Arts and crafts for kids should be a fun activity but it can also be very messy. Remove the stress by taking simple steps to prevent accidental spillages. If they occur, have a simple stain removal kit close at hand. First of all though, accept that there is always going to be a certain amount of mess involved with any arts and crafts project.
Cutting Down on Mess
Choose where you do you arts and crafts carefully. The best places are usually kitchens or utility rooms where surfaces tend to be washable and a safe distance from expensive soft furnishings.
You can cut down on the amount of time you spend clearing up with a few easy precautions. If you want to protect the floor, use a bin bag opened out to make a disposable ‘messy mat’.
Make sure you lay plenty of newspapers across the work surface. They can be disposed of once the arts and crafts session is over. To keep the young artist clean, protect their clothes with a painting apron or old shirt. You can also make your own throw-away apron by making a hole in the bottom of a carrier bag and using the handles as shoulder straps.
Important note: remind kids NOT to play with carrier bags or use them as clothing under any circumstances.
When you are choosing your arts and crafts materials, always look for washable felt tip pens, glue and paint.
A Simple Stain Removal Kit
Take a little time to put together a stain removal kit which is easy to grab when spillages occur. The golden rule with stain removal is to act quickly, so it makes sense to have everything to hand. Assemble your kit and keep it in a portable plastic container. Here are some ideas:
- Baking soda makes a wonderful general stain remover if made into paste with a little water.
- White or colourfast cloths won’t leak colour onto the stain when you are cleaning up.
- Nail and toothbrushes are great for bringing out stains.
- White vinegar is incredibly versatile but don’t forget it’s acid, so use with care.
- Paper towel blots up the worst of the spill and dries the patch effectively afterwards.
- Include some commercial stain removers specifically for use with craft materials.
- Add a laminated list of common stains and their remedies to your kit for easy reference.
Basic Stain Removal Tips
Check the containers or bottles of the item that has caused the stain. Most manufacturers include stain removal instructions on their packaging.
To remove glue, try letting it dry first. Most craft glues for children will peel away when they are dry. PVA glue benefits from soaking in cold water for about 15 minutes. Follow this by rinsing through with soapy water (not detergent). Get rid of washable paint by sluicing the stain with some clean water first and then using plenty of detergent to remove the stain completely.
Marks from wax crayons are best dealt with in one of two ways. Try hardening the wax with ice and scraping the residue away. Alternatively, cover the mark with a thin cotton square and gently apply a hot iron. This should make the wax melt and peel away easily.
Never underestimate the power of baby wipes! Keep them nearby at all times when you are doing arts and crafts together. They clean small hands, faces, spillages and deal with a lot of stains impressively.
Never forget to start by blotting a stain and treating it first with cold water. Warm or hot water can set a stain and make its removal impossible. Only use warm water when the stain has been treated and you need to clean the whole area.
Make sure arts and crafts for kids is fun by making sure you protect as many surfaces as possible. When accidents happen, you can have everything you need at your fingertips to make the mess disappear.