Search form

The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002
  • Tues. – Fri. 10am – 4pm
  • Saturday 10am – 5pm
  • Sunday 12pm – 5pm

Visit the carle


Making Art Together

Displaying Art Materials For All Ages

As The Carle's Every Day Art Program Educator, I have the unique challenge designing the drop-in art activities for The Studio's ongoing Every Day Art Program that change every 4-6 weeks.  We regularly offer a variety of projects: bookmaking, painting, sculpture, collage, drawing and printing to name a few! Whether our guests are novice art makers or seasoned veterans, anyone can try their hand at our current activity and use the materials at their level of expertise.

 One of the often overlooked details of designing each art project is figuring out the best way to organize the art materials guests will use at the tables in various sized baskets. 

For one of our recent projects about map making I designed some fun new labels to organize the drawing tools into warm, cool and neutral colors.  To help our young guests learn the different color families, the paper liners match each family.  There are small dots matching the drawing tools' hues and familiar images from Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar also in warm, cool or neutral colors.  We use brass fasteners instead of tape to stick the cardstock labels to each basket. We prefer to use brads instead of tape or glue so the baskets don't get as sticky over time.

The photos below are the basic steps we follow for labeling our baskets.  1. Stick the label to a precut piece of cardstock that fits snugly on one side of the basket.

2. Use a bookmakers awl or another sharp tool to make a hole where you want your brass fastener to go.

3. Secure the fasteners to the back of the basket and add the materials. 

For wet or messy art materials we even laminate the labels to make them last longer. When the labels are not in use we store them in drawers by category, then they're easy to find the next time we want to reuse them.

Whenever we can we add a small photo next to the words for our non-reading guests. That way children can help cleanup by matching the pictures. Since we use a lot of paper for our activities we try and change up how we prepare and display them on the trays. Sometimes we organize it by shape (triangles, squares or rectangles for instance).

The Eric Carle Museum Studio Blog

Other times the labels are more general, like "drawing tools" and "collage papers" so we can reuse the same labels for future projects.

Eric Carle Inspired Labels/ The Eric Carle Museum Studio Blog

We also design signage for specific projects to help guests take their projects further like, "How to make an accordion book."

Eric Carle Inspired Labels/ The Eric Carle Museum Studio Blog

How do you organize the art supplies in your classroom or at home for children?

The Eric Carle Museum Studio Blog

by Diana MacKenzie

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 14th, 2013 at 11:20 am and is filed under By Diana MacKenzie, Space to Create, Our Approach. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a reply

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
  1. Melissa Guion says:

    Fondly remembering my first visit to the Carle last summer. My daughter and I had a wonderful time in the studio. Everything is supremely well organized, especially compared to my home art cabinet!

  2. Bec Perkins says:

    Great idea to prepare the artistic supplies as per the Age as kids use the different artistic supplies compare to parents or aged ones. Labeling the artistic supplies will also ease up your work. --------x---------x------------x---------x---------

Also follow us at: 


To Top