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Crafting with Kids: 5 Tips to Keep Messy Projects Clean

By: Sara Raffensperger, Editor, AllFreeKidsCrafts.com
Crafting with Kids 5 Tips to Keep Messy Projects Clean
Crafting with Kids 5 Tips to Keep Messy Projects Clean
This image courtesy of AllFreeKidsCrafts.com

You may think it's impossible to keep the area clean when you're crafting with kids. Paint, glue, and beads (don't forget the glitter) will inevitably get in places you weren't expecting. However, we're here to help you make your clean up time easier. After reading Crafting with Kids: 5 Tips to Keep Messy Projects Clean, you aren't going to worry that the paint won't come out of your sweater, because the paint won't even be on your sweater! It's all about being careful in your crafting space and taking precautions so you don't have to worry about it later. There are a lot of simple craft ideas for kids, but the aftermath isn't simple or easy! After you hose off the kids, you think about power-washing the living room too. Take out the stress of easy kids crafts and put back in the love and fun.
Crafting with your kids is such a joy. Seeing their faces light up as they learn a new skill or make something new is what you live for. However, cleaning up after them takes a bit of a shine off the wonderful experience. We're here to help make your life a little easier so you can keep doing your favorite fun craft ideas for kids.

5 Tips to Keep Messy Projects Clean

  1. Cover the play space 
    One of the easiest and simplest ways to keep an area clean is to cover it. You can use a drop cloth, old towels or table cloths, or even a cheap shower curtain you found in a dollar store. If it's a plastic surface then they can be easily wiped clean if there's a crafting accident. Staying clean doesn't have to be expensive or complicated! It should make your life significantly easier and allow you to craft with your kids more often.

  2. Take messy projects into the bath
    Kids love to spread paint everywhere. It will get on clothes, in hair, and embedded in the carpet. Some kids (ahem, me) like to paint their entire body when their parents aren't looking, which will end up being a cleaning nightmare. You don't want to stop doing fun art projects, but you're running out of carpet cleaner. So, the genius solution is to let the kids get dirty in the place where they can get clean again! Take the washable paints into the bath tub and let them paint on the walls and the tub. Clean up is as simple as turning on the shower and letting the paint circle the drain.

  3. Make cleaning a game
    Kids love to play games and they're too young to realize that you're actually making them do chores. My sister would always tell me that whatever we were doing was a race, so I would run around cleaning (even doing her part) because I wanted to win.
    Sing a song, talk about how much fun cleaning is, or make it a race. They'll get used to cleaning up after themselves as they grow older, and they'll hopefully keep the habit!

  4. Cover the kids in smocks
    They don't actually have to be artist's smocks for children. You can use oversized shirts that you no longer wear or go to a thrift store and poke around until you find something that will work. The point is just to cover your child's clothes so that they do not ruin what they're wearing. You don't have to cover them just for painting. They can be protected from the craft elements no matter what they're doing!

  5. Limit materials during crafting
    I'm not saying that you shouldn't give them paint. I'm saying that you shouldn't give them all the paint at once. Give them a small amount at a time and then replenish their supply if they need it. This will cut down on mess and will also preserve your supplies so you can craft again!

What's your favorite tip for cleaning up after your kids? Let us know in the comments!

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So many good ideas! I am definitely going to limit the materials provided going forward- such an obvious solution! :)

This is very helpful, and good advice for adults as well as children! Thank you, Sara!

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