We have a craft cupboard that I think I would love and have even if I didn't have children.
It is not a thing of conventional beauty, housed as it is in an old, battered dresser that has been passed down the family.
But to me it is wonderful and every so often, when I get fed up of not being able to find anything any longer, I spend a couple of blissful hours sorting it out.
And that's the only potential drawback: to have an efficient craft cupboard that makes getting creative easy for your children, you need to purge and organise every so often.
With the summer holidays looming, I've been thinking, ordering and tinkering with our cupboard.
First of all you need to think carefully about where to place it. It's obviously no good if it's in the shed, or inaccessible to children. We want them to be able to create to their heart's content easily and often.
Ours is placed next to the kitchen table but this is proving problematic. The table is never clear, it always has scissors, cut up pictures, stray pencils all over it which makes getting supper for everyone an even more stressful event than it needs to be.
So now we've sorted out our family room the cupboard is, once again, on the move. It'll have a prominent position, next to a small craft table for the little ones and a bigger desk for the older children. Peace restored.
The next thing to think about is what exactly will be your cupboard. Once you know where it's going, there are plenty of options out there to find something to fit. Ikea is brilliant for cheap but efficient storage and even its catalogue is useful for inspiration.
One thing I would advise is no matter what your cupboard is, make sure you have somewhere to shut or put up high things that you may not want your children to get without supervision.
My younger children now just get a chair and move it so they can reach into the top for the paint, so ensure it's not going to topple on them by investing in some brackets to screw it to the wall.
Now onto the fun stuff - what are you going to stock in your cupboard?
Obviously it all depends on your child and interests but here's a selection of things that can be found in ours:
* Googly eyes: These seem vital. As do small things like pom-poms, glitter, feathers and sequins. They are contained in a box with lots of dividers which start off looking nice but after being upended a couple of times, is a mess. Still, it's a must-have for us. Baker Ross is great for a whole range of stuff.
* Clips and pins: Split pins, drawing pins (for displaying the artwork), paper clips, safety pins are all useful and, for the younger children, used under supervision.
* Paints: We have a range from watercolour, acrylic to poster. We've not tried oil paints yet, I'm not sure I could cope with those.
* Decent pencils: A range of pencils, charcoal, watercolour and skin tones can be found in the cupboard and particularly enjoyed by the older children.
* Pastels: There are some lovely ones about and are great for blending. We bought some fixative spray too just to minimise mess and preserve the work.
* Paper: The older children, particularly, like having the relevant paper to use with their watercolour paints and pastels. And the younger children seem to go through it at a rate of knots so we have a large selection. Card is handy too for making thank-you notes. We also have a roll of lining paper (available from diy stores) for large paintings outside.
* Fabric: Odds and ends from clothes too old and holey for the charity shop bag find their way here as well as bits picked up from the bargain bins at fabric shops.
* Ribbon, buttons and wool: All extremely useful and not too pricey to pick up. Grandparents are usually a good source for this sort of stuff.
* Egg boxes and cartons: This is trickier to store but if you can find somewhere it's a great imagination booster. Then, of course, you have to find somewhere to display the resulting robot/rocket/house.
* Kits: We don't have too many of these but the children have been given ones such as mosaics, lantern making and mug decorating. They are fun but I prefer more open ended craft supplies.
* Sewing and knitting supplies: The older girls have sewing boxes that I'm envious of (thanks to generous aunts) and there is always a supply of knitting needles, crochet hooks and yarn (thanks to my inability to finish projects).
* General stuff: PVA glue is essential to many projects as are scissors (we have a variety with wibbly, curvy edges). Glue sticks are easy to use and we have a couple of traditional paintboxes for when the younger ones want to paint but I need it to be as mess free as possible.
This may look a little daunting but our craft supplies have been gathered over time and supplemented with birthdays and Christmas presents. However, I am happy to splurge on materials now and again, believing creativity is an important part of a balanced life and one that schools do not always have time to focus on.
Do you have any must-have craft supplies? Let us know!
Suggested For You
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more