Encouraging an Artist: Create a Craft Nook

Creativity abounds at Grandmother Hen this month, as we are using simple crafting ideas to count down the days until Halloween. (Visit the Crafty CHICK section of our site for all of our fun craft ideas.) We want to inspire you, our creative Hens, to set aside time to draw out the inner artist in your little birds.

However, before sharpening the colored pencils and breaking the seal on that craft paint, consider dedicating a spot in your home for artistic activities. Whether you are using the kitchen table or carving out a full-time artists’ enclave, here are a few tips for creating a craft nook.

    • Surface. Crafting can truly take place anywhere, but it is preferable to have a large, flat workspace. Keep in mind that craft time can be messy, which is part of the fun. Use a surface that is easy to clean, won’t scratch and stain, or one where it won’t matter. If you do not have a surface like this, simply lay down a protective sheet before beginning a project. (You can buy inexpensive oilcloth in fun patterns and custom sizes on Etsy.com.) If your work surface is high off of the ground, be sure that small children are securely seated in a reliable chair or fastened into a booster seat.
    • Lighting. Choose a well-lit space or create one with lamps. There will be fewer spilled items and nicked fingers if crafters young and old can see what they are doing.
    • Supplies. The key to successful crafting is having a plentiful stash of supplies. This does not mean that you need to break the bank or buy out Hobby Lobby. With twigs, string, tape, glue and an old newspaper, you can fill an art gallery with creative creations. Just be sure to have plenty of materials on hand.
    • Storage. It is every crafter’s dream to have a craft room with shelves and cabinets that go on for days. If you do have a space like this, we’re jealous! (Do you want to see some amazing craft alcoves? Visit Pinterest.com and search “craft room.”) For most of us, it is a challenge to carve out even a hole in the closet for anything new. Large plastic bins with secure lids will do the job for storing your craft supplies. Stash the bins out of the way when not in use and pull them out when having designated DIY time. Your grandkids will regard these bins as magical and mysterious memory-makers.
    • Inspiration. Craft inspiration is everywhere! Start documenting it. Make an inspiration board or booklet where you and your grandchildren keep project ideas. Clip pictures from magazines, jot down notes on a craft you saw somewhere and draw sketches of original ideas. Keep your inspiration resource close to your craft space or supply bins, so you will always have ideas to get you started.
    • Clean up. Preferably, your crafting area is in close proximity to a sink for handwashing and quick clean up after spills. If not, have paper towels and water or wet wipes handy. Also, be sure that any supplies you use with pigment in them are washable. Craft time is an opportunity to teach kids about cleaning up after themselves. Try to remember to leave enough time for cleaning up after the activity is finished. Make future crafting time dependent on proper clean up.
    • Display. Show off your stuff! The best part of creating craft projects is that they become instant decorations. Your little birds will be delighted to see their original work hanging in your house or adorning the front porch. It is especially nice to make projects in advance of an upcoming holiday for easy, inexpensive decorations. (Did we mention our Crafty CHICK Halloween series?!?)

While artistic passion may be something your grandchildren are born with, you can play an important role in nurturing and encouraging that talent. As you craft together, remember to foster creative freedom and actively guide the artistic process. Who knows, you may even find an inner artist in you that you didn’t realize was there. Happy crafting and enjoy your new craft nook!

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