Originally published July 12, 2019
I’ve noticed a few people asking in Facebook groups for advice to organize their encaustic art studio. My art studio is the most organized space in my house. Perhaps this is because when I’m stuck in the painting process I start tidying. Here are some tips for how I have organized my art studio workspace.
Tips for organizing your art studio
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Shelf and Baskets:
I have a tall second-hand shelf to the right of where I work (I’m right-handed). The shelf is filled with baskets that I have picked up at Value Village for $2 – $3 apiece. I tied card labels onto the baskets.
Along one wall above my work table is a metal grid affixed to the wall. I used a wire cube set that I was about to donate to a charity shop and I bought a second-hand one from Facebook Marketplace. You can buy a set on Amazon. S-hooks and magnets are used to hang things from the grid. Magnets can hold inspirational quotes and works on paper, and S-hooks can suspend finished paintings and tools.
I bought these on Amazon. They are perfect for holding encaustic paints. I hung them from my grid with S-hooks.
My brushes hang below the cubbies on a zip-tied pegboard multi-hook.
Magnetic Knife Strips:
Encaustic paints in tins can be hung vertically on magnetic knife strips. Many artists leave the corresponding brush in the wax as it cools and will hang the tin up, brush and all. I have mine zip-tied to the side of my shelving unit.
Tube Paints & Brushes:
If you use oil paints, use binder clips and S-hooks to hang tube paint on the metal grid. I use such a small amount of paint each time that I will only buy small tubes from now on.
Bike Water Bottle Holder:
Attaching a water bottle holder to the side of my table provides a stable handy place to put my torch when not in use. I store it away at the end of the day in a fire-safe cabinet.
Old tea tins in wooden toolboxes make a perfect tool caddy. I use these to organize my scraping tools, mark-making tools and paint brushes (not used for wax). I can pick up a caddy and easily move all my tools to wherever I’m working in the studio.
Rolling Metal Cart:
I also picked up one of the ubiquitous 3-tier metal rolling carts that no art studio is complete without. At the moment, it’s home to my coloured chalk paints.
I have a PowerBar with individual switches. Masking tape labels help me know which tool I’m turning on.
I have a separate area for working with paper. This is a no-wax zone so I always have a clean cutting surface. I have a large self-healing cutting pad on a table and a paper slicer. I store collage materials in plastic project boxes sorted by colour.
I’ve previously talked about using binders and binder sheets for organizing dried flowers for collage. They work well to store stencils too.
How do you organize your art studio?
I’m sure there is always room for improvement. Please add a comment below to share your best tips for organizing your art studio supplies and tools.
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14 thoughts on “How to organize your art studio”
OH, Ruth……Ruth, Ruth, Ruth….
If there was an art supply “organizer” in all the world, who could get me to “organize” my lil’ studio?…….I would pay them – –
well, $100, hahahaha! Cuz that’s all I can afford from my art sales right now. (sigh)
But seriously – – you could take videos of my “Michaels-on-steroids” studio, and use it for your ads! (ie. think, hoarding shows…)
Call me – seriously – call me!
Oh, and did I mention that, besides the oils, and acrylics, and collage etc. I do, I love doing encaustics, but have nowhere to do them except for my kitchen counter with the ceiling fan on high, and the slider WIDE open….not happening in the winter here with heating gas as high as it is….jus sayin.
AAAUGH! Would you consider doing a feature on ART STUDIO ORGANIZAION EXPERTS?
Big hug for your story, Cat Insley
Hello Ruth Maude,
Your organization is an inspiration. Thanks for sharing. Who is the manufacturer of your venting system? It looks like you had to make a hole in the wall for installation.
Thanks! I am strategically pointing the camera in a direction that shows great organization. I have more work to do.
The ventilation is Vent-A-Fume
I notice you have your hot box separate from your vent a fume. I have a vent a fume next to my palettes as you have. Do you move the hot box near the vent a fume when using it? is it ok to leave it where it is and work from it?
Hanks in advance/
Marcia Miele Branca
You are using it correctly. I will turn my vent-a-fume when I’m using the hotbox. This is the advantage of a portable venting system
If you’re still looking for a panel storage solution, I bought a couple of “map/poster” cabinets at an auction a couple of years ago. I put them on their side, on top of one another and store my panels/canvases in one and my frames in another (I buy vintage frames for most of my paintings). I kept the shelves in to divide the different sizes, and removed the doors so that I can store a variety of widths and it keeps everything neat and tidy.
if you’re doing an encaustic on canvas, can you roll that painting for storage or will the wax start cracking?
If you are using beeswax then canvas isn’t recommended unless it is stretched first over a hard substrate. If you are using microcrystalline, then you may be able to as I believe Tony Scherman does http://www.tonyscherman.com/
I like the idea of utilizing a metal grid with S-hooks to organize your paints. Earlier this year, I started taking freelance painting work. Since it used to be a simple hobby, I don’t have a very good system of organization. I think I am going to invest in some good portable and home office storage solutions so I can keep my art supplies organized.
Ruth (or anyone else), I would love to see photos of your studio. I have an empty room to use and a low budget:)
Hi Deb I updated the post with a picture.
I am using old wooden bottle crates 12-24 “squares” hanging on the wall next to my hot box that holds all of my encaustic paint blocks and circles. I organized them by color… they are perfect cubbies but now I have so many I need to find another one. I find them in flee markets and antique malls! I also like to use old baskets that I label and keep on shelves. I like the grid idea!!!
Thanks for adding this Tracy. I’m all about reusing old things whenever possible.