Tips for teaching art from a cart with Heidi O'Hanley from Tales of the Traveling Art Teacher

Teaching from a Cart – Art Made Easy 017

Tips for teaching art from a cart with Heidi O'Hanley from Tales of the Traveling Art Teacher

Do you teach art from a cart?

Or travel from school to school with your car packed with art supplies and resources?

Today’s guest Heidi O’Hanley has spent most of her career traveling from school to school and teaching from a cart. It sounds impossible and maybe even a bit scary, but Heidi is here to help you.

Heidi blogs at Tales from the Traveling Art Teacher and shares what art projects are best, what art supplies to use and ways to make teaching art with little storage or space to work for you.


– What to do when your classroom has no water source, and how your students can play an active role in the solution

– Why communication is crucial when teaching art from a cart

– How using Google Drive, Share Point and Pinterest can help with lesson planning

– Helpful tips for when you’re teaching at multiple schools

– What Heidi’s current blog is all about and how she came up with the name and concept

– How using removable bins to hold supplies, how-to-draw books, resources & lessons plans makes traveling easier

– The top questions Heidi gets asked by others about this type of art teaching

– How to make clay project prep work when you are teaching art from a cart

– The best part about teaching art from a cart

– Why you should be proactive and set parameters before even starting a project

Easy cart projects to do, as well as the ones that you’ll find more challenging due to limitations






I created this guide for you to act as a checklist for things to consider when teaching from a cart, what supplies are great for cart use and what type of projects work really well.

Just click the yellow box below, enter your name and email and I will send you the free download to your email.


Deep Space Sparkle’s tips for teaching art from a cart

Vincent Van Gogh’s Cat

Camille and the Sunflowers

You Are My Work of Art

Why Is Blue Dog Blue?

Tar Beach

Tales from the Traveling Art Teacher

Monthly Mentor from NAEA

Heidi’s favorite brands of air dry clay: Amaco

Patty’s favorite air dry clay: Laguna air dry clay

Acrylic: Tricolor, Blick and Liquitex

Art of Education


Donna Staten’s Pinterest Boards

Ezra Keats Books

Note: The links to Dr. Heidi Lume’s Research on Art from a Cart are no longer available. Sorry!


You can reach out to Heidi on Facebook 

What do you think?

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    Thank you so much for this podcast,since my first year as a teacher will probably be using a cart!

  • Jeanne Alexander

    Love your lessons! I will be teaching from a cart next year after 6 yrs in an artroom. I am used to having students at tables working in groups and sharing materials. Sometimes I use a limited color selection of crayons or pastels and have a set for each table. How do you manage supplies at individual desks? What about desk clean up after pastels or paint? Any suggestions welcome!

    • Patty Palmer

      Thanks for the questions….
      I would keep a stack of 18″ x 24″ paper placemats on your cart to handout for placemats. These work really well. Then kids can use baby wipes to clean their hands plus reuse the wipe to clean the desk.
      I would invest in creating 25 small tubs that include pencil, eraser, sharpie, crayons, oil pastels, scissors, etc. Then each kid can pick up an art box and go to their desk.
      I wonder if that would work?

    • Emily shane

      Thanks for the great podcast and newsletter topic on art from a cart. After 6 years, this is going to be my new reality next year. Would love to connect with Jeanne Alexander, who commented about being in the same situation as me. Jeanne, direct message me if you are on Twitter at @expshane and we can share feedback and suggestions on our new journey in teaching art!


  • Jeanne Alexander

    That sounds like a possible solution worth giving a try! Thanks!!

  • Carol Wiltse

    I have been teaching art from a cart for 5 years now, in classrooms without running water. One of my biggest lifesavers has been baby wipes that I order from walmart by the case. When I started, I would send kids to the restroom to wash their hands and more times than not, it would turn into a party with them creating all kinds of havoc in there. Now I just toss a baby wipe at them at the end of class. The other thing that has made my life easier is purchasing a drying rack for each classroom. Being very organized is the key to success though.I have a supply list for eveeryproject

  • Carol Wiltse

    Aaacckkk, I wasn’t done! ….for every project which I check off as I load the cart. Relying on my memory has not worked out well for me!

  • Lisa Krones

    Thank you so much! I just discovered you’re podcasts and really appreciate your helpful insights. I have taught in an after school program for 10 years now. I work in a gym bringing my own sink. I was just hired this year to rotate into the classrooms as an art specialist. I’m feeling overwhelmed with the prep and consumed by the planning for so many kids. I’ve gone from 36 kids a week to 156.! I think next year will be better as I develop my lesson plans, but it helps to know I’m not alone.

    • Patty Palmer

      Wow. You deserve an award! It’s hard to do art without a sink but I’m so glad you persevered! Thanks so much for tuning in and telling me what you’re up to.

  • kathleen thometz

    Hi Patty, I turned my volunteer work as an art appreciation co-chair at my kids’ elementary school into a lunchtime mobile art program and now have opened a brick and mortar space! So I work out of a studio and out of a cart.

    My experience working out of a cart forces me to be more organized and efficient. I think the cart projects are better than the studio projects!

    I also find that my studio, chock full of art supplies is an attractive nuisance to my kids…so I need to work on that!


      This is awesome! I love how restrictions can actually make us more creative. Thanks for chiming in!

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