Zero Budget Project: Penelope’s Studio


For Penelope’s birthday, Chris and I wanted to give her something that would make her squeal. She is obsessed with her art supplies and crafting. Most days it’s all over the kitchen table, pantry, floor, counter tops and couch. She just spreads her artistic love all through the house.


It’s great, but I want to channel it somewhere that I can close the doors and ignore it. I also wanted the space (and flooring) to be utterly indestructible to her glues and glitters. She thinks my studio is so cool, I wanted to give her one of her own.


The downstairs toy room was out (too much soft carpet down there). My studio was definitely out!

We have this utility closet that we don’t really use that efficiently upstairs just next to my studio. It has washer and dryer hookups, but we have a laundry room downstairs instead. We had a few random boxes and things (above) that could be easily organized elsewhere, so I made this space Penelope’s.


It’s the perfect size for her and the tile floors allow for easy clean up. As far as the cost and logistics of making this space hers, here was the breakdown:

  • tables: $50, Ikea
  • chairs: already on hand
  • shelving and brackets: $16, Ikea
  • containers: already on hand (Pink: $5, Michael’s | black: $3.99, Ikea)
  • frame for her sign: $5, Ikea
  • flat art storage: already on hand
  • filing cabinet: already on hand
  • magnets: gift from LivyLove


Of course, while I was at Ikea, I wandered through their art supplies and picked up about $40 worth of supplies for her as well. Who knew Ikea had such awesome art supplies for kids?


The top shelf is still a dedicated space for the drill, light bulbs batteries and misc cleaning supplies. I’m thinking the above space needs an overhaul as well.


With the open containers, Penelope can move them and clean up easily. And she’s pretty good about keeping things clean. So far.


I finally found a use for those tins I bought on impulse by way back. This one holds chalk, the other holds her glitter pens.


My mother-in-law sent Penelope a bunch of sweet supplies for her birthday like floral fabric tape, pebble crayons, twig pencils and loads of paper. What a nice grandma. Now she can use these in her own way and not worry about me nagging to clean up.


The metal cabinet is perfect for displaying her favorite pieces before storing or framing them.


It’s really a great space for her. She can do whatever she wants in that space and I can close the doors at the end of the day and ignore it all!

Did you have a creative space just for you growing up? Will you or have you done this for your own kids?

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    1. Deepa says:

      This is amazing! Penelope is such a lucky little lady. I would love to do this for my daughter, too bad our place is a typical European apartment… tiny! She will have to settle for a corner, not an entire studio.

    2. Katie says:

      Wow! Love it! I so wish I had a space to do this. My girls are always leaving craft supplies trailed around the kitchen. Ah well. That’s how it goes in the bay area unless you make bank!

    3. Kristin H says:

      Love, love, love! My dad made me an easel to use in my moms studio when I was little, but I never had my own space. I really need to do something for E, since she is constantly drawing and making a mess all over our family room. Having her own space is a great way to encourage her artistic endeavors, but kepp me sane, too.

    4. Stacy says:

      This is absolutely adorable! What a special birthday gift!

    5. Sig!s says:

      Wow, i love this. Right now I can even use it for me, because the description you give about Penelope using up all the space in the house (including the floors) sounds just like me ;-)
      When our renovations are done, I’ll have my creative space, but I guess I’ll have to share it with the kid(s)… (in fact I hope I will, because that means my kid(s) will be creative as well!)

    6. phil says:

      cool place and nice gift .
      i like the chairs a lot .
      ohhh … and sure your little helper did a fantastic job too :-)

    7. maddie says:

      wow. what a transformation. Can you come to my apartment/

    8. Elaine says:

      this is so adorable!! i love this!!

    9. Virginia says:

      You are a fantastic mother – what a perfect gift!! It looks amazing!

    10. Jo says:

      Wow, Penelope’s studio looks so much better than mine!! I need to clean up!
      We are planning to buy a house in the Netherlands in the near-ish future. We don’t have kids yet, but i would LOVE to do this for our creative children! I hope they’ll be creative, I guess they’ll have all the genes for it! I’ve always been crafty and studied graphic design and art therapy. My husband studied architecture.

    11. […] Penelope’s birthday in 2013, we converted a utility closet into a studio just for her. Her own little space. Needless to say that it’s been a huge hit. Neighbor friends of all […]

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