Art on a Cart: A Money Maker not a Program Breaker

The Idea

Just utter the words “Art on a Cart” and it sends art teachers running as fast as they can in the other direction. Today I am going to tell you about a DIFFERENT kind of Art on a Cart that won’t hurt your art program, it will HELP It!

What is Art on a Cart?

Art on a Cart is a moveable student art store.  By selling small items that students make on a repurposed overhead projector cart,  your art program can earn extra money.

Why a cart? It is moveable! So no setting up or taking down is necessary.  Students simply wheel our Art on a Cart out into the cafeteria and commons area before school to catch the early morning rush of incoming students.  It makes great gifts for that best friend and parents too!  Announce when your Art on a Cart store will be open and let the selling begin!

Create your own Art on a Cart with this easy tutorial.

Organizing your Art on a Cart
You can use this fundraiser with a class or with a club!  Once you have your group of artists, then decide what items will sell well in your school or let the students decide what they would like to make based on their interest.  I have found that Pinterest is wonderful for brainstorming simple project ideas.

One hot item that really got our Art on a Cart rolling was button rings.  Yes, that’s right- they are rings made out of buttons. I was first taught how to make button rings at an Art Educators of Iowa Conference by the fabulous, Ronda Sternhagen, the organizations president.

Students also started a fetish with making things out of duct tape.  Making duct tape roses on the top of pencils and pens makes for a stylish new way to write and there is no mistaking which pencil or pen is yours! We charged a $1 more for customized color options on our duct tape rose toppers.


Set Up
All you need to start your own Art on a Cart is a cart or a small table, artwork, a money bag, some pricing signs and a few student volunteers.  Once you have a well stocked cart, you can ask for students opinions on how much they would purchase the artwork for. Prices are usually reasonable since our main clients source of income is their parent’s allowance.  I figure the cost to make each of the items and students give input by deciding how much they think their peers would be comfortable buying each item for.  We make simple pricing signs by folding a notecard in half and labeling.  Students volunteer to come in early to man Art on a Cart, as they work on their salesmanship skills.  Since it is Art on a Cart, they simply wheel the cart out into the hallway and as students come into the building to eat breakfast or to start their day, they check out and buy our artastic work.

The Funding
The money raised can go into your classroom art budget or art club budget.  Advertising when your store will be open is important for success!  Making signs or putting your Art on a Cart store hours in the announcements will make selling go more smoothly.  Since my art club students create the artwork, we use the money to buy more art supplies for art club!  This creates more ownership with students as they understand that their art supplies do not just magically appear from the art storage room.

Students and teachers alike love checking out Art on a Cart’s newest items and my students love dreaming up new projects to sell.  Holiday items are a big hit especially around Christmas and Mother’s day!  Next year we will try to maximize Valentine’s Day too.  Our Art on a Cart staple projects, like button rings have become a hot item that sparks up conversations with teachers, parents and administrators across our district!  I have one in almost every color!

What other fun items could students to make and sell?


Chelsie Meyer

This article was written by former AOE writer and technology guru Chelsie Meyer.


  • What an incredible idea! I love the simplicity of the cart system. Adding personalization could be fun. I’m thinking a student volunteer with great penmanship and a plethora of colored Sharpies would do the trick. The students could get items like pencil toppers, cards, or small notebooks personalized with initials or names. Maybe this could even make a bit of extra money by charging a small fee for the extra service! I am definitely going to brainstorm about this idea for my own school in the fall. Thanks!

    • Amanda- great idea with Sharpies and personalized notebooks I bet those would be a huge hit! We will have to try that as well! Thanks!

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  • erica

    This is so cute! I love it!

  • What a GREAT idea!  I’m going to have to try this.

  • Janine Campbell

    I really like the button rings – we do something similar with clay leaves, magnets, and bracelets for our annual craft sale. I will have  to ask if this is something we could do before school next year!

  • Dcerretani

    This a a super idea! Can’t wait to incorporate it.

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