Monday, November 28, 2011

The Art Box

[And a Give-away]

So you may have noticed the other day that Maddie and I moved to the kitchen floor in order to properly Create.  That was partly because our canvases (actually they were foam-core boards) were 20x30 inches, and partly because our table was over-run with supplies... there was just no room for us.

Elmer's asked me a few weeks ago if I'd be interested in participating in their Looks For Less Challenge.

The idea was they would send me a few supplies and a $25 Visa for additional needed supplies, and I would come up with... something.  :)

The supplies they sent me were:
  • Craftbond repositionable glue stick
  • Craftbond extra strength glue stick
  • Craftbond all-purpose glue stick
  • Designer series Xacto knife
  • a Painter's calligraphy paint pen set
  • a Painter's bright colors paint pen set
  • a Painter's craft colors paint pen set
  • one 20x30 black foam-core board
  • two 20x30 white foam-core boards
You already know a few ways we've celebrated these fine materials, if you follow along regularly.
We used the foam boards for our giant family art collages.
We have used the paint pens a few times, most recently to make our Beaded Holiday Art.

But... hmmm..... what to make?

Finally, this morning, I had it.
The Idea.

An art box!
A sturdy box.... lots and lots of compartments.... instead of twelve baskets and buckets on the kitchen table, we could put them all in one place.  Because, as you know, 'tis Crafting Creating Season.  :)

So with only a very vague plan -which really just meant that I was hoping it would turn out alright-  I began.

The great thing about foam boards are that you can cut part way through on one side, and then crack it, and it still stays together.  (Much like very, very strong cardboard)

So I just started like that.  Made a U shape, and glued it to another U shape.  I kept going, and then glued a long piece along both sides and ends, and then another full-size piece to the bottom, connecting once more to my completed compartment conglomeration.  :)

I know.  It looks terrible, doesn't it???  :)

I needed paper, obviously, to tidy up my foamy edges.  I think I used about six pieces of scrapbook paper.
This worked really well, as it reinforced my structure.

(often, my paper coverings looked like this!)

After that was all done, I wanted a trim for the bottom, so I chose something that I thought would look pretty, and got Maddie's okay for the final touches.  (It's her box, after all.  I want her to love it.)
I finished the underside of the box with another piece of paper.
When I started loading the box, even though the compartments seemed small and workable when I was making it, some of them were just too big.  As many markers and crayons we have, I couldn't fill up those spaces in a tidy manner.  Eric had just brought home something with this cardboard that's the thickness of a cereal box, but is meant to frame large glass, and it's super strong.  So I cut little strips of that, covered them in paper, bent them to fit in my compartments, and now I had more smaller compartments!
Sweet.  :)
Bonus:  These can be removed for larger creativity tools, or a space for little cups or canisters.  I love having these removable ones for the versatility they provide!

Lastly, I wanted a handle.
I thought I had a 3/4 inch dowel, but couldn't find it, but found a smaller one (3/8", is what it looks like).

I thought it would be pretty with three of them, so I cut them to size with my magic gardening tool, and then rubbed the ends with sandpaper to smooth them out.

I knew that Maddie had a ladybug ribbon that we got at Michaels's last year for $1, so I brought that up from downstairs, hoping it would match alright,

and it did!
I loved it with our box.

I wrapped the ribbon underneath the box, brought it up, double-knotted it, then knotted it again around one end of the three cut dowels.
Did the same with the other side.

I added a bit of glue to the ribbon at the bottom and at the bottom edge of the box, for stability.

There!  'Tis finished.

As seen loaded, we have 15 gel pens, several tubes of glitter glue, four pair of decorative scissors, giant glue stick, Elmer's glue, small glue stick, roll of tape, four stamp pads, three pencils, one pen, crayons, large, medium, and small scented markers, many different kinds of colored pencils, two regular scissors, at least a dozen rubber stamps, 4 giant dual-tip permanent markers

Maddie loves it as (maybe) as much as I do.

Supplies used:
  • one entire large, extra-strength glue stick (supplied from Elmer's)
  • one 20x30 foam board (supplied)
  • two regular sized hot glue sticks (for the sealed edges, where glue stick wouldn't do the job)
  • six or seven sheets of 11x11 scrapbook paper
  • Painters paint pen for touch-ups (supplied)
  • Xacto precision knife (supplied)
  • cardboard we had lying around
  • ribbon we already had
  • about 1/2 of a wooden dowel we already had
Cost : $ Nothing.

Here's where you come in... if you're wanting a few supplies for ornaments and holiday crafts, leave a comment, and we'll put your name in the hat for a box of some goodly things for you.
You'll receive (from Elmer's)
  • black 20x30 foam board (my beloved family board that we covered in acrylic paint was black)
  • white 20x30 foam board
  • Craftbond all-purpose glue stick
  • Craftbond extra strength glue stick
  • Craftbond repositionable glue stick
  • Xacto Designer Series Gripster knife
  • Painter's assorted colors paint pen set (these will be black, green, red, blue, and white. They cost a little over $10 per pack, and they write beautifully on cloth, over other paints, on metal, glass, wood... the list goes on and on)
They've offered two packages, one to two winners!


  1. I love it. Craft supply organization around here is quite fluid. we have gone from large organization to individual. I bet this box is perfect for covert and mobile creating

  2. I would love love love a chance to win such a great pack! Thanks Steph, and Elmers :)

    That box is awesome!!!

  3. I love your craft ideas, can't wait to try some with my children! Your blog is so encouraging!

  4. We are always looking for a way to organize crafting supplies, both for the kiddo and for me. We would love to have some extra supplies to do it with :)

  5. Oh Steph, this little tote is gorgeous! We are big fans of foam board around here--we use it all the time.

    Throw my hat in the ring...I'd love to win some crafty things from Elmer's!

    Thank you!

  6. Love this! So creative and compact

  7. Just wanted to say hi and I totally love your cool art box!!!

  8. What a fantastic idea! Love it.

    And oooh what we could do with those supplies..but alas I'm assuming the giveaway is US only? (I'm in the UK)

  9. I am in love with your box!! Just this week I was searching for something similar for our homeschool so I think we will make it! Thanks for the idea!!

  10. I'm game. The art caddy is great, I love the angled sections they add "flare" to it.

  11. ooh ooh! yes! yes! the box turned out so beautifully! we've been using old clementine boxes...
    those would be some fun supplies to add to the evolving art room!

  12. Ah, Joxy, I would love to (and certainly I know where you are! :) ), but you're right... most the time they just don't give that option of shipping to anywhere. It would be nice if they'd be open to "pay the difference"! I would appreciate that!

  13. ok, that is just sweet. what a way to have it all together. i struggle often with getting our crafting stuff in a somewhat manageable arrangement... mostly for my sanity. lol i might try this out. great idea. :)

  14. my daughter wou8ld love this!

  15. I love this...I'm thinking of making one for lego bits as well.

  16. This is such a wonderful idea. Our craft stuff is such a mess. I'd love to paint one of those big boards too.

  17. Wow, what a cool giveaway! Thank you for the chance to win. btw, I really love your blog, I've started checking it frequently. We unschool as well, so it's always interesting (to me, at least!)to see how other unschooling families structure their days!


  18. Any of the goodies would be put to great use around here! (Not to mention your delightful art caddy!)

  19. I love this idea! However, with a two-and-a-half-year-old in the house, the supplies wouldn't remain in the box for long. I'm keeping this idea for when she is older :-) In the meantime, I have several different containers, that way she doesn't empty all of them at once (well, not usually ;-)

  20. Wow! That is really neat.

  21. This is awesome! With 9 kids, we have a lot of craft stuff. Maybe I just need to make them each on of these!

  22. Love your art box! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity. We can always use art supplies in our place- especially glue sticks!!


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!