A Creative Way to Label Your Tables

Labeling tables is a quick way to add structure to your art room. With table labels, it’s so much easier to ask a certain group of students to quiet down, call students from one place to another or delegate clean-up jobs. Watch the video to see how I created table labels that will last for years.

Do you have any other creative ways to label tables? We’d love to hear about them!

6 years ago

Amanda Heyn

Amanda is the Senior Editor at AOE. She has a background in teaching elementary art and enjoys working to bring the best ideas from the world of art ed to the magazine each day. 


  • LOVE this idea!  I just thinking about how I wish I had my tables labeled.  I too have the problem of not being able to hang things from the ceiling.   So happy I now have a solution!  Thanks for sharing!

    • Arlene Morrison

      I hang empty cans of paint from the ceiling ( big silver gallon cans from the hardware store)  they were cheap to buy.  I made my own labels with a different color for each table.  Then I draped a colored scarf (like the ones used for dancing in music class) from each can.  It looks really cool to have them hanging (as long as you have the ability to do so)    I also use them to reinforce color concepts:  for example I may say  “The color that is mixed from red and yellow may line up”… or I may say  “if you are a primary color AND a cool color, you may line up”… etc.

  • Jen

    Great idea!!

  • Cynthia

    To color label tables, I love my clear colored acrylic boxes (Amac) (http://www.containerstore.com/shop?showDS=true&Ns=p_sort_default%7C0&Ntt=amac&submit=GO) shows the ones I have purchased. 
    – I just figured out how to post them below – each image shows a bunch of the rectangular prisms stacked on top of each other.  I use a medium/large sized one per table.

     I also created a template for a strip of paper around around the bottom inside of the prims (3 inches hig)h which shows a shape on each face of the box – I rotate the boxes so that they are at a 45 degree angle to the table (in the center) so that each child has a shape facing them.  (I also put a large image of the shape in each corner of the room, so the circles always should face the circle corner of the room – I can say:  circles, get the pencil bins;  triangle, bring up the…..  Very helpful and quick.  I wish that I had super-glued the tops on, because sometimes the students need to move them (to their “table tray”) if we need to do a super wash of the table, and if they lift them by the top, the bottom can fall.   When I line up my students, I use the table colors to reinforce learning as well – “students at warm colored tables” can line up.  Or, “students at primary colored tables” can line up.  This also helps me quickly see who needs a refresher.  They are very pretty to look at as well.


    • Your system sounds awesome, Cynthia! Thanks for sharing. 

  • Kiara

    I put colored duct or vinyl tape around the edge of the tape around the edge of the table. Yes, kids pick at it but its very easy and cheap to replace. Usually I only have to fix a small area of the table tape once a month. 

    • Kiara

      whoops, regard the typo where i write “edge of the tape”…should have proofread!

  • ATHG

    I picked these up at Ikea this year. I slipped cut pieces of construction paper into them, and done. The kids play with them from time to time, but it’s a heck of a lot better than having to replace the taped labels on the tables that I used to use.


    •  Love IKEA. I love to pick up small containers for passing out supplies. Great idea!

  • Cboggs73

    Several years ago I bought a set of different leaf stencils. I used acrylic paint to stencil a different color leaf in the center of each table. The leaves are still there, slightly worn, but easy to reprint when needed.

  • Silvios

    I use the letters A R T S for my four tables.  I also have a three sided hanging tent over each table with the upper case letter on one side, the lower case letter on another, and then artists works with names beginning with that letter on the other side.  This helps the students be able to clearly see where they need to go upon entering the room and they don’t “pick” at it since it is above their table.

  • Jesebring

    I label my tables by artists and change the artist every year so hopefully from k-5 the students are exposed to over 40 artists.  I also put number stickers on each stool and the number corresponds to a job robot.  http://www.artfor1170.blogspot.com/search/label/art%20room%20management

    •  hahahaha. Your monster sweeper is so funny! I think I need to try that at my own house :)

  • Mrs.Conway

    I also have my tables labeled by color and number. I love it for many reasons, but one in particular… At the end of class, when everyone is working on their clean-up jobs (also assigned by table number on a job chart), it can get pretty noisy. To get their attention when it’s time to line up, I have a system that works great for me:

    I have laminated cards in the colors of their tables and, when I want them to stop cleaning and sit down, I hold up all of the colors. {For “certain” classes- you know ;) – I also start counting to see how long it takes them to get seated quietly so they can try to beat their time from the week before.} When I see a table clean, quiet, and “Listening like Lisa” (sitting like Mona Lisa with head up, hands folded, a smile, and eyes always following you), I pull their table’s color and they silently line up. One thing that really works well about this is that they know that not only do they have to stay quiet when the colors are up, but so do I!

    •  I love “listening like Lisa!” How fun.

  • Lmcroce

    I have 6 tables, so each table has a hanging crayon over it, r-o-y-g-b-v, and i arranged them so one side of the room is warm, one is cool, and also, any table across from eachother is its opposite color. Not only is this good for calling tables, but it reinforces the color wheel. “Cool color tables, you may line up” “Red and its compliment, you can line up” 

    • Lmcroce

      Oh, and PS, the reason I hung the crayons instead of taping them to the table, because after washing the tables 6 times a day, the tape would start to peel, and it was beyond obnoxious to look at.

    • Mary Kevin Breshike

      Love this idea of colors! I will be borrowing this idea.

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  • Lori Kaylor

    I’ve got 5 tables and I bought plastic totes in orange, blue, pink, green and purple. I was even able to find mini ones at Target, for my 3 desks where those who need a time-out may be moved to.
    In the totes I have 6 pencils, 4 erasers, 6 scissors and 6 bottles of glue. I will call tables by the tote color, to get supplies, get in line, etc. I also have a job chart posted, so a person at that table will be responsible for the tote. I’ve got three pictures posted around the room, showing a tote and how it should look. It’s so easy, even my kindergarteners can do it. Works like a dream!

  • phyllis

    Integrating colors and color theory, recognizing a famous artist and rules of the classroom and geometric shapes allows for visual examples with identifiable words.
    Each table has a number, a geometric shape and a famous work of art hanging from the ceiling with a paper clip. The number, shape, and artwork is hung vertically and attached with yarn.
    Each table is colored coded, each side of the room is divided by warm and cool colors. Each shape has the name on one side and the color on the other. On the opposite side of the artwork, there is one of six classroom rules. All laminated and easy to remove at the end of the year. Bins on the tables with necessary art tools.
    and a list of each person’s responsibility. 1. table captain, 2. name and teacher code captain, 3 end of class responsibilities checker, 4 responsibile person for getting water 5 last person for removing brushes and used water, 6 responsible for cleaning table off.
    This is a summer project but nice when it’s all laminated and ready to hang up
    Nice addition to classroom procedures with color coded folders Jessica !!!
    One addition: I typed and printed all teachers names and laminated for using on the drying rack to separate classroom projects. First and last person responsibile for laying the teachers name on the drying rack. This a big time saver.