Getting Artsy with Kids and IKEA: A Compact Art Studio

grow and resist ikea hack kid  art studioI’ve mentioned before that our house is pretty small according today’s standards.  Spaces need to do double-duty.  For instance, we have a room that is about 8′ by 10′ and it serves as my office, the Ladyfriend’s closet, and the Babylady’s art studio.

Art studio you say? For many reasons I offer a resounding, of course!  Art is important for children (well, for everyone), under-funded in public schools (if funded at all), and something we place a high value on in our family. The Babylady is also driven to create.

That being said, I still found myself hesitant to do art with her at home. It involved the complex process of her figuring out what kind of art she wanted to make, dragging it out of a closet to the living/dining room, and cleaning it up again before anyone could have a meal. It caused anxiety (for me) about paint and glitter glue on the furniture and ink stamps on the table.  All of that, plus not having independent access to her supplies, meant she didn’t get to have much control over her creative process. Which wasn’t what I wanted for her.

I wanted her to have a full range of implements available to her at all (reasonable) times. I wanted her to have a variety of materials to use and space to display her favorites.  Creativity gets squished out of so many kids so soon. I wanted her to have the tools, freedom, and confidence to create, as well as pride in her projects. I was inspired by the set up that dig this chick has for her two kids and set about creating a small nook in a shared room for her space.  The entire space is about 4′ by 5′, with storage to the ceiling.

I realized before I even got going that it needed organization or I would quickly lose my mind. I wanted her to learn respect for what she has and to put things away. Ok, this probably has more to do with my love of the labeler, my deep-seated control freakiness, and that I’m Virgo-rising.  Whatever. Everything has a place, ok?  Can we leave it at that?

I went to IKEA. Again. You may remember the Bekvåm Stool turned play kitchen?  Yep, there are some things IKEA just plain rocks at. Sure, you have to assemble. Some of it is of questionable quality. But, I gotta say….many items are sturdy, are easily added to most decor, and can work miracles in small spaces.

grow and resist ikea hack kids art studio

The document holder on the left is stapled to the shelf so it won't get pulled off.


You could easily find suitable tables, chairs, etc at garage sales or thrift stores.  Use your imagination. This is what worked for us to cram as much as possible into a small, but highly functional space. 

grow and resist ikea hack kid art studio

There is an endless variety of crayon and marker types. I had no idea.

  • Sansad stool  2 at $19.99 each We chose this style as it allows for storage in the chair. One is full of stickers and the other is full of random paper for collages.  They are actually sturdy enough that we can use them as a step stool for the high shelves. 
  • Sundvick table $39.99
  • Måla Easel $14.99  She already had the easel.
  • Måla Tabletop paper holder $6.99  Brilliantly, the paper holder slides exactly (and securely) to the end of the Sundvick table. Cool, right? I was beyond excited that I didn’t have to figure out how to attach it to the table.
  • Måla Drawing paper roll 2 at $4.99   One for the table and one for the easel, if using.
  • Bygel containers $0.99 (we used 9)  We also used 2 larger bins that attach to the rail, but I couldn’t find them on the website.  Their website is tricky that way.  Many things in the store don’t make it on the website.
  • Bygel rail  4 at $1.99 (21¾” length)
  • Bygel S-hooks $0.99/5-pack For hanging things- the dust pan, an old camera she uses, some “binoculars” she made from toilet paper tubes and beads, etc.
  • Bygel Wire Basket $1.99
  • IKEA 365+ IHÄRDIG Spice jar $3.99/4-pack I initially thought I’d put glitter in them, but quickly realized that would be a disaster. She stores random bits of things in here.
  • Blaska Dust pan/brush $1.99 To learn to pick up her own glitter (pretty please, let this happen soon…)
  • Dokument Letter tray $8.99grow and resist ikea hack kid art studio

Other items (non-IKEA)

  • Assorted other bins to store toilet paper tubes, take out chopsticks, tape, glue, stamps, and other gathered supplies. I used several that we just happened to have around the house.
  • Shelves
  • Jars of your choosing.  I used mostly canning jars, but also some other recycled jars.
  • Magnet strip.  I used one we had. But you could use something like this from IKEA. For hanging pictures or tidbits near table.
  • Art supplies. She has feathers, sticky letters, glitter, colorful straws, wooden tongue depressors, googly eyes, colorful cotton balls, glitter cotton balls, bits of ribbon, beads, beading string, buttons, shredded paper, construction paper, plain paper, tissue paper, finger paint, watercolors, acrylic paint, chalk, crayons, creamy crayons, twisty crayons, markers, glitter glue, Elmer’s glue, glue sticks, scotch tape, painters tape, scissors, stencils, stickers, lots of random odds and ends for collage (old seed catalogs, ripped pages of books, scrapbook paper, etc), decoupage, stamps, beads, and more.    Really? Anything can be art.  She has bits of pine cones, dandelions, and small rocks.  She has some of her own hair.  Bits of her stuffed animals fur. Fabric and yarn scraps. I never know quite what to expect when I go looking around. But if you have a little container around, rest assured it will be filled with something deemed wonderful and magical.grow and resist ikea hack kid art studio

What to do with the abundance of it all? We rotate art gallery-style in the hallway hung to a Dignitet wire (12.99) or in assorted inexpensive frames around her art station.  Some favorites are saved. Some is used as wrapping paper.  Others are given to adoring grandparents. A lot of it gets reused as collage material.  Though, I’m not ashamed to say that I sneak a bit out to the recycle bin when she isn’t home.  She is nothing if not prolific in her craft.

grow and resist ikea hack kid art studio

Tucked away behind the easel, the magic happens. I store bigger things we find that might be useful in the green box such as styrofoam chunks from packages to paint and adorn with (likely) glitter.

Go on. Give a kid a space to create and shine!

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11 Responses to Getting Artsy with Kids and IKEA: A Compact Art Studio

  1. Mars Hair says:

    I almost got that easel for Christian. Glad she’s got a pretty awesome creative space!

  2. Memaw Elise says:

    I just love hearing you describe things and processes that I get to experience at your house. Lucy is one lucky girl to have the moms she has. The art studio is brilliant and she loves it! And it’s big enough for a grandparent to sit on a stool and create with her!

  3. emmycooks says:

    Oh man, I wish you’d come over here with some Ikea storage solutions and a label maker! 🙂

  4. Katie says:

    This is fabulous! I’m getting ready to sell the ginormous TV cabinet in my living room with the sole purpose of setting up a dedicated space for all of Isa’s creative what-nots. I will be borrowing many of your ideas. 🙂

  5. Donnessa says:

    So glad you posted this. Trust me, people, it’s even more wonderful in person. I need to you come with me to Ikea…

  6. Traveling Mom says:

    This truly is the most amazing art center and it is so much fun to watch Lucy create her masterpieces in here! Our hotel/apt. here in our “temporary abode” in Iowa City is decorated by LUCY’s artwork and her cousins, too. The thing I like is that the way it is set up because it starts helping children to be organized and to pick up after themselves! (I guess that is the school teacher side of me coming out…) Anyway, it is amazing! And….then a fun gift for that adorable grandchild is to give them a gift card to a craft store to buy supplies….almost as good as going to a candy store – well, not quite…..

  7. Lin Sirenas says:

    Wow. Lucky Lucy! Wish my art supplies were so well organized!

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