When there's little room to do what you love

Space for Crafts

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Organized Craft Supplies

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Low Cost Creativity

Setting Up a Craft Area

I need some ideas for where to set up a craft area when there is no space for one. I hate to drag out paints and supplies to work on something only to have to put it away in 20 minutes. It would be great to be able to sit down and start working and come back as time permits. I have small children and my craft supplies are very tempting to them. I am hoping someone has some great ideas as to where to find extra space for crafting.

Moveable Crafts

If you need to make room for crafts and keep them safe too, then pick out a container large enough to hold everything. If you use an open container, figure on putting it up out of reach when not working on it. If you need to leave things lay out, get a sheet of foam board and then pin your project to it before putting it out of reach. Support the foam board with plywood if necessary. If you're really desperate for space, consider putting your project in a basket hung from a ceiling hook.
Kay from Ohio

Utilize Space in Basement or Garage

My husband was tired of hearing me complain about having to get out and put away my scrapbooking supplies, so he took initiative and organized a scrapbooking area for me in our basement storage room.

Using a corner of the room, inexpensive pegboard on the two walls holds supplies. A fluorescent fixture hanging above my table provides needed lighting. Other supplies are in space-saving organization units stacked on an old dresser that provides storage in the drawers as well. Everything is organized in a "U" shape with a 6' table in the middle part of the "U" so that I can use my swivel chair to reach everything. The best part is that when I am done, I just close my book, turn off the light and close the door! We installed a simple door lock to keep the three kids out as they liked to get into the papers and stickers.

If you use a basement or garage area for scrapbooking, you need to have it somewhat climate controlled. We have a dehumidifier in our basement. Too hot, too humid or too cold isn't good for your photos, supplies or completed albums.
Christine in Missouri

Use a Hallway

If you have limited craft areas, try using a hallway or corner of a room. I lined my hallway into the bedrooms with six-foot tall bookshelves and a two-door cupboard that was purchased at Wal-Mart. I have a wooden board, which sits on two crates for a worktable that can be stored behind the bookshelf when not in use. I put tall baskets on the shelves in which to store supplies. Nice floral containers can hold smaller items. Wicker baskets hanging from the ceiling hold my silk flowers.

One bookshelf keeps all my craft, garden, and cook books. I gave my granddaughter one bottom shelf. She keeps her books, small craft projects and small toys there. She leaves mine alone and knows that she is allowed to pick items off her shelf and we are both happy. The items on the shelves keep changing so I always have a different look. It never gets boring. It is very timesaving because I can see all my containers and supplies quickly.

Dress Up the Walk-In Closet

I have a large walk-in closet in my house. But since I don't have nearly the clothes to fill it, I fold everything I can and put it in the dresser. Then we used the closet for my stamping and scrapbooking. We put in a desk and a ceiling fan instead of the little light. I can close the door or put up the baby gate to keep the kids out of my stuff. Then I can stop at any time to do something I'm supposed to do like make supper!

Retrofit an Armoir

Several years ago, I spotted a great idea for a craft cabinet. This person used an old armoir and retrofit it with shelves to fit her supply boxes and a cool slide-out work surface. When she needed to put things away, she just slid the work surface back in and closed the doors (she had little ones too, and added a small hasp lock).

If you don't have an armoir, consider looking for one of those particle board wardrobes the discount stores sell for under $100. They are usually large and you can customize the inside with sheets of MDF (medium density fiberboard) cut to length, which is cheaper than pine shelves in most places! Even better, since many students buy these types of cabinets to furnish their dorms/apartments and then use and abuse them until they are wobbly, you may find one at a yardsale for a few dollars. Just use a few L brackets or corner braces to shore-up the structure. Lastly, a few ideas to customize the inside:

  • Dollar store wire/plastic bins can be attached to the underside of interior shelves or to the inside of the doors.
  • Inexpensive bulletin boards (found at yardsales of course!) or cork tiles can be mounted to the inside/outside of doors to hold notes, craft ideas, pictures, etc.
  • For slide-out surfaces, buy a slide kit (sold at most home improvement stores) or buy a piano hinge and make a drop leaf.
  • For wardrobes with hanging bars, consider using one to hold your spools of ribbon or yarn. No tangles!
  • There are tons of organizer systems out on the market. Check discount stores, hardware stores, and dollar stores for ideas.

Teresa from Montgomery, Alabama

Crafts on Wheels

Buy a two or three drawer cart with wheels. You can find them at Wal-Mart, Target, and even home improvement stores. You can store it in your closet and you can easily roll it away when you're done. When you are ready to start crafting, place it right next to you and work right out of it. No need to dump everything onto the table.

Great Ideas at the Library

Kudos for keeping up with your creative projects while the little ones are little!

  1. Check with a friend who is a member of the American Sewing Guild (www.asg.org), or better yet, join (tons of discounts). Their national newsletter Notions had a wonderful article on converting a closet into a sewing room. It was several issues ago.
  2. Check your library for books/magazines with articles on decorating in small spaces. I've found several inspiring ideas to use.
  3. I'm planning to re-paint an old rolling cart and my sewing machines on it. If I need to do bead work, paint, or piecing, I can use the top of the cart and just roll it in the closet. Check around for microwave carts, rolling filing cabinets (storage and horizontal workspace), or other things on wheels that can be brought out, worked on, and just rolled away.


Best Solution is Disguise

I found the best solution for a craft area is disguise. I have limited space and limited time and a growing craft business that started as a hobby. I picked up end tables and an ottoman with storage underneath, a tackle box, an open box with a handle (I think they are used for carrying cleaning supplies from room to room). I also picked up a small folding table that adjusts to different angles for use as a painting easel or flat where I can lay out several pieces at once.

The table slides easily under my couch so I can pop it out when I have a few minutes. I pull out my boxes with organized paints from inside the ottoman and my current working pieces from under the end table and I'm set up and ready to go in minutes. When I need to stop, everything neatly hides away in only minutes. If I get surprise visitors, I can get completely cleaned up before I even answer the door. I picked up all of the above at various yard sales and spent less than $50 for all of it.

Under the Table

My idea for this reader would be to use the space under a desk or table. She could organize her supplies neatly in bins or baskets (whatever she has) and then put a simple fabric skirt around the table to hide the supplies. The skirt could be attached with Velcro tape. Or, she could cover the entire table with a decorative piece of fabric or tablecloth. Then, when she is ready to craft, she can just take her supplies out from underneath and work on the table.

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