Using Cardboard to Make Easy Toddler Art Stations

cardboard art

When it comes to making art, there are a few challenges we face in our home:

1. We share a small living space.

2. We have a baby in our midst who is prone to trouble and spilling.

3. We want to protect our furniture, favorite stuff, and floors from damage.

4. We want to devote as much time to fun and interesting experiences as we can. (and as little to clean-up, and maintenance as we can)

5. We want to try to solve our problems in frugal, creative and kind-to-the-planet ways.

So, I want to share these two methods that we use in our home for making art projects more spontaneous, less of a chore to cleanup, very versatile, and 100% recyclable!

The first item we use is a kind of art caddy that keeps brushes, paints and water cups organized and spill-safe. They are really quick to make, and very adaptable.

First just gather your supplies: a small cardboard box, pencil, serrated knife, and all of the items that you want to organize in the caddy.

Arrange the items as you would like them, and then just trace around each piece.

Use the serrated knife to cut just inside the area you traced. I left about a 1 mm gap for this project.

Fit your items into the caddy and you’re ready to go!

The second item we use is a fold-up cardboard work mat which can double as an easel.

If something spills on the cardboard I can easily wipe up the excess and let the mat dry. We can also let some of our spills decorate the mat to create a whole new piece of art in the process! That’s why I think this cardboard mat is a really great solution. It’s easy to store and you can recycle it or make a new one when your kids outgrow it. It’s also costs only pennies to make. Let’s get started!

You’ll want to customize this project to the dimensions of the table where your child (or children) works. I originally made my pieces about 8.5 in. in width, but after using the mat, I added two pieces that were about 12 in. in width so that we could incorporate two easel panels that would accommodate a piece of computer paper that was oriented vertically.

When you put the panels together, tape every other seam, then flip the while thing over and tape the remaining seams. This makes the work mat easy to fold up in an accordion – style.

To affix the paper to the easel you have a few options. Here I just used tacks, but you can also use strong magnets on the front and back or a little bit of washi tape.

You could also punch holes in the cardboard and string some elastic through, which would still allow you to fold up the mat without added bulk.

Electra is hard at work on her first homemade gift for grandma’s upcoming birthday! A set of hand-painted (+ other interesting stuff she found and glued-on) note cards.

Happy Creating!



7 thoughts on “Using Cardboard to Make Easy Toddler Art Stations

  1. Great idea! I’ve been wishing we had a children’s easle, but don’t really have the space to store one. This may be the perfect solution!

  2. Wouh! Great! I wish I had thought about that when my children were small. I had asked my husband to make me a wooden one, but by the time he got around making it, the children were too old! I really enjoy your blog!

    • Thanks Maryline! It’s true that they grow faster than you can finish a project, and gosh those were the days before blogging!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *