Inspiration: Art Exclusive

The Doodle Vending Machine

by Lisa Currie 12

The Doodle Vending Machine | Doodlers Anonymous

It's nice when someone doodles a picture for you. But holy smokes, imagine if that doodler were sitting snug inside a human-size vending machine!

The DoodleVend is a clever little project by Sally Leach, encouraging artists to interact with their audience in an instant, playful way. Local illustrators take up residency inside the custom-built DoodleVend (think cubbyhouse meets carnival... with a token slot!) and you can chat to them through a bright red funnel, or peek in the window as they get busy doodling.

The DoodleVend takeaway menu includes party hats, badges, and cupcakes (edible ink!) - all doodled on as per your request. I love how the silliness of this project makes it so approachable. There's just no shying away from a custom party hat!

DoodleVend is popping up around the UK, but even for us non-locals, their Facebook page is good fun!

Read on for more photos and a little interview as DoodleVend maestro herself, Sally Leach, shares a little more about the project...

I have always been interested in the idea of art that can be for everyone, and I came up with the idea of the DoodleVend to encourage interactivity between artist and audience. It works brilliantly! A couple of years back I started doing mural work for a company called 580limited, who are behind some of the coolest new multi-functional venues in the UK. Last year I was asked to come up with an interactive idea to entertain the guests at the opening of their latest bar. So, along with my friend Maddy, we designed and produced a little hut that we would sit in and vend doodled items from. The first incarnation was named 'Mally and Saddy's Vend-A-Party' and it went down a storm with hundreds of party-goers leaving the event with their own personalized item! We also took the idea to Field Day Festival, where we helped festival goers complete their party outfits! After this I re-branded the hut 'DoodleVend' to emphasize the focus on mini-artworks, and took the idea to Nottingham and Portsmouth, inviting local artists to come and do a session in the hut. I am currently looking to make a new, lighter hut to take to more venues around the country, bringing the doodles to the masses!

I wanted DoodleVend to look as much like a vending machine as possible - with a window, token slot and collection point, as well as making sure it functioned well for the users and transportation. I got my tool-friendly friend Mike to help build the structure out of wood, which is actually all hinged, so it's a flat-pack! The roof was the trickiest part as we only had a very small budget, and we ended up making the first roof out of cardboard and broom handles! Unfortunately, at Field Day Festival we were outside and it rained, leaving the roof in a soggy state! I have since made another roof out of plastic sheeting, which I have to say is very sturdy and (almost!) waterproof!

People's reactions have definitely been the most rewarding part of the project, both from artists and 'customers'. When I take it to an event, I go around the venue and give out tokens to people, explaining what the process is. At first, people always seem a little confused. But after they see other people with their goodies, they quickly get excited and start forming a queue which lasts until we run out! The thrill people get from seeing their idea for a doodle come to life on a take-home item, is unlike anything I've seen before!

I'm hoping to expand the project, and take it to many other places. I think it would work alongside so many different events. My dream is to make several of them and take them to music festivals!

Lisa Currie

We all enjoy a bit of a doodle! That's why we're here. Or maybe you got lost and were searching for a whole other kind of doodle... uh oh. Anyway, hello! My name's Lisa. I'm author of The Scribble Diary, a doodling book to inspire self-reflection. Also my new book is ME, YOU, US to fill out with your friends! Come find me on instagram @scribblediary


  1. This is such an awesome idea~

  2. so cute x)

  3. this is extremely outta the box, fun thinking. what an awesome idea.

  4. this is a Doodler's dream machine!

  5. so cooool!

  6. wow great idea! this is unique vending machines!

  7. Brilliant idea! :)

  8. we totally need to do one in melbourne that would be awesome

  9. This is a greatVending Machines for fun

  10. This is a good fun vending machine

  11. I really love the idea!!!

  12. Cool idea!

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