How to Set up an Art Cart

If you’re looking for ways to organize your most frequently used art supplies, the rolling, portable art cart could be a great solution. While we haven’t always had an art cart, I now appreciate that our everyday supplies have their own place, and that the cart can roll around the house and park itself right next to wherever my children decide to make their mark. 

How to set up and Art Cart  for easy-to-reach, everyday art supplies | TinkerLab

What’s on the Art Cart?

There are three broad categories of materials that go onto our cart. You can fill your cart with exactly what you see here, or substitute some of the items for things that are used more frequently in your home. The materials on our cart reflect my kids’ daily interests in drawing and making 2-D art. While you won’t see building and paint supplies on our cart, we do store these other art-making supplies nearby.

How to set up and Art Cart  for easy-to-reach, everyday art supplies | TinkerLab

Here’s what goes into our cart, for children ages 3 and 5

Top Shelf: Drawing and Cutting Tools

  1. Washable Markers
  2. Pencils and Colored Pencils
  3. Crayons
  4. Scissors
  5. Paintbrushes

Middle Shelf: Attaching Tools

  1. Tape: Colorful washi tapes, colored masking tape, and clear tape
  2. Glue: White glue, colored glue, and glue sticks
  3. String: baker’s twine, cotton twine 
  4. Stapler

Bottom shelf: Treasures

  1. Stickers
  2. Pom-poms
  3. Sequins
  4. Wiggly eyes
  5. Buttons
  6. Color coding labels
  7. We sometimes store our sketchbooks on the bottom shelf too

Other ideas

Dough Tools: Sculpting Cart

  1. Play dough
  2. Play dough tools
  3. Air dry clay
  4. Mini muffin pan
  5. Spoons and bowl

Building Tools: Tinkering Cart

  1. Low-heat glue gun
  2. Recyclables
  3. Broken toys and appliances
  4. Hammer
  5. Tacks
  6. Goggles
  7. Duct Tape
  8. Scissors
  9. Screwdriver

Paint Tools: Painter’s Cart

  1. Tempera Paint
  2. Watercolors
  3. Paintbrushes
  4. Rags
  5. Water containers
  6. Apron
  7. Paper

How the Art Cart Works

When my kids want to create something, the art cart is self-service. They can find what they need, remove it from the cart, and then put it back in its place when they’re done. These are some of the projects we’ve worked on with materials form our art cart (top to bottom):

How to set up and Art Cart  for easy-to-reach, everyday art supplies | TinkerLab

  1. Sequins, beads, and buttons stuck into dough
  2. Homemade crown with Sharpies, glue stick, and scissors
  3. Office stickers and Tape in paper frames
  4. Paper doll with clear tape, stickers, and permanent marker

Where to buy an Art Cart

Ikea:

  • We love our Raskog Kitchen Cart. Like anything IKEA, you have to assemble it yourself, but it’s not a difficult assembly. The cart is sturdy (made of steel), the casters are solid, and I don’t imagine we’ll have to replace it any time soon.
  • As of this date, these come in turquoise, dark grey, and beige.

Amazon:

There are lots of choices on Amazon. We’re an affiliate and selected a few carts that look promising.

Do you like this post? Pop over here to see our Art Cart in Action

 

Comments

  1. says

    What an awesome idea. We’ve been struggling to keep art supplies organized and I’m reluctant to get rid of too much for the sake of having a spotless (who am I kidding) play area. I can see my 1 year old going crazy with the cart, but I’m putting this on the back burner to come back to in a few months maybe. Or do you have an idea of how I could make this crazy toddler friendly?

  2. Maria B says

    I have this exact cart (that I got in the “as is” dept of Ikea already put together and with a scratch on it…(though I’ll have to take their word for it since I totally can’t find it)….SCORE!! This looks great and looks very functional. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. says

    When that IKEA cart first came out, this is the exact use I had in mind! I haven’t gotten around to putting an art cart together yet, but this post is exactly what I needed to get inspired. I’ve been pulling my hair out with markers and crayons strewn everywhere. Thanks for the inspo!

  4. says

    I’ve had the rainbow carts with the drawers. I don’t recommend them, the drawers fall out easily. But I’m headed to IKEA soon!

    • rachelle says

      Hi Nena,
      It’s made from tubes and connectors from our “Fort Magic” kit. You could make something similar from PVC pipe and connectors, although be cautious since PVC is not the safest thing to expose kids to.
      Cheers,
      Rachelle

  5. Kary says

    Hi! I found your wonderful blog through the Artful Parent. I love your art cart and I’m in the process of setting up something similar. Where did you purchase the little buckets to hold crayons, markers, etc? Thank you so much for sharing this—I love how organized, accessible and inviting it is!
    On a unrelated note, what do you do with all of your children’s art work?? I try to display my sons’ pieces for a bit and then keep the favorites in a plastic bin for each of them under a bed, while recycling the rest. We have a small house with limited storage and living space, so displaying and keeping their sculptures/play-doh and clay creations is challenging….

    • Rachelle says

      Hi Kary,
      I’m so glad that you found me. I found the buckets in the dollar section at Target, and I still see them there (with a slightly different look) occasionally. Keep your eye out! As for my kids’ art, I only display a very small bit of it and the rest goes into scrapbooks or a big bin, like you, where we keep milestone pieces. Three dimensional pieces are kept for a short while and then usually photographed and then recycled. My kids are completely fine with this and aren’t too attached to keeping everything around for very long I hope that helps!
      Rachelle

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