My son is a bit obsessed with drawing and coloring. I am all about him having his paper and crayons/markers out and spending time being creative. I am. I just hate the lack of space I have at my house to leave it out and there really wasn’t a good spot to store it. And of course, he uses it everyday single day, without fail.
The biggest issue is that my kitchen is tiny and so is my dining room. He usually sits at the table to color to prevent his younger sister from getting into is stuff. At dinner time, then the art supplies get shuffled to the kitchen counter (which is tiny). When I need the counter space for food prep, then the art stuff gets shuffled back to the table. The whole process annoyed me, so I did something about it. I DIY-ed a back of chair art storage bag. The whole thing took me less then 2 hours while watching my peanut.
I started with a pair of my hubby’s pants that he no longer wanted. We both went through our clothes this summer and donated a bunch. There were a handful that I looked at and thought… “I’m gonna keep it and maybe repurpose it into something else.” That’s exactly what happened to these pants.
I measured the legs, each was about 8 inches at the bottom, and the pair of pants I used was pretty straight legged. **If you are going to upcycle a pair of pants, make sure the bottom hem isn’t fraying. I did not do anything to the hem and it became the top/opening of the art storage bag.
Next I measured my chair. I decided that about 15-16 inches would be a good length for the art storage. (I also considered the type of things I wanted to hold, a notebook and a clipboard needed to fit in mine). You can adjust the length based on your needs. I decided to cut the pants at 17 inches to give myself some “wiggle room.” I am not overly precise when it comes to projects like these. I just kind-of wing it and hope for the best.
After cutting both pant legs at the same time at 17 inches up from the bottom, I flipped the cut part inside out and cut 1 of the hems. I initially planned on using the seam-ripper, but that would have taken way to much time and effort and wouldn’t have been worth it.
Now, as you can see, you should have 2 rectangle pieces of pants that have 1 seam in the middle. Congrats! You are on your way!
While the original pants were still folded in half, I proceeded to cut the pants two more times, resulting in 4 strips. (This is not cut from your rectangles above). I was lazy and didn’t do much with these strips. I turned them inside out and cut 1 of the hems. This created a long skinny strip.
Take some fabric that is at least as wide as your pants. Put a hem at the top. I did this by folding the fabric over and then over again and sewing the straight line. I lined the top fabric with the foot of my sewing machine (about a 1/4 an inch).
The grey fabric pictured below is not the same grey as the pants. You could use more of the pants fabric here if you wanted, however I had a scrap of grey that I used. Hem the top using the same method, fold, fold and sew.
Next I made an additional pocket in the small grey area by sewing a vertical line up and down on the fold line shown above. (You can find this pocket shown in one of the photos below, once the bag is complete.) This pocket is created by sewing on top of the grey and blue fabric, but only sewing the length of the grey.
Lay the pockets onto of the front piece (right). Take the back and put the “outside” on top of the front’s “outside.” You are putting your insides out and your outsides in.
Trim your project to even out the edges. I eye-balled it and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Pin around the bottom and two sides.
Place the fabric ties in-between the front and the back pieces. Pin about 1 inch up from the bottom. (This leaves room for the bottom seam.)
As you can see by my attempt at a diagram, the two sides and bottom should get sewn together. The fabric strips should be placed at the bottom, between the front and back fabrics (these strips will hide inside this bundle, they will need to be on the outside of the project once you flip it right-sides-out again). The top tabs should get sewn on last. I just zig-zagged back and forth several times for the top tabs to make sure they were held on strongly, as this bag gets a little heavy occasionally with all the art supplies.
AND… It’s done! We have been using it for awhile now and I don’t know why I didn’t make one sooner. It is such a life saver and space saver. For my son and his art supplies it has created the perfect spot to stash his paper and crayons/ markers/ what-have-you, while keeping them “tidy” and easily accessed. This was a WIN-WIN for me and him.
As you can see, I tied it on the top of the chair and sides. I like the unfinished look of the ties. If you are really concerned about this, you could use ribbon or sew the fabric strips to create a more “finished” look.
Here you can see the pockets. I have a zippered pouch filled with stickers in the right pocket. The left one is empty at the moment, but would be good to put a pencil in for him.
Filled with all the stuff that used to be on my counter! He has a red clipboard that I use to hold all his random papers. (I frequently go through this and recycle some of the older papers he has forgotten about).
We are currently using this big zippered pouch for colored pencils, markers and some crayons. He has another Star Wars zippered pouch for his new box of crayons I bought (ditched the box, kept the new crayons separate for the time-being.)
What do you think? If you make one of your own, let me know! I love the ability to stash his stuff away for meal time. I am planning on making one for my daughter, probably next week as she has a couple favorite ABC coloring books that could use a good place to land when not in use.