objects. Think about all the great finds artists come across at the junkyard!
Gather together broken toys, empty containers of makeup, used egg cartons and cereal boxes, spools of thread and jars, an old rake or shovel – even broken faux jewelry, or old socks. Basically, anything you’re considering throwing away might make for good art. Add in scraps of leftover paper, googly eyes, and any other unused art materials and you have yourself a treasure trove of great materials.
Maintain Works in Progress
Dedicate an area for works in progress. The table might do, or you might want to add an additional piece of furniture. There’s plenty that your child might be working on that needs to rest undisturbed, like air-drying clay. And there’ll also be items that need to be worked on over time like papier maché. Consider drying racks for wet paintings as well, if you can afford the floor space.
Proudly Display and Safely Store
With all the hard work your child has put into creating their masterpieces, you’re going to want to give them the recognition they deserve! Make sure to have adequate space for display as well. A corkboard for hanging is great. If you’re hurting for wall space, consider stringing clotheslines across the room instead... You will have beautiful garlands in no time at all. Open shelves work well for little sculptures and three-dimensional art. Just make sure to get it up and all set for viewing.
As the art piles up, you’re going to want to store the most special pieces as keepsakes. Make sure to have a few expanding art portfolios on hand to store flat art. You can label them by year so that you and your little one can look back on their creations and the progress they’ve made over time.
How have you set up your kid’s art studio? Share with us!
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