Wednesday, July 25, 2018

How I Organized Our Polymer Clay (And Prismacolor Pencils!)

Syd is my crafting soulmate. She loves working with her hands even more than I do, and she's got the added benefit of some serious artistic talent to work with.

She's also got her fingers in a lot of crafting pies! Here's what I've seen her engaged in, just in July so far: making digital art, creating endless batches of original slime recipes, sketching, repainting Monster High dolls, baking and decorating cupcakes and homemade ice cream sandwiches, and sculpting with polymer clay, and that doesn't even count the crafts that she and I have done together, or what she's done at the pick-up art classes that I've been taking her to.

Art-making is also mess-making, at least here in our home, so one of my major projects this summer is to organize and store some of the most popular and commonly-used tools and supplies. I want our playroom table and floor (and my study table and floor, and the family room table and floor!) back, and I want everything that Syd uses most to be in her space, the playroom, because although she always has access to our family storage spaces, she tends to leave them looking like a crafting hurricane swept through and she manages to thoroughly disappear whenever I come looking for her to tidy up.

I've got a couple of big pegboards in progress that I'm using to organize and store most of these craft supplies, but even the categories themselves, just the slime supplies, for instance, or just the Perler bead supplies, need to be better organized so that we can use them better and store them more neatly.

I don't have slime or Perler beads completely under control yet, but I HAVE conquered polymer clay and Prismacolor pencils!

For polymer clay organizing, I used this YouTube video as my inspiration:



I took all of the old, grody, unsorted clay that's all mixed up together, put it into like batches, and ran each batch through my pasta machine umpteen times--

See all that grody clay in the bin back there? That's what I started with!
--until it came out pretty and nice and new! All the clay stored in the bin below started out grody and mixed up, and now it's clean and tidy and Syd has already been into it:



All of our polymer clay and our few clay tools fit easily into two of these exact plastic organizers. Taking another crafter's advice, I covered the bottom of each organizer with waxed paper to keep the clay from reacting with the plastic. Each organizer has a plastic hanging loop at one end, so I can hang it on our giant pegboard, and with the addition of a shelf to set the pasta machine on, that will be the polymer clay all stored and organized!

I might add another, smaller plastic bin to hold polymer clay that's been sculpted but not yet baked, as it's kind of killing my soul to keep turning on the oven so that the kids can bake, like, two things. I'm imagining, instead, storing them and baking them in batches, kind of like a kiln-firing. Maybe? We'll see...

Prismacolor colored pencils were a lot simpler to organize, even though there's a lot more of them. Our big family set of colored pencils now lives in this big, 72-pencil colored pencil roll:


I even put all the pencils in rainbow order so that the kids can easily find the color that they want, and since every space is filled, it *should* be obvious where each pencil goes back. This pencil roll now lives in a basket on the pegboard.

Will has her own personal set of Prismacolor pencils that stay in their tin and live wherever she wants them, and each kid has her own personal small set of Prismacolor watercolor pencils that stay in their tins in their work trays and that they use with their schoolwork (they work fine as regular colored pencils, too!). Syd uses this larger family set of Prismacolor watercolor pencils--


--on the Monster High dolls that she alters, so those, too, will likely live on the pegboard. Syd also informed me that she's used up the black in both this set and her own personal set, so I guess I'll be doing a little back-to-school shopping this week.

We school year-round, and thus don't really have a particular day that feels like the beginning of a school year. Nevertheless, summer, when the kids are often gone for their various camps, does feel like more of a break, and it feels especially nice to be able to spend the time that they're away refreshing and renewing things for them, sharpening their pencils and sorting their supplies, making things look different and temptingly fun. 

Kind of like walking into a familiar classroom for a new school year, don't you think?

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