Organize Arts & Crafts Supplies for Free!

DIY Arts and Crafts Caddy

A messy art table is a good thing. It means the kids have been creative and having fun. But since my kids’ art table is in our living room, sometimes I want to clean the table and put the supplies away.


messy art table

The problem is that all of the art supplies were in a bin, and the kids would pull everything out to get the one thing they wanted at the bottom of the bin. Maybe we didn’t need to get all of the art supplies out every time.

I looked on Pinterest to find ways to organize art supplies, and though there were many good ideas, most of them were mounted to the wall in a dedicated craft room. I want to be able to put the supplies away in a cabinet, so a craft caddy seems like the best fit.

I don’t want to buy anything, so I looked around my house for what I could use or recycle. Toilet paper tubes? Soup cans? I didn’t want to wait a month while I saved up enough. What did I already have?

Then I had an idea.

arts and crafts caddy idea

It’s the perfect fit, and it even comes with dividers and a handle to carry it.

I almost stopped there, but then I worried that I would be encouraging underage drinking by associating arts and crafts with handcrafted beer, so I spray painted it.

how to make arts and crafts caddy

To make your own arts and crafts caddy from a recycled six-pack carrier, first trace the bottom of the carrier onto a cereal box. You’ll need the extra cardboard to reinforce the bottom. Slide the cereal-box cutout into the bottom for additional support and to fill in the gaps on the sides. Then spray paint it.

Since it was free, I can make as many as I need. Maybe I will do one for each kid, or one for the most-used supplies and the rest of the supplies can go in another.

Maybe now the arts and crafts table will stay a little more clean, so there will be more room for creating.

arts and crafts

clear the clutter

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. Ah, this is BRILLIANT! :) As an artist myself, it’s ALWAYS a struggle to keep the supplies in check, especially after a particularly exhilarating drawing session. “How do I put this away? Now? But I’m so tired and on a high… maybe later…” … you know what happens next.

    I wish I had these organizers when I was a kid. Maybe it’s not too late… :)

    Thank you for the idea, Rachel!
    Mel Cabral´s last post…Control, alt, delete.

  2. Very clever solution! If all these art supplies would just stay on that table! I have four children and I never really found out why every.single.thing in this house always ends up on the floor for me to pick it up :-(
    Natacha´s last post…Making my own soy milk

  3. Awesome idea – love it! Very clever too. Perfect solution to tackle a constant clutter problem.
    Thrifty Mom in Boise´s last post…Spanish Rice Casserole

  4. Suzanne says:

    I have a few of those kinds of boxes set aside for that same sort of project. You got me thinking though and maybe I can use that same idea for knitting needles. Hmmm. You have my wheels turning!

  5. We use this to organize bathroom items, too, for ease of finding and moving.

    ALSO, cases of bottled soda or beer typically have dividers also and works well for larger projects and/or storing seasonal stuff.

    LOVE this.

  6. It’s official. You’re a genius. This is my kind of organizing.

  7. Nice job. When ours were little, we used a little snap-shut case that doubled as a lap-desk in the car. And, no crayons or markers allowed in those portable kits — only colored pencils in the car!
    Lori @ In My Kitchen, In My Life´s last post…Summer Staple : Chopped Salad with Feta, Lime, Mint, and Sunflower Seeds

  8. What a great idea! Inexpensive and it can be carried around.

  9. Oh we love reusing boxes… all kinds of boxes. I have a arty box just like that next to my desk for all my markers and things!!!

    Here’s a box use I think you will like: You know how little ones love a whole series of books… they never want one golden book, they want to read all twenty. I have used cut-off-cereal boxes to contain their book series and then they take the box off… read through their pile and then pop them back into the box and away on the shelf… so much easy than tipping books off shelves!!! (Step 5 of this post shows you how :
    Se7en´s last post…Se7en’s July…

  10. Genius! I have yet to worry about that sort of thing, since we’re currently childless and my idea of arts and crafts is making pictures with my m&ms before I eat them.

    I’m sure, though, that my kids will be more aesthetically inclined, so I should probably have a plan to give them an outlet for that. Thanks for letting me know that I don’t need an entire room devoted to glitter and pipe cleaners.
    Jennie´s last post…The Ability to Say No (Especially to Yourself)

  11. What a great idea! I have a couple of six-pack boxes that I had set aside for Pinterest-y Father’s Day craft that I never got around to doing. And I’ve been frustrated by the crayons EVERYWHERE lately.

    See, this is why I love your blog so much, practical AND cute!
    Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm´s last post…A Patriotic Book Review: The Last Refuge (Giveaway!)

  12. JenLarson says:

    Great idea!! I’ll be making these soon! Thanks for sharing!

  13. sheri grennille says:

    if you make one for each child, they can be child decorated too (at an arts and crafts session)…

  14. this is brilliant! right now I have a hard-to-reach craft drawer… this may just be user-friendly enough, even for me!

  15. Great idea! Now I want to drink beer and make art, though.
    Artchoo!´s last post…Ideas for Introducing Art Concepts to Your Unsuspecting Toddler

  16. Shiner Bock was my husband’s favorite beer when he lived in Oklahoma.

    Oh, and the art caddy is awesome too:)
    Katherine@YeOldCollegeTry´s last post…The Wait is Over

  17. I support your support of Shiner, the arts, and reuse. Gold stars all around!

  18. Great idea!

    I keep empty six packs around to coral the water bottles in the refrigerator. Much nicer than having them fall over every time you reach for something!

  19. Just the other day we had some Ginger Brew – yum! And I thought, instead of putting the box – it’s a four pack of bottles – in the recycling that I’d put it in my studio awaiting inspiration.
    The day of inspiration has arrived!!!
    Thanks Rachel!

    Wishing you An Extraordinary Independence Day!!
    Diane | An Extraordinary Day´s last post…Patriotic Wreaths | Two… Red, White, & Blue Flag Wreaths

  20. I cannot imagine why I didn’t think of this before. My writing/craft desk thanks you.

    Also, today’s xkcd comic made me think of you:
    Alyssa´s last post…Standing in Neutral, or, Just another day with the gremlins

  21. Great Idea! At some stores here they have plain white 6-pack boxes so you can choose your own individual bottles to make a 6-pack. I could have ‘the artist’ decorate the art box!
    Now to remember to pick one up the next time I’m in…

  22. Excellent Idea!! This way, one can manage the clutter and the art supply is reachable as well..
    Hetal@Real World´s last post…My life, My home, My rules !!!

  23. That is such a fantastic idea! I have been trying to think of something to put our pencils, textas, scissors etc in ever since our dog chewed the previous basket!
    Stephanie´s last post…How to cut your own hair.

  24. Great idea! After you paint it, you can seal it with a shellac and use it as an outside utensil/napkin holder as well.

  25. Wow, this is brilliant! And so obvious when you think about it – doh!

    I’m a real hoarder of boxes waiting to be put to brilliant use…
    Only problem is our beer tends to come wrapped in plastic. Ugh. I might just have to go and hunt out some boutique beer, what a shame… :D

    Just found you blog and can’t tear myself away!
    Liese@HighRawOmnivore´s last post…Spinach Dressing … or Dip :o)

  26. GingerR says:

    I’ve seen that same idea used in resturants to hold salt/pepper/napkins/silverware. If you eat on your deck or patio it’s a way to keep those things together for quick set-up. If it gets rained on you just drink some more beer and make a new one :)

  27. Love this idea, thanks!

  28. Loving this idea. My studio is very much in need of clearing and organizing. This might just do the trick! :) Thank you!

  29. What the what? This is so smart it’s silly! Great job, Rachel.
    Jules´s last post…Cape Optional