Because my husband was in the military, we moved often. Some of our houses were comfortable, but more often space was limited…or maybe, like the goldfish, we just grew to fit the bowl. Whatever the case, I always found room for a craft closet, cabinet, or shelf. It was a source of creativity, peace, and sanity on rainy days, sick days, and any other days when the kids couldn’t seem to think of anything to do.

Depending on your living situation, you might prefer to keep craft supplies in plain sight and readily available for any unexpected creative inspiration. Our stash always ended up being somewhat hidden–a set of shelves in the laundry room closet beside the water heater or a box in my sewing area. That way I knew who had glue, paint, or scissors that might require supervision. It also made craft time a special treat, and “special-ness” goes a long way toward counteracting the gray days of late winter and early spring.

Here are some of the items I kept on hand:

  • a roll of large, inexpensive trash bags to use as drop cloths
  • a roll of butcher paper for murals or for cutting smaller “canvases”
  • old over-sized shirts or bright-colored pocketed aprons to protect clothing
  • water color sets (can be homemade)
  • tempera paints (can be homemade)

  • paintbrushes
  • crayons, markers, colored chalks and/or pastels, drawing charcoal, colored pencils and art pencils
  • pot pie tins and ice cube trays for sorting, mixing, and corralling supplies
  • sponges (whole and/or cut into shapes)
  • stickers and magnets
  • masking tape
  • school glue, glue sticks and/or paste
  • construction paper
  • craft scissors – Go ahead and put your child’s name on “their” scissors. It’ll help keep them out of yours!
  • empty containers, toilet paper rolls, paper towel tubes, Pringles containers, Altoid tins, etc.
  • feathers, pom-pom balls, beads, buttons, sequins and glitter
  • tongue depressors and Popsicle sticks
  • sand, seashells, and other bits of natural materials
  • paper plates (to hold materials or to make masks)
  • scraps of fabric, yarn, and embroidery thread

Did I forget anything? Feel free to add suggestions in the comment section!

Craft items need not be expensive–in fact it’s great fun to turn “trash” to treasure. We opened our craft cabinet when we needed to brighten dreary days, to make personal gifts and cards, to create visual presentations for unit studies, to make toys and costumes for plays, and just to try out new ideas for self expression.

Who knows what wonders will come out when you open the door or lid?