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Tips to organize your art studio - All Things Encaustic

How to organize your art studio

I’ve noticed a few people asking in Facebook groups for advice to organize their 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

Here’s an amazon shopping list for products mentioned in this post:

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 a piece. I cut some card into squares and tied labels onto the baskets.

Metal Grid:
Along one wall above my work table is a metal grid affixed to the wall. I used an old metal cube set that I was about to donate to a charity shop. 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, S-hooks can suspend finished paintings and tools such as paints and brushes.

How to organize your art studio supplies - hang paints with binder clips and s-hooks on a metal grid

Tube Paints & Brushes:
If you use oil paints as pigment in encaustic wax medium, 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. My brushes hang below the paint, 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.

Tool Caddy:
Old tea tins in wooden tool boxes 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.

Paper Station:
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 a small 3-drawer unit in this space. Someday I hope to pick up a flat-file for paper storage.

I’ve previously shared using binders and binder sheets for organizing collage materials. It works well to store stencils too.

Panel storage:
I don’t yet have a panel storage solution. I have a second shelf where I have small panels and frames but larger panels and packing materials are in a large box in a corner.

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.

Ruth Maude Encaustic Artist & Blogger

About Ruth Maude

I enjoy experimenting with a variety of encaustic materials, techniques and tools. Everything I learn pushes my creative journey in new directions. I share what I've learned with other artists through my blog All Things Encaustic.

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8 thoughts on “How to organize your art studio”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Ruth (or anyone else), I would love to see photos of your studio. I have an empty room to use and a low budget:)

  4. 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!!!

    1. Ruth Maude Encaustic Artist & Blogger

      Thanks for adding this Tracy. I’m all about reusing old things whenever possible. I have my encaustic blocks in little plastic peg board bins that my Dad had used in his workshop but I expect that your bottle crates look nicer.

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