To say our girls love art is a huge understatement. To say they make a mess is an even bigger understatement. I’d initially planned to make their art space in our basement, but I don’t want to kick them out of our kitchen/living room (where all the action is). It’s their house too, after all.
Despite many promises to pick up their scrap paper and put caps on their markers, our kitchen island daily looked like the picture below. It was both a constant mess AND the girls couldn’t find anything. So how was I to fix this?? (And to be honest, I took this picture on a good day. 😆)
My mom actually came up with the idea to make a turntable with cups to hold their supplies. I’ll give her the credit for this one since, despite my expectations that it would make no difference, the girls really seem to be doing better with this system! 🤞🤞 At the very least, it’s easier for me to clean up their stuff.
You could make these with different containers – plastic cups, plastic baskets, tin cans, whatever. I used mason jars because they’re clear and so let the girls see what’s in them, plus they’re strong. I used old berry baskets because I’ve had them lying around forever. Basically, I used what I had and this project cost me $0. If you had to buy every single thing, I think you could still do it for under $50.
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Step 1: Paint/seal the base. Since I had 18-inch MDF rounds left over from when I’d bought a bunch on Etsy, that’s what I used for my lazy Susan’s base. But a wood round as a base would be pretty too. You could buy one at pretty much any store like Hobby Lobby or Michael’s, or you could even buy a preassembled turntable at Target, etc. If you don’t want to paint the wood, I’d suggest at least sealing it with polyurethane to help keep them stain-free and easier to clean up.
Since my round base was MDF, I had to paint and seal it. I went with a nice white paint that I applied with a roller in 2 coats. I didn’t bother with the underside, just the top and all around the sides.
Easy. I did consider getting creative and making a line down the middle of the circle, painting one half one color and one half another color. This would make it very clear which girl had which side. However, I knew there’d be a few things they’d have to share – tape, big glue bottles, etc. – so I decided to leave the base white so there’d be less arguing about where these things ended up. 🤷♀️ But “color coding” sections of the base would be a cute way to go too!
Once the white paint was dry, I took my base outside and sprayed on a clear gloss to seal and protect it.
Step 2: Color code the containers. I wanted each girl to have 3 mason jars and one basket. All of one girl’s containers would be pink; the other’s would be green. I knew I could easily paint the baskets, but I debated for a while how to distinguish which jars belonged to which girl. Tie on ribbons? Paint the jars but lose some of the transparency? I probably could have done a number of things, but the obvious answer hit me eventually – painting the jar rings and twisting them back on the appropriate jars.
Side note: Test to make sure your supplies fit in your containers! After testing with the girls’ new markers, I knew one of the mason jars for each girl would have to be ring-less so that the markers would fit better. Not a huge deal, but I’m glad I checked.
I used pink spray paint but had to paint the green containers by hand because that was the paint I had to work with. Spray painting the pink rings and basket was definitely easier, but still this whole painting step only took me about 20 minutes.
Once the paint was dry, I sprayed everything with the same clear gloss as the base.
Step 3: Attach the turntable hardware. (If you bought a preassembled turntable to begin with, this whole step is done for you.) I already had a cheap little plastic turntable that’s worked great as a helper when doing other projects. Since I got a bigger one for myself, I had my little one to use for this project.
Since the base needed to sit level on the turntable hardware, I flipped over the base and did quick measurements to find the center of the base’s underside. This center I marked with a pencil. Then I simply used some hot glue, drizzled it all over the turntable hardware, and stuck it over that center mark on the base.
Once the turntable was attached, I also stuck on some little bumpers to help the turntable not slip around or scratch my counters. If you use metal hardware, this would be extra important.
Step 4: Attach the containers to the base. Next, I flipped the base back over. I used the same hot glue and spread it around the undersides of the baskets, then firmly pressed them in place – one on each side of the circle.
That done, it was time to arrange and place the jars. Because hot glue doesn’t work on glass that great (I needed a really tight hold), I used some construction adhesive and squeezed it from a caulk gun around the undersides of the mason jars. Carefully positioning them in place, I pushed them down like I had with the baskets.
With all that on, I still had room between the baskets, so I decided to hot glue a crayon box facing each girl’s basket. This works really well so they don’t drop and spill the whole box, and they can see all their crayons right there facing them.
Step 5: Add the craft supplies! I’d made a run to Target for all new markers, colored pencils, glue sticks, etc. I’d also gotten a pink pair of scissors and a green pair of scissors, keeping with my color-coding plan. All these supplies I divided up equally and stuck in the containers, or else between the containers. Some things, like glue bottles and stencils, I sat on the base’s sides or right in the middle, hoping these “no man’s land” supplies would be shared amicably. For the markers that fit better in the jars without rings, it was still pretty clear whose was whose because those jars were right by the pink or green jars with other markers.
All done, I gave the turntable a test whirl and was glad to see everything stayed put! (I also tested at max velocity and still was safe! 😜)
A week later, I’m happy to report this all has stayed intact despite aggressive craft processes. It’s easy for the girls to see what they have to work with. They’ve so far been MUCH better about putting their things away because they like having their own sides and not having to share.
All in all, my mom might know what she’s talking about. My kitchen island and I are thankful.