Art Tray

by Chris on April 11, 2011

When kids are little, they are sponges when it comes to art projects. I remember my daughter cutting construction paper into squares for over an hour one day. It doesn’t take much, but they just love it. And then…they get older.

My 8-year old is still on the fringe, but my 11-year old’s artistic creativity has been limited to monsters, sports, and skulls.  There was a time when any one of these rooms would have been a perfect fit for my little ones, but now they’re just…well…for little ones.

pottery barn playroom

pottery barn playroom

pottery barn kids room


I decided something needed to be done. I’m not overly impressed with the art teacher/class at their school, so I took matters into my own hands. I shopped the house to see what I could come up with that would spur some creativity in my kids. And….I came up with this!

art supplies

The paint, the paper, the glue, the scissors—that’s a given. I felt like they needed some sort of embellishment tray to jumpstart their artwork.

kids art

My local grocery store (Meijer) had this outdoor tray, and I found a circle placemat that fits perfectly inside. I thought it would be good to keep things from sliding around, and it would prevent some major scratches on the surface. Plus, it adds a nice pop of color!

kids art tray

The little glasses were found at Goodwill for $.49 cents a piece. Cute! The larger jars are Mason jars I already had on hand. All the art supplies—already had them.

art embellishments

When I set the tray on the table, my son said, “Wow! You bought a bunch of new art supplies!” Uhhh no. So maybe that’s it? Maybe kids just need things in front of them? Maybe the inspiration comes from accessibility and a colorful display? We’ll see.

round tray

I thought I’d be able to show you some picture evidence of its success. You know, pics of my kids frolicking in pom poms and skipping through fields of foam letters. Alas, it decided to be 80 degrees here today, so they opted to watch my husband burn the Christmas tree in the backyard.

art tray


That may have been cooler, but my option was MUCH prettier. Just sayin’.



Jen April 11, 2011 at 3:43 am

Love this idea! I think I've seen those trays at Garden Ridge, and this is a perfect way to use them! Great job! :0)

zkgormley April 11, 2011 at 4:02 am

You've given us a great idea. Our babe is still young but I'll be using this idea in the future. Thanks.

Janet April 11, 2011 at 4:02 am

Wow, LOVE THIS!!! What a fantastic idea!!!

Anne Alagna April 11, 2011 at 4:13 am

OMG, I think my 8 year old just rolled over in her sleep from the beautiful art rooms! She would DIE for that much dedicated space and supplies.

Meg April 11, 2011 at 4:24 am

I love this idea.

jociegal April 11, 2011 at 5:27 am

SUCH a good idea! I don't have kids, but if I did I would totally rock this. Great photos!

{Peppermint Plum} April 11, 2011 at 5:30 am

Wow! I would have loved to have had this space when I was little… heck, I would love it rigt now! Such a great idea. Having everything out in the open will definitely get the imagination wheels a-spinnin'. Popsicle sticks and googly eyes? What more could you ask for! :)

-Annie @ {PeppermintPlum}

Jennifer April 11, 2011 at 10:33 am

Really cute! We are in art heaven right now with a 5 and 2 year old and I am trying to soak it in, lol.

Whatitsallabout... April 11, 2011 at 12:05 pm

That looks so fun and colorful! I homeschool my 5yr old daughter, so I use an entire bookcase devoted to arts and crafts. Each morning she wakes up and asks "can we do a project?" You did a wonderful job, love all the colors!


PicturePerfectPixies April 11, 2011 at 12:53 pm

That is what I need! My kids love to get into all of our crafty things. But, in the transfer back to the shelves. They would rather toss it on the floor. I will keep that in mind when I re-do our supply shelves. Maybe a tray with supplies won't be so overwhelming for them…hmm….

Great job! Love it.

Courtney {a thoughtful place} April 11, 2011 at 2:18 pm

This is adorable. I have done it with their drawing tools, but not all of their "extras". Very cute. I flashbacked to your great garage door makeover on my blog today. Thank you!!!

Sara April 11, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Perfect! Love it!

Jenny (The Housewife Project) April 11, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Very cute idea. My mind was on kids' art work this weekend, too!

Lila April 11, 2011 at 5:44 pm

That's a good idea. My kids say the same thing about their toys. I'll organize the toys or hand something to them that I've found and they think it's a new toy! I even wrapped some of their old toys for Christmas one year, just to see if they noticed….they didn't!
Lila Ferraro

Jen @ The Decor Scene April 11, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Love this idea. We don't have kids yet, but I will be saving this idea for the future. LOVE IT!!! Thanks for the inspiration and I can't wait to see what your kids come up with when their isn't a tree being burned in the backyard. ;)

Shaunna April 11, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Totally adorable. And I agree…great to have their supplies out where they can see them. Crafty mama!

Beth@The Stories of A to Z April 26, 2011 at 2:18 am

Oh wow, these all look pretty enough to eat! My boys would so be spooning out beads, letters, and eyeballs EVERYWHERE! But I'm just crazy enough to still want to do something like this. Uber cute!

theb5 May 3, 2011 at 1:58 am

What an attractive display of fun! Very nice~~Beth

Sweet Floweret May 3, 2011 at 3:21 am

Great pics. Fabulous idea.
I love your woodland theme. I found it through a linky party.
I am starting my own linky party tomorrow! It's the first one. I would love it if you would participate! It's called $10 Tuesdays and it's for things that cost less than $10 and take 20-30 mins (ish) to complete. I love inexpensive and quick projects and I'm guessing others will too ;) Thanks so much for considering.
Tina Watschke

Vivienne @ the V Spot May 3, 2011 at 3:47 am

Oh that is hilarious about the bonfire vs the art supplies! Love it! This is super cute and very clever.

Kim @ The Celebration Shoppe May 4, 2011 at 6:59 pm

I LOVE this Chris! My boys, although still young, are very visual and this display would get them creating.

Michelle May 5, 2011 at 1:20 am

I love this idea! I like the separate containers, but that they are all in the caddy so small pieces don't end up on the floor. Great idea!
I'd love for you to come link up this and any other projects you have at DIY Thrifty Thursday @ Thrifty 101!

BURUNDANGUITAS CS May 6, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Hi I am dalys, I found yr blog in my way to inspiration and ideas.
I love this trays, and art spaces for kids. that much that I made a post in blog blog mentioning your great blog. here is the link

hope you have the time to visit me.
rgds, dalysE

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