As an unschooling parent, I am always looking for ways to give my kids a creative outlet to explore and allow their natural curiosity to take flight. Because our family co-sleeps, our oldest son no longer needed his toddler bed so I decided to sell it to make room for a play space similar to the one that inspired me on Play At Home Mom. I love the see-through jars full of colorful supplies and the simple organization that keeps everything available at a kid-friendly level.
I put a post out on my Facebook page and a mom suggested I repurpose my crib, rather than sell it. Intrigued, I checked out Pinterest and found some amazing ideas for what to do with an old crib. I chose to make a craft center, similar to the one found at A Little Learning For Two. Normally, I don’t see myself as someone having time to do this sort of thing, but it was very easy and I managed to get this done in a matter of two weeks. Best of all, I didn’t have to paint, sand, drill or hammer a single thing. Delightfully, simple!
First, I started shopping. I wanted those clear containers, but I had the added requirement that they have lids to prevent unwanted spills, yet the lids had to be child-friendlyso my kids could open them. I found these awesome containers from BH&G at Wal-mart. They are a bit pricier than the Rubbermaid tubs you can get at the dollar store, but they suited my purpose so I made the investment. The boys loved them and they are incredibly sturdy, holding up to repeated open and closing of the lid latch as well as a few hard tumbles on the kitchen tile. Score!
We added all of our existing craft supplies into the jars and put them back on our existing make-shift craft shelf. Our craft supplies include: crayons, washable markers, pipe cleaners, feathers, googly eyes, sparkly glue, multi-colored poofs, sequins, various types of beads, yarn, sparkly glue, clothesline pins, construction paper, white and colored card stock, colored pencils, colored straws and washable paint.
Next, I started looking for ways to organize the jars on the crib. I found a variety of inexpensive and colorful baskets at Walmart and TJ Maxx, yet they were too thin to accommodate the jars. Finally, an errant trip down the bath aisle at Target scored these awesome metal baskets. They fit my smallest jars along with recycled tomato cans for pencils and paint brushes. Best of all, they simply hang over the side of my crib, however you could use zip ties if your crib rails are thick.
I also bought this bath supply tower at Target. It matches the baskets and we’ve placed it next to the crib against the wall. I was worried the boys might topple it over, but its fairly heavy and the boys are able to remove the jars easily without knocking it around. We liked the metal finish of these pieces as it gave the craft center a more industrial, male look, which is kinda cool. I also bought this over-the-door towel hanger that we are using for scissors. It’s not a necessity, but because I already had it, we put it to use.
Lowe’s helped me pick out the appropriate wood for the desk. We chose plywood instead of particle board for durability and to avoid warping. Our slab cost $43.00. Having removed the mattress, I measured the remaining spring frame, taking into consideration the attachment arms so that my wood board wouldn’t rub and had Lowe’s make the cut for me. Copying, A Little Learning For Two, we purchased blackboard paint with the intention of painting the wood, but for now we like the natural look at the boys are slowly making a cool graffiti effect as they doodle on the raw wood. I did sand the wood, especially the edges, prior to installing it on the crib. Although it was relatively smooth, the edges needed smoothing to avoid splinters.
I purchased two, black letter boxes at Target for about $10 each. These I zip tied to the ends of the crib to put sticker pages, colored paper and items that are too large for the jars. I chose black to match our crib, but you could also get pink or lime green, etc. especially if you visit an office supply store.
Finally, I added a mirror, also found at Target, for $5.00. It’s a fun touch that gives the boys some silly moments while they create. We make faces, draw faces and generally have fun with the reflective properties of the mirror. The stools were a steal from TJ Maxx and the perfect size. I think I paid $14 each, which is a big savings considering the $22 chairs I was considering. As a final touch, I painted an old cork board that I’d bought years ago at Kmart. I wanted an organized place to hang art instead of pinning it to the wall.
Both our boys loved the new art center! They climb on it, scribble on it, paint and sticker on it and generally are having fun exploring all the supplies. Jack loves his new found independence as he no longer has to ask us to get his supplies for him and Eli loves sitting on the little stools and painting like a big boy. Now, as soon as Eli stops napping, I’ll be able to repurpose his crib, too!