Want to incorporate an art center into your classroom but don't have enough space for an art easel? No problem! My husband built this compact art center for me for less than $10 several years ago. I love being able to not only use that empty wall by the sink but have the art center so close to the sink.
We purchased shower board from Home Depot for about $5 and they were kind enough to cut it to size for me. My husband built a small "frame" around the back of it and attached it to the wall with small cabinet hinges. He also added a small block of wood underneath near the bottom with another hinge. That way I can just pull the block of wood down so the board will hang at an angle if needed so the paint will not run down the paper as quickly. (Sorry to all of the visual learners such as myself...the close up pictures I took of the back & underneath did not turn out well!)
I had some old clipboards that I took the clip off of using a small screwdriver and screwed them into the easel to hold the children's artwork in place. The clipboards are only 98¢ at Walmart if you do not have any old clipboards lying around. There is actually enough space for 3 kids to work at a time but I only added 2 clips for papers because that is all that I had on hand at the time.
The paint tray came off of an old broken easel that I just happened to find in storage. My original plan was to use a $3 plastic tray from Home Depot that is used for drywall mud or spackle.
So there you have it!
A compact art center!
On a side note, I change out the art mediums and/or activities in my art center quite frequently so I am not always cleaning up paint. Here are some suggestions that I can come up with right off the top of my head....
- Dry erase markers- Write directly on the board so no paper is needed.
- Artist oil pastels (that's what is in tray in the picture above)
- Dot Art Painters (Bingo dabbers)
- Water colors
- Finger paints
- Gel pens/markers & black construction paper
- Stencils & Colored Pencils
- Glitter glue (trace name and/or sight words)
- Wikki Sticks are great to stick directly to the board on outline/trace name or sight words on a paper that has been clipped to the easel.
- Rubber Stamps & ink pads