As someone who has slowly built a big stash of creative tools over the years, one of the things I struggle with is how to organise them in a way that makes the tools accessible, streamlined, yet also kind of stylish. I have experimented with wooden dishes, cane baskets, plastic tubs, garden baskets, and just about every storage system from Ikea. But I often find what I use lacks personality, or is colourless. And I do love a bit of handmade embroidery and hand-stamped goodness.
Last year, I was faced with a challenge of how to organise a shelf in a kindergarten space. Children were given total access to this space and encouraged to help themselves for their creative explorations and consequently, by the end of the day, it often became a “shamozzle” (a big untidy mess!) of pencils, markers, sticky tape, rulers, crayons, chalk and staplers. My first goal was to somehow present the writing tools in a way that would encourage children and adults to once again care for the tools and the space, and remember to put things back where they came from. I knew from experience that the best way to do this would be to include the children somehow.
And so the idea for calico-covered pencil pots was born. I tore calico material into strips 2cm wide and just long enough to overlap the heights of the jars on both the top and bottom end. Then the children painted PVA craft glue onto the jars and attached the calico strips, overlapping each one slightly to ensure no glass was left uncovered. (Some of the younger children needed help to position the calico correctly.)
When the jars were dried, the children painted them using watercolour tempura blocks. The children LOVED this task!
Meanwhile, I sewed up a set of 7 simple hand-embroidered tags that we then attached around the rim of the jars after they dried.
Now, children happily and easily remember where to put their pencils when they finish drawing. And when they are in the creative process, it looks so lovely having the 7 coloured pots sitting on their work table.
You might like to make some too.
Download the Calico-covered Pencil Pots with hand-embroidered tags for full instructions, including pictures, of how to make your own.
(Hope you like the ready-made PDF I created. It takes about 10-15 seconds to download. It’s my way of making what I do a little more accessible and practical for you. It’s so much easier to have a page printed off than to follow instructions from a computer screen, don’t you think? Let me know if this works for you… or whether you prefer long-hand instructions on the blog page. Or both…? Leave a comment here!)
And if you like a particular crafty project, remember to share. Pin it, Facebook it, or send a tweet. Ta!