Organisation Ideas for an Art/Craft Cupboard

Jul 30, 2012

The more arts and crafts you like to do with your kids, the more supplies you will end up with. If you're anything like me you may start with a little box, which then overflows into a larger one, or a couple of boxes and then before you know it, it's craft supply city and you can't remember half of the supplies you have because they are too hard to access.

Time to get organised. Time for a craft cupboard makeover!

This is how I started. I *thought* I was pretty organised... I'd managed to claim the inside of one section of a wardrobe in our guest room/study but things were just piling up and becoming impossible to access.

Simple solution? You bet!
A quick trip to the local hardware shop. 
Some cheap shelves. 
A handy hubby with a spirit level and a drill.
And hey presto: We're organised!

Installing shelves inside an unused wardrobe hanging space means that you can store so much more and also be able to access everything easily.

At the very top, I put in a half shelf as I knew that I would never be able to reach anything at the back of a full shelf without getting something to stand on. And, if I can't reach it easily, I know I'll forget it's there and not use it.

I don't like wasting things so I took apart the little 3 drawer sets that I'd previously purchased from K-Mart and popped the drawers back into my new shelves as shown here. This worked well as it left some spare room for extra bits and bobs.

Labelling individual tubs and categorising your supplies will make things much easier to store and find

The tubs shown in the picture above are labelled: 
"Paper and Cardboard" (all our coloured paper, special papers and so on that will fit!) 
"Stickers," (I think my previous students would hyperventilate if they saw how many stickers I have in here!
"Drawing and Desktop" (this is office type supplies, new textas, staples, erasers, stickytape etc), 
"Fun Crafts" (glitter, patty pans, foam sticks... you get the idea), 
"Recycled Bits" (I have another couple of large recycled goods tubs at the bottom so this one is just for small bits and pieces that you'd otherwise throw out.. great for activities, crafts, games etc) and "Stamps and Stencils" (little ink pads, fun stamps, paper punchers etc)

At the top I have individually labelled tubs and other materials that we use very frequently. 
As you can see, the top shelf that has the paints is a half shelf  as explained earlier.

The tubs shown in the picture above are labelled: 
"Gluing"(It's amazing how many different type of products there are to stick things!
"Painting"(extra painting supplies that are less frequently used
"Fun Stuff" (yep, more fun things like craft sticks, balloons, sparkly pipe-cleaners, pompoms etc.) and 
"Stamping" (this one has bigger stamps for use with paint).

Everything is easy to see and therefore easy to use and keep clean.

You don't need fancy labels. If your tubs have other labels that won't come off, just stick a coloured piece of paper over it and stick a label over the top. These are just some handwritten texta labels but you could make some great ones on the computer if you have time.
Here you can see the easy access to our paint brushes and the use of a baby food jar.

Using recycled materials in your organisation saves you from buying tons of storage supplies.
The bottle caps are displayed in a vase and these marbles are in an old coffee jar.

Another coffee jar put to good use. You can also see a little bit of an old mini globe I had that had come off it's axle. a bit of fishing line and it's now a nice hanging feature inside my cupboard.

More recycled glass jars put to good use. I have a large plastic tub at the bottom of the craft cupboard where I put any glass jar with lid (and other recycled goods) to keep for future use.
Before I had the room in the cupboard, it used to sit at the bottom of the pantry so that my family could easily recycled them for me.

Handy Tips: 

- Before rushing out to buy new storage tubs it is wise to figure out the supplies you have first and how you're going to categorise them so that you know how many, and what sized tubs/baskets etc that you need

- Have a look around your own house for things you could use to store supplies. You'd be surprised by how many appropriate things you could already own and that will save you buying some things.

- Save glass jars with lids of different sizes to help store and display items. They look good, make things easy to find and don't cost you anything extra. Plus... you're helping our planet :)

- Plastic containers and lids are also great to keep but I find are more disposable. Use them for paint pots, mess catchers, crafts and more.

- If you are worried about "wrecking" the inside of a cupboard by installing shelves, don't be. It's just as easy to take them all down again if you one day need to use the wardrobe for hanging clothes again!

- Your art/craft supplies will change and grow over time so making a space that is flexible (I can change the position of the shelves if I like) and offers different sized spaces (having a half shelf at the top also lets you stand taller things up on the shelf below it) will be the most user friendly for you.

- Remember, the easier things are to see, access, find etc, the more inspired you will feel to use them and the more likely that you *will* actually use them. My daughter gasped in wonder and amazement when I first showed her the cupboard makeover and right away saw things and got ideas for ways she could get creative. You will be more likely to get out different supplies for your child to use if you are well organised so this is of great benefit to them... (that's what you can tell the person you get to screw in the shelves for you if you enlist some manual labour to assist your creative process) ;) 

Happy playing,
Debs :)

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  1. That craft cupboard is heavenly! So organised and lovely. Mine is pretty organisd, but not as nicely done as yours. It's in our spare room, which I'll have to give up very shortly.... I'm really not sure where I'll keep everything then!

  2. I am so inspired by your posts and this. Definitely gonna make hubby build art cupboard in the playroom

  3. What an amazing cupboard!! It's also nice to see someone else who needs a separate box for stickers :D I'm inspired to take some shots of our newly organised art room!

  4. That is heaven in a closet! Looks great!

  5. Brilliant. You've done such a wonderful job of categorising all of your bits and pieces.
    I recently overhauled our arts and craft cupboard, but I have a whole heap of miscellaneous items. Might have to borrow some of your categories.
    Well done to you and hubby. :)

  6. Oh wow! I'm totally jealous and will be slowly adding to our craft collection with some inspirations from here :) Yay for organised goodness! :) x

  7. I NEED that cupboard!!! We are constantly losing or forgetting about all the crafty bits and pieces we have, shame we don't have the space for it though!

  8. This is a dream! Just wish we had a spare cupboard - love how organised you are!

  9. You put me to shame! I chuck all of our arty stuff in a big plastic box. The problem with that is that I can;t really see what we've got so we rarely do craft. Sad for someone who enjoys it. I don't have a whole waldrobe to donate to art craft (like yourself) but I'm sure I can find a better system. You've got me on a mission!

  10. Oh my... I am so envious of your storage space!!

    A lot of our craft supplies are stored in our shed (and ahem... we currently have more shed than house... but then we did live on a small property and DH does need the tractor!) with a small selection of well used items in a cupboard inside.... but I love for a lovely space like this to fill up with goodies!

  11. Oh my, you mean there is a way I can actually find and store my things?! I will hide this from my husband or he will hold me to your organization! My area is a mess, haha. Seriously, this is fabulous. Gives me something to aspire to.

    1. Oh, my husband would say the same thing, but then when he realizes that he would have to install shelved for me, he would quickly like my system of precariously stacking all of our supplies on top of our washer and dryer. =) I need to learn to be more handy so I can do this.

  12. Can you come to my place?.... those organising skills would be put to good use. :)

  13. Oh my goodness Deborah! This is gorgeous! Your BEFORE photo is better than my current situation! I'm always forgetting what I have and end up with 3 of everything because I keep buying things or I know I have it somewhere but no idea where so I have to buy it again! One say I'll get organised.

  14. I am having closet envy!! LOVE this. Can I borrow the handy husband? LOL! After the last time I made my husband use a drill, he swore he is never doing any DIY again. ;)

  15. Looks great!! I so need to get mine org. Then maybe we would do a little more crafting this days:-) Thanks for sharing FSPDT

  16. Wow!! No words to appreciate the way you organized!! Simply awesome :)

  17. Wonderful organisation - I have no space and need to work out how to organise our craft supplies with no where to put them!

  18. Your organization is impressive. What I would like to know is which shelves can your daughter reach all by herself and what are the rules you have instituted, i.e. is she allowed to play with anything at any time or what is supervised and how often does she play with those items? My 3 year old son has paper, crayons, washable markers, colored pencils, and safety scissors available to him all the time, but I restrict things like glue and paint, and all my stickers would be gone in 5 minutes if I allowed him complete access to those. But sometimes I feel like I am not giving him enough opportunity with those other items and we don't have nearly as much variety as you. Just curious how the more crafty, creative, and organized parents do it...

    1. Thank you :D This cupboard is MY cupboard.;) It's where I store all my supplies that are for use by my daughter but controlled by me :)
      Just like you, if she had free access to the whole sticker tub all the time.. well, there'd be no need for a sticker tub because there would be none left (but I'd have very well decorated walls, floors, bathrooms, stairs, you name it haha). And I can only begin to imagine the glitter situation haha.
      The stuff that my 3 year old has access to ALL the time is different varieties of paper/cardboard etc, textas, pencils, crayons, pastels, water colour paint, scissors, glue (clag and glue stick), play dough, play dough tools, limited stickers and craft materials.
      To do anything else, she has to ask me and generally, (unless we simply don't have the time) I get her out the supplies she needs.
      She has a couple of little tubs in her craft table of paper scraps and recycled fun things (we reuse all our pipecleaners, googly eyes etc.. once they've been used for whatever activity i've decided, she is then free to reuse them as she likes). You can have a look at how I organise a number of her supplies here:
      and here is a "busy box" that I have made up for her that I get out and give her free reign over when I need a bit of time to do something myself
      Hope that helps. Feel free to ask any more questions. Debs :)

  19. Good to see your before/after pictures-- this gives me some ideas, as I need to get to work on reorganizing our own craft cupboard very soon!

  20. Debs, your before picture will be after, after picture. Right now I'd be so happy with your before one...

    Your after picture is blowing my mind. Great work as always:)

  21. You have done an awesome job organising all of your supplies! This looks so inviting. Elise at Creative Play Central

  22. I organised mine just after Christmas and alas it's messy again. I really need to use up some of the stuff as there is too much shoved here and there because it won't fit elsewhere. You are inspiring me to do another overhaul! Pinning. xx

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