4 Ideas for containing the mess when painting with kids

12 February 2020

Containing the mess – is it even possible?

I will start with a disclaimer here; I don’t actually care all that much about the mess…I mean heck if I did I would definitely be in the wrong line of work! However, I do understand that when in the home environment it’s a different story. So, here are four things that I do in the Creative Makes studio that you can translate into your homes that will help contain (sorry can’t eliminate when dealing with kids and paint) the mess.

1. Use Trays
Those who have been to the studio would see that I often use trays for our activities. This is for two reasons, firstly it gives a sense of focus to the space the children will be creating in, secondly it contains the mess! Admittedly, some activities we do it doesn’t matter what precautions I take; it ends up EVERYWHERE, but the trays do tend to minimize it. You can get specialised fancy trays, but the ones we use in the studio were about $4 each and are actually kitty litter trays! They fit an A4 piece of paper perfectly, and because of the deeper sides they can also double as a sensory tray, filled with salt, sand, or cornflour goop! You can purchase them from places like Kmart, Target or Bunnings. I do recommend getting one that is a more neutral colour, so the kids can see their art while they are working.

2. Choose Your Space Wisely
Outside is always going to be the easiest place to clean up after, so that is always my go to when looking at places to set up at home. If you don’t have a suitable area outdoors at your house, I recommend the following when deciding on a space to use:

3. Have Your Clean Up Equipment Nearby
In the studio, on hand at all times we have; a mop with a bucket already filled with water, a dustpan and broom, a small bucket filled with water and a cloth, a larger bucket filled with water for hand washing, and towels. I cannot tell you how many times this has SAVED MY LIFE!

4. Tablecloths
I am not a fan of plastic tablecloths, yes, they work well and you can just bundle them up and chuck them in the bin…but they are REALLY bad for the environment. They also slide all over the place and can get static, so they stick to everything…how annoying!!

In the studio we use curtain lining like this as table cloths. I originally got this idea from a fabulous Kinder Teacher that I worked with, and I have been doing it ever since. The absolute best part about this is that because you don’t throw it away it ends up with layers of accidental art on it, and it becomes a magnificent piece of art in its own right. We often have people admiring our tablecloths, check them out below!

If you would rather keep the mess for someone else to clean up I GET IT that is why we have our Micro Makers classes!

I would love to hear your thoughts about messy art play in your house and how you make it work!

Mel xox