Simple Storage Solutions for Art Aprons

Recently an AOE Fan asked:

“One of my top pet peeves that I haven’t figured out how to really solve is art smock storage. I have a smock box, but it doesn’t dry well enough sitting in the box. What kind of smock storage solutions have you seen?”

Great question! I asked around, and here are 5 smart smock solutions that might just work for ANY art teacher – so go ahead and try one out in your classroom right away!


1. Get some industrial hooks for the aprons to hang along the wall. This is my favorite solution. Can’t drill into the wall? Try some heavy duty 3M Command Hooks that won’t damage the wall.

2. Have each student bring their own from home, keep it in their classroom, and ask the classroom teacher to have students put them on before coming to art class (just like they do with athletic shoes before PE). Keep a few extras in your room, just in case.

3. Purchase a movable rack (like this Print Rack) and use it to drape your aprons after use. Roll it out of the way when you aren’t painting.


4. Hang a clothesline and have students clip them up.

5. Ditch smocks all together and instead have students choose if they want one or not. Instead, just have students roll up their sleeves, as this is the culprit of more paint and mess, we’ve found, and most smocks don’t even cover the sleeves.

I hope it helps you as you organize your classroom for the new year! For more organizational tips, be sure to browse everything we’ve ever written on Organization on AOE, right here!

What is the best way you have found to ‘Store your smocks’? 

Share your secrets with us! 

Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is the Founder and President at AOE. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.


  • Carol Lemke

    I use a mesh hanging organizer…the mesh allows the t-shirts to dry out! (I use old t-shirts instead of smocks) See here:

    • Very smart, thanks for the link. That looks super sleek for the job.

    • Leslie McReynolds

      awesome idea!

  • Christy

    My students bring in an old adult sized t-shirt that is kept in their homeroom in ziploc bags to prevent the spread of lice.

    • Vicky Siegel

      I do the same as Christy. Kindergarteners and first graders decorate them and I write their names large on the front and back so I can know names and they wear them every week. The others I e-mail their teachers when they are needed.

  • Jorena

    We don’t use smocks. I tell my kids to dress for art days just like they have to remember to wear tennis shoes for PE days.

    • Laura Allan

      me too!

  • Buffy

    I use aprons and hang them on a coat rack!

  • teachkidsart

    I agree with #5! I ask students to push their sleeves up past their elbows, and this handles 99% of the paint, etc. that students get on their clothes. And when I ask them to push their sleeves up, I demonstrate by pushing my own sleeves up at the same time, so that keeps my sleeves paint-free, too!

    • Glad I’m not the only one!

    • Glad I’m not the only one!

    • Jeanette

      Because of the cost of our uniforms I have an inspection parade after painting with fabric soaker ready to spray onto clothes. Our office have spare loan clothing pieces in case of accidents. I talk to new parents on the info night to advise them about the art room and care of uniform and art shirts . So I don’t get angry parents coming back at me. I try to get the students to understand working space, personal space and working smartly with paint materials. Lining up to put work away on drying rack is done one table at a time so they are not on top of each other. Other wise they are one inch away from each other’s noses !!! . They seem to have no concept of wet paint space !

  • Dennis Bolt

    We use old adult tshirts, and since they are not vinyl they don’t keep the moisture in like traditional smocks all wadded up.

  • Jen

    I just have a horizontal piece of wood with metal hooks on it. My custodian drilled it to my wall. Genius. Works like a charm.

  • kiara

    Since my chairs have backs, students hang their smocks up on the back of their chair at the end of clean up. Though they aren’t usually too wet, anything that needs to dry will while hanging up between classes.

  • Lisa

    I have a bunch of old button up shirts students use at their own discretion. They just sit in a big bin. They never get really wet though so we don’t have a drying out problem. If a student does spill or get one really wet, I just hang it over a chair. We have a washer and dryer here in the school so I run them through the wash a couple times a year, usually after a messy project wraps up. I love the idea of each student having their own shirt and bringing it to art class though!

  • Heather

    I have four large square tables in my art room. Under each one is a small laundry basket from the dollar store. I keep old t-shirts in these this year. Last year they were in a box and everyone would push and shove to get in line and it would take for ever. Now, one person at the table passes them out and it’s over quickly!

  • Susan

    I’ve mostly stopped using paint shirts (although I do keep them in a basket in my room, if needed). I ask students to roll up sleeves and suggest they stand behind their chairs (we have chairs with backs) to prevent themselves from leaning into their painting. I also note on my website that students should not wear their best clothes on the day they have art.

  • Laura

    Students wear uniforms at my school, and I require the students to have a smock on as they enter the room, as part of their daily grade. I used to have the smock boxes in my room, but then it would take so much time putting on the smocks, why should I waste my precious time, only an hour a week, with that nonsense? There is no way I can have them not wear smocks, because they would dirty their uniforms and those things are not cheap. The parents would kill me, haha.

  • Amy Hartman

    The older students wear lab coats that hang from a line of coat hooks next to the classroom door.

    • Lab coats sounds like a fun alternative for older students. Thanks!

  • Liz

    I teach art in the cafeteria after school. I love it. Put up 2 very large bulletin boards and strung a colorful wire line with clothes pins to hang art in progress and when complete. It’s like having a daily gallery that the whole school views. Have 2 metal storage cabinets. Cannot leave smocks hanging in cafeteria. Have a separate clear plastic box for smocks for each class. The students print in large letters their names and decorate their smocks as they choose. They quickly fold their smocks real compact and place them in the box at the end of each art class. They’re great $2 lightweight clear plastic smocks that I order from a hairdresser supply business. No need for washing. Now that I read about storing the smocks to prevent spreading lice I will get the very large ziplock bags for storing each smock before placing in the smock box. Thanks Christy for your idea.

    • Jeanette

      Only issue is that you will have wet smocks that will get mildew or moud on them .

  • Laura Allan

    I found that when kids wore smocks they were less careful because they thought they were safe. When they used regular shirts as smocks, the paint would even soak through onto their clothes. Big sleeves got in the way and caused spills. The smocks rarely covered their real sleeves. Storing and dispersing them were a nuisance. We push up our sleeves, and learn to be careful. I tell them to not wear their best clothes to art, just like they wear gym shoes to gym. If they do get paint on their clothes I tell them that it is a memory of how fun it was in art.

  • Denise Tanaka

    This isn’t so much about storage as it is the type of apron: Just today I had my 6th graders ‘fashion’ an old tshirt into an apron. SO simple and easy, if you guide them through it. No more sleeves and mess, and they’re no sew. Here’s the link via YouTube.

  • Berta Newton

    I found an old coat rack in a dumpster. Heavy base with pole and hooks at the top. Had a guy in welding class do a quick repair. Spray painted it silver…. Holds lots of shirts and does not tip over! My students can decide whether they want to wear one or not. Most popular paint outfit is an orange plaid moo-moo dress- guys love it!!!

  • Jeanette

    In my school with expensive uniforms , students must have their own art shirt and they have to line up outside art room ready to go with it on . That way if they don’t have it on they get a note home or sent back to look for it. They keep them in their school bag or desks . No excuses accepted. I do keep some donated ones as spares. If the art shirt gets exceptionally wet they leave them with me to dry then I return to the child por classroom next day. Also I don’t allow them to be washed . I let the paints etc build up on them as washing them makes them less waterproof.