Art Room Redoux

20 years. I needed a change; something totally new. After years of using every color of the rainbow (check out last year's version), I decided to tone down my art room. I also teach at an Arts Academy, so I get plenty of color there. I wanted my every day space to be... calm. Well, as calm as possible with over 550 students traipsing in and out!

I chose the colors teal, lime, black, and white and went with it. It is amazing how much you can do with spray paint, scrapbook paper, Goodwill finds, and a trip to IKEA!

I hope you enjoy the tour of my "new" art room. I know it isn't your typical studio space!

 I always try to decorate the hallway leading to my room with something eye-catching for open house.

The kids each made a self portrait for the empty spaces.

I found some cute owl cut outs from Wal-Mart (seen later on my tables) and decided to use him as our art "mascot". I made my own, larger version to hang in the hall.

This is the view in to my room. Wish I could change those floor tiles...

 I will give you a quick overview of the room as viewed from the front, beginning to the left. I will then go in to detail about each area. 

This rug is from IKEA and costs $20!

Now that we are back to the door, I will take you around for a closer view.
This is the view as you walk in to the room.

And then, as you look to the right.

Here is a close up of  my bulletin board that I have finished. I have my project charts at the top and 
spots for Post-It Note exit tickets. The letters above are from Hobby Lobby, spray painted to match.

The kids know I like birds and owls and often bring them to me. Why fight it? I used many owls and birds throughout the room, including this birdcage I snagged at Hobby Lobby for $2.50! The "Sign Out" frame is for the kids to write on with dry erase marker when leaving the room so I have a visual reference.

The front of my desk is covered in wrapping paper from Wal-Mart. Are you getting the idea that I am CHEAP???  The painting on the front of my desk was made by my husband during one of my painting classes at the Academy where I teach every Friday and Saturday evening. He knows that if he wants to see me, he has to take a class!

The three pocket owl chart was found on clearance at Meijer. It holds our self-assessment and peer-assessment forms.

I love my desk area. Everything is so organized... for now! Remember how it usually looks?

The wax burner is from Scentsy and uses a light bulb. It was a splurge and makes the whole room smell wonderful! The little owl was found at Goodwill and got a spray paint makeover.

Here are our classroom rules. I spray painted the letters and velcro'd them to the wall so I can remove a letter if a class is too loud. If they lose all their letters, there is no more art and they must clean up and sit quietly. I have only had to resort to this a few times in 20 years.

This bucket system is also from IKEA and it holds my white board supplies.

After it was installed, I realized that I can't open my the top drawer of the file cabinet. OOPS! Guess I will have to re-arrange at some point!

Wrapping paper found at Dollar General covers the ugly file cabinet.

My lovely family. Love!

Can I tell you how happy this makes me? HAHA! I shouldn't be so crazy about these things, but I just can't help myself. Seeing all of those binders all lined up and matchy-matchy makes me smile.

This is what the covers of my binders look like. Scrapbook paper slid in to the clear pocket of the binder makes all the difference.
And how is everyone coming along on those SLOs? (or whatever they may be called in your neck of the woods)

This drawer cart stores the art projects I hold for our annual art show. The ceramic bird house was made by an Ohio artist. When I go to our yearly state conference, he is usually there at the Artist Market and I buy myself a birthday gift from him.

Ok, I do realize that these are ware carts, but they work SO nicely for storage! The kids' artwork is stored here in class files.

The bins are from Big Lots and Dollar General. A steal. The larger baskets will hold all the supplies for the current projects we are working on, separated by grade level.

This little corner of the room hold our art library. The daisy painting was made by me during another of my weekend painting classes.

This is new for me this year. I was at an SLO training this summer and it was suggested that we post a visual rubric. This is what I decided upon, referencing our standards based grade card that we currently use for grades Pre-K-2.

A closer look at the visual rubric. The zebra print letters are from Wal-Mart and cost 97 cents a pack!

See those hug letters above my cabinets. Made those. Yep, I made those. I saw some at Jo-Ann Fabrics for $10 each and thought, "I can do that!" (Come on, we've all done that!) I drew two duplicate letters on black poster board.

I then hot glued paper cups between the boards to help it keep its shape.

I measured the depth of the letters and cut out a bunch of strips, adding 1/2" to each side. I cut several tabs out of each side so they looked like this:

I don't have a photo of the process, but I bent the tabs and hot glued them to the top and bottom of the letters. It was a messy project, but I plan on possibly decoupaging the heck out of them later.
*Note to self- take a closer photo of the letters to show how they are put together.

The tops of my cabinets used to be packed full of stuff that was awesome, but gathered tons of dust.
Now, they are clean.

This is another new area of the art room. I spray painted a bunch of interesting frames from Goodwill and hung them by ribbon (and tons of hot glue!) I plan on showcasing student art throughout the year here.

Here, one of my paintings sits with an owl sewn by one of my FIRST GRADERS. I kid you not. She has a Facebook page, but it lists her address and I am not comfortable posting it here. You will just have to trust me. She is now in second grade and has her own business creating stuffed animals. Amazing! We named this owl "Matisse".

I did end up investing in new plastic storage bins from IKEA

I made a HUGE deal about how awesome and organized everything is, telling my students that I had to drive all the way to Michigan to buy these boxes. I really hope the kids will help keep it looking nice. I have hope!

Here I have photos of some of my students that visited me at my art Academy for a birthday pARTy.

Are you required to post I CAN statements or student objectives? Last year, I made a watercolor paint display and loved it, but it wasn't practical- it fell down all the time. Bummer. This year, I kept it simple and hung them on a bulletin board. Hey, it works.

Here is a closer look at my tables. I wrapped them in white paper, a plastic tablecloth, and then thick vinyl from Jo-Ann. Expensive, but effective. At the end of the year, I rip off the layers and my table look brand new. Last year, I used thinner vinyl, but it ripped easily. This year, I bought the heavy stuff.

I added a small trash can from the Dollar Tree and frame from IKEA that holds a different artist for each table. I will change these periodically so they will learn new artists throughout the year.

Here is a closer look at Ollie, our mascot. He lets the kids know what their number is and this is how I assign jobs.

Feedback??? I know I have gone waaaayyy outside the box this year, but I am loving it. My principal has brought several other teachers to my room to show them how "Disgusting" it is. LOL. She loves it- she means that it is disgustingly put together and color coordinated.

*By the way- I just realized that I didn't mark all of these photos as mine, so if you share them, please link back. It has been so long since I have blogged, it slipped my mind!

Thanks for viewing!
Denise aka mrspicasso


  1. Everything looks great! I still have some organizing to do at one of my rooms next week before the kids come on Thursday! I love the "You've been framed board" ! ( and a lot of other things in your room! ) Hope you have a great year! :)

  2. Love the room! Will you be printing the I Cans in color each time or is the color part permanent and you exchange just the objective?

  3. My I CANs are a simplified (kid friendly) version of our state standards. I have one set and rotate them as needed. Our school allowed us to make them bright and colorful to appeal to the students. If I have more specific objectives for a project, they are written on the board.

  4. Oh my goodness. i LOVE your room. And it's so big! Love the project bins. Must go get some and upgrade my aluminum foil turkey trays!

  5. Ms. Pannell, Great job on your space. I have pinned it all and will be using you for inspiration. I too have choose aqua and neon green for colors in my classroom. I'm new in my room this year and have a lot of work ahead of me this year. You will be a great inspiration. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. PS. I just saw that you named the owl Matisse... good choice!

    I retired from teaching art in the public schools this year and teach about 15 hours a week at a private school...keeps me out of bars...haha! I always had my huge art room full to the top with artsy stuff...loved it! Then I went back to visit my friend who took my place and she had done her version of the same you did. Really scaled down the room, made curtains for cubbies, and moved out lots of the cabinets and stuff I used. I loved it too!!! I think artists tend to need visuals, we see beauty and art in everything. However, there is lots to be said for simplicity and organization. I'm in a small trailer now and only see about 50 students a day where I did see 125 a day. I only have up a few things because of space. Love what you have done and I hope your year is amazing! Best, Vicki

  7. Hi, I am a new teacher and love you room! I have a question though. How did you do the zebra print on the tables?

  8. What a beautiful space you have created for your students! This is the most impressive, creative and organized room I have seen! Thank you for posting these pictures! I've bookmarked your page! Keep posting idea's for me to use! Hehe! You are amazing! Teacher of the year in my book! BRAVO!!!!

  9. Your art room is amazing! It is the most organized and creative room I've seen! I've been teaching 12 years grade 9-12 ceramics. Thank you so much for posting your ideas! I really enjoy reading your blog, and using your ideas. Hehe!
    It's wonderful that you are sharing them. BTW, I bookmarked your page! Keep up the good work! BRAVO!!!!

  10. LOL!! I just figured out that your last name is not Picasso!!! You're clever!


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