This post is sponsored by STAINMASTER®. All opinions are 100% my own.
A craft room is a dream, where we can be creative, express ourselves, and display all of our favorite craft supplies in a rainbow of color. If you love craft rooms like me, then you can probably spend hours looking at perfect, creative spaces online. I love a well-organized, well-lit craft room tour! I have a confession: the messiest room in my house is my craft room. If you're crafty, then you know how much of a mess all that crafting fun can generate. From all of the supplies to messy art media like paints and sprays, strings and threads from sewing projects and lint from fabric, crafting is one messy hobby. I love my home and my craft space, even when it is messy. I know I am not alone in feeling a love for the creativity of the mess but also a love of a clean, orderly home. The mess is actually something I struggle with – I am a self professed neat freak. So how do I handle the mess of crafting and still experience the joy of creating?
First, let's take a look of my craft room in real life:
My perfect mess: a living craft room
This photo is of my actual, working craft studio on any regular day: last Monday. You know those pristine photos of craft rooms and art studios with everything positioned just so, with clean floors and one tidy project on their work table that we all dream about? I love those snapshots that capture the calm “before” the craftermath. But it's the actual crafty mess where the real beauty is; the art of creating! The minute you start crafting, the minute you start living in that space, it gets messy. There's tinsel bits on the floor, a paint splatter on the table, glitter stuck between the floorboards, and maybe even a pile of ribbon that fell behind a cabinet. It's in these imperfect areas that the craft space becomes yours and becomes a part of your home.
RELATED POST: 2016 Annual Craft Room Tour
Growing up with a crafty grandma, I remember her sewing room being messy with piles of fabric and patterns and her office with framed pieces of our art on the walls, alongside piles of paperwork for her home business as a financial planner. There was a beauty in that space and an easiness that allowed us as kids to express ourselves creatively. Your messy life can be beautiful, it can be a “perfect moment” because of the mess.
I chose to work with STAINMASTER® on this post because they make products that stand up to the wear and tear of everyday life, so we can all live more comfortably in our homes. I love this idea. Imagine a home that is all about the life you want to live, and not about avoiding potentially messy situations? I think that is what we all dream of, even as kids! My daughter often tells me that our house is cleaner than any of her friend's homes so, you know, I don't need to be so fixated on my clean-obsessed ways. There is no comparison that needs to be made; all of our homes are lived in and our messes show how we connect as a family. I do love a freshly mopped floor though, I won't lie! But even in my craft room clutter, I can see beauty.
One of the biggest sources of clutter in my craft space is that I bring new things into my space every day. It might be a bag of faux pumpkins from the craft store today or a bolt of fabric I am going to make into pillows tomorrow. Getting new supplies is part of the crafty fun! Some days it is online shipments of craft supplies I ordered and other days it is cool products a friend sent me. And sometimes it is a haul from a garage sale or thrift shop. Seeing these items in my space, even if it is in a pile in the middle of the floor, brings me joy. It's all of the excitement about what a great deal I got combined with my excitement about how these items will become a really fun craft project.
RELATED POST: How to make crepe paper flowers
I sometimes get so caught up in the cleaning and tidying up of the space that I don't enjoy it. Have you been there too? I wonder if I am organizing for the sake of organizing. Really, after I dump that bag of faux pumpkins on the floor, the next time I need to touch them is when I am making something with them; there's no need to fuss over putting them away. Maybe by seeing them piled in haphazard way, I can visualize a cool new way to use the pumpkins in a craft project. Letting the mess happen lets our creativity explore new paths. It's like being in a store and seeing a messy, over the top display. It feels homey, it feels real and lived in, and it is exciting. The creativity from a perfectly imperfect display just jumps right out at you! I often think of this local decor store that had stacked up 20 or so air mattresses in a topsy turvy way and dressed each one in bedding sets they offered. It was so fun and whimsical that it inspired me to create a mini scrapbook that has topsy turvy stacks of pages. That whimsy needs a little bit of mess to flourish and manifest itself in your creativity.
Do you have a “perfect mess” in your home? Maybe it's a corner where you and the kids play board games or maybe it's the kitchen after a fun day of baking holiday cookies. Share your story with STAINMASTER® for a chance to be one of three lucky winners to receive free flooring for one room in their home plus a $500 retail gift card. CLICK HERE to enter your #MyPerfectMess photo and to learn more about the contest. Good luck!
How my space has changed over the years
For the last nine years, I have a had a dedicated space in my house for crafting. It started out as one 13'x13′ room and has evolved to now encompass 24% of my entire house! It used to be just me crafting in my space but now my entire family uses the space. I recently ditched my formal dining table at a yard sale and totally absorbed our empty formal living and dining room into my craft space. I think my husband thinks I am crazy … he shakes his head at me a lot!
My previous “craft room” doubles as an office. I get inspired from the paint bottles on the wall and the art I've purchased from etsy sellers hanging over my workspace. I have an extra desk in the adjacent room where my kids can do homework but they also get creative in this space. My daughter Katie sews through her work as a costume designer and stage manager for her high school drama club. My husband does wood working and some metal and resin projects. And my son Matthew loves painting and coloring. Our craft room is a place we can come together and live as a family.
RELATED POST: Craft Room Tour 2010 – our most popular!
When people come over to my house, they enter through this front room, which was the formal living and dining room, and is now where my craft space begins. A delivery man was here the other day and he just looked around in wonder, finally asking, “what do you do in here? This looks so fun!”. You really can create the life you want to live in your home. So what if the floor plans says I need fancy white couches in this room; I'm making a craft room and making a mess! If you want the entry to your house to be a craft room, make it a craft room. As long as you see the fascinating beauty, the kinetic energy in all of these projects in various stages of completion, in all of the colorful supplies just waiting to be made into something magical, that is what makes this space your home.
Balancing the mess with my need for being organized
With craft supplies and projects coming in and out of my craft room all the time, it can be a challenge to keep everything organized and clean. Okay, let's get real: it just doesn't happen. But remember how I said I was a neat freak? I need some level or order to the chaos for my peace of mind but also so that I don't waste a ton of time looking for things in “the pile”. How can you have a functioning space when you have a mess?
Today I am sharing a few of my favorite tips for how managing the influx of supplies and corralling the mess while still enjoying the process of making. These ideas have really helped me to enjoy the mess as part of the process:
Only bring home what you have a plan for
Extra stuff that you bought because it is cute or you might make something, someday, tend to create clutter because you never really find a reason to put them away or use them. I am really tempted by great deals and if something is free, it takes all of my willpower not to bring it home. If it doesn't have a plan, it doesn't come home.
Display your supplies in an artful way
Keep your supplies out in the open to give your eyes colors, textures, and shapes to look at for inspiration. Place bottles of paint on a narrow wall shelf, fill glass jars with buttons and spools of thread, and stack supplies on cake plates or rolls of carnival tickets. When your supplies are on display, a little mess on the floor doesn't feel that messy because there is always a lot to look at.
Clean after every project
Some projects take ten minutes to make and others take four days. No matter what, I always put all of the supplies away and wipe down my tables when I finish a project. There may be piles of new products on the floor but my table is always clean and ready for me to work and enjoy creating. I can ignore the pile if I am focused on creating something on my clean craft table.
Protect your space
I keep a few supplies on hand to protect my craft table when I am working with messy media like fabric dye, spray inks, and lots of water:
- roll of plastic party table cloth. Just roll out what you need to cover your craft table so it won't get stained by super messy products
- several craft mats. I have one that I call my “painty mat”; we use it to paint things on.
- a spray booth or box. I use a fold up spray booth for all my spray projects – whether I am making splatters on a card or spraying ink all over something, I put it in the spray booth to catch the over-spray.
- gloves. I put these on my hands to stop my skin from being dyed (oh yes, I had purple finger tips after one tie dye session!) and to protect my work space. I can get really messy with the gloves on and then peel them off if I need to answer the phone or open a drawer to find something.
I actually started leaving drawers open as I pull out craft supplies. This makes clean up much faster because I can see right away where everything I used belongs. In the meantime, it looks a little messy but I bet there is inspiration to be drawn from there as well.
RELATED POST: 11 inspiring craft rooms
In your own home, you can create a space you love, with the things you have. Your lived in space is a part of your creativity. How can you draw inspiration from the mess and take your ideas further? Let me know in the comments!
Before you go, don't forget to share your perfect mess with STAINMASTER® for a chance to be one of three lucky winners to receive free flooring for one room in their home plus a $500 retail gift card. CLICK HERE to enter your #MyPerfectMess photo and to learn more about the contest. Good luck!
Erin Sipes says
These are all such great tips!
Sharon Garofalow says
Your craft room is amazing! These are awesome tips!
Jennifer Priest says
Thanks so much Sharon!
Claire @ A Little Claireification says
What an awesome giveaway! I want your craft room!!
Amy Anderson says
These are perfect craft room tips! I can’t wait to have my room in my new house – I’ll be putting in resilient flooring too in case of spills . . .
Jolane Donald says
Great blog post. I need to work ok cleaning up when I’m done. I tend to craft until I’m exhausted and crawl away to bed. ?
Mary Beth says
Your craft room is amazing! Right now, mine is a total mess….and I keep putting off cleaning it up…UGH
Michelle from Weekend Craft says
Your mess is my craft room on a clean day! Loving your shelves.
Jennifer Priest says
Thank you so much!
There are some good points here! My own studio is a complete mess at the moment (I have some organization issues…) so I’m actively looking for help as the chaos is disrupting my ability to create pieces.
I bought some freezer paper, to print on fabric, and, as it comes in a massive roll I use that as a cover for my table. It’s white, cheap, and nonabsorbent. The colour means I can use it as a paint palette and any mess, glue, threads, clay, pastels, can be rolled up at the end of a project and thrown away.
Anyone got a handy way to store packing material?
Jennifer Priest says
That freezer paper idea is so smart! LOVE IT! I put packing material into a rubbermaid tub because you can squish it down and the lid will keep it all together. I store boxes (collapsed) and envelopes vertically on a shelf. HTH!