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How To Start An Art Studio From Scratch On A Low Budget

Updated on January 8, 2016
C.S.Alexis profile image

C.S. Alexis works in an art gallery located in the Calumet region of Northwest Indiana. Come see her at One Best Life at Tinker's Attic.

This Work In Progress Was The Subject Of A HubPage I Was In The Middle Of Writing

A Christmas Wreath I was working on and writing a "How To" hub about was one of the many things lost in the flood.
A Christmas Wreath I was working on and writing a "How To" hub about was one of the many things lost in the flood.

Building On Past Experiences

Autumn 2008, I was the proud, sole/proprietor of a compact but functional Art Studio located in the basement of my home. I could work there at all hours of night or day and produce artwork that ranged from simple drawings to elaborate three dimensional works of art. I had spent the last 8 years building this workplace in hopes of doing what I know best, being creative. It was by no means the perfect place to work but over the years I had managed to equip my studio with just about everything I needed to make it a profitable adventure. I was set up and happy to have reached a point where I could run downstairs with a fresh idea and emerge some time later with a work finished or in progress. Things were really LOOKING GOOD.

In The Wink Of An Eye

It started raining in mid September and to make a long story short ( I have already written those hubs) we experienced a serious flood that left my Art Studio in complete ruin. Most of my equipment was trashed, I lost all of my supplies, all of my works in progress, samples, experiments, actually about 95% of what I had so painstakingly worked for over the past 8 years. That brings me to this hub and how to start an Art Studio from scratch.

Adrift Art Studio/Update March 2010

Reach For The Sky
Reach For The Sky
Finally back in my own house, the basement is not what it was but I am able to produce jewelry from here and will be having my first open house this month.
Finally back in my own house, the basement is not what it was but I am able to produce jewelry from here and will be having my first open house this month.
By purchasing items with a related theme, "Adrift", and related color scheme, I put together a display for my home jewelry parties for under $30. Shopping in the bargain bins and second hand stores, I kept my eyes peeled for things that would work in
By purchasing items with a related theme, "Adrift", and related color scheme, I put together a display for my home jewelry parties for under $30. Shopping in the bargain bins and second hand stores, I kept my eyes peeled for things that would work in
Doing what I do best came down to making bulletin boards, handcrafted jewelry and pyrographics on driftwood
Doing what I do best came down to making bulletin boards, handcrafted jewelry and pyrographics on driftwood

Starting From Scratch

Now there is no finished basement to work in as that has since been gutted. There stands an empty space that is currently being repaired in order to stop leaks from cracks around the foundation. I have some of my belongings in boxes and piles, stacked here and there throughout the house. It is crowded and cramped. I also have some home furnishings placed in a storage until we can get the basement in a condition to stay dry and safe from mold and mildew and other unhealthy things like dust and insects.This process is going to take months to complete because now it is the beginning of winter and we will have to wait for Spring to do a lot of the work required.

Selling My Artwork Online

This is the newest addition to our Internet ventures and we have great hope that our Etsy Store will grow and prosper as we continue to develop and refine this location.

We also have a store located on ebay, Handcrafted Jewelry USA. The advertisement above helps to generate viewers and potential customers to that location.

The key is in promoting and working toward whatever your goals are. You have to work at it and you have to have faith and endurance because it takes time.

I Can't Stop The Creative Urge

Yes it does not look like I have much in the way of room but, I still have this never ending urge to be creative. I long to develop my ideas in to functional works of art. I just CAN NOT HELP MYSELF! I could let it drive me crazy, which is mostly what has been happening OR, I could think of a way to keep up my creative process and not let a small mishap stand in the way of my calling.

Where To Start

This Hub By Bruce Elkin covers many thoughts on going for what you want. I strongly suggest reading his ideas on the subject. You can click on the link to see what he has to say.Not willing to let my life circumstance stand in the way of what I know I want to do I will have to start an Art Studio From Scratch. I can not jump in an take off from where I was so I will have to make a plan and work to reach that plan. I will have to make goals and work to reach those goals. The keyword here is work WORK and more work . I decided as I begin this project to share my ideas and thoughts, activities and insights with those of you who might also have an interest in starting an Art Studio. So let's get started.

Things To Consider In Your Plan For Action

Now that I have decided to pick up and carry on rather than give up on my true love, I am going to have to decide what it is I really plan to do. There are many things to consider before doing anything.


  • What kind of artwork are you going to pursue?

This has got to be the most important thing to consider before trying to create a place to work. Different kinds of artwork will require different amounts of space. Are you going to paint pictures? Will they be oil paintings, water colors, acrylic paintings? Will you need an easel? Can you work from a table top to start?

You really have to put some thought in to this. Will you work on one painting until it is completed or are you the type of artist who likes to work on several different projects at a time?

Maybe you are not going to paint. Maybe you are only going to do drawings but, will they be pencil, ink or maybe pens? Will you need a drawing table?

What about the lighting for your work area?

You also have to consider the tools and supplies for your particular craft.

Do you have to have running water available? What about a place to store or hold your supplies? Can you keep everything you need in a small box or case? Or... Will you need larger storage facilities such as a locker, cabinets?

Take some time to think your craft out and make notes. This will help when it comes time to take action in setting up your studio.

Decide Exactly What You Want From Your Art Studio

I was on the phone with my sister a few weeks ago and she was telling me about how good her work was going. She started an ebay store that has taken off in just a few short months and is making her a profitable adventure. She plans to stay with it and suggested that I too, stick with my artwork because, that is what I know best.

She also said that she would be willing to sell my work, did I have anything to sell? That made my desire to create even more compelling. That is when I realized I needed work space. I needed an Art Studio...stick to what you do best..... 

Great advice!

  • That is my first suggestion to anyone who is thinking of starting up a business of any kind. You will have a lot less work to do if you work at something you already know.
  • Have a plan of actions you will take in order to make your efforts pay off. That does not always mean that the pay be a monetary figure. There are some who would just like to create a work place in order to pursue their hobby as an artist. I am past the hobby point and want to make my studio in to a business that MAKES MONEY.
  • research and develop your plan to insure it will work within your means. That means that you should not jump up and spend a bunch of money right off the bat. Make sure you are going to need what you buy to produce the final product you intend to create. Ask friends and relatives for their opinions and do not let there remarks bring you down if something they say sounds negative. Just listen carefully for ideas that will help you get to where you want to go with what you are planning to do.
  • Make an outline of your intentions and goals. Write it down and tack it up where it is handy just in case you want to add or subtract from it. Another good reason to post your written outline is to remind you that you have something good you are trying to achieve.


The Next Steps To Ponder

Once you decide what you are going to pursue in the way of a creative craft you should start to consider what amount of time, tools, materials and supplies you will be able to put in to the growth of your Art Studio.This will have an impact on the size of area you will need to work in along with all of the other factors you have been thinking about.

  • How much time will you actually spend working in your Art Studio?

This is a big question to consider. The more time you spend working there the more comfortable you will want things to be. That means you have to think about heating, air conditioning, furnishings and so on. I had a radio, coffee pot, telephone, bathroom and many other conveniences that were at hand in my last studio. It may be that in the beginning you will be able to make do with less than your heart desires. I am sure that I will have to do that.

My plan is to grow in to a studio that will fulfill my needs and my desires.

  • What tools and equipment are a must to get you started?

The idea here is to try to get by with the least and make the most of it. There are ways to work around large expenditures when you first start out. I have the idea to start very small and work my way in to the craft. I am going to start with a couple of different crafts that I know the most about. I figure this way I can make the best choices when picking up tools and supplies and so on.

My woodburnigs are a good example of what I mean. I have published several hubs about "how to" approach many different aspects of pyrography. Start with the basics, read up on as much as you can and then go for it in a simple way. I intend to have my first work of art sold before I produce it. See that will allow me a cash flow. Cash will allow me to purchase what I need to get started and I can build on that, at least that is my plan.

  • What materials and supplies will you need to make a finished product?

This is a part that I know I will have a problem with. I have this habit of buying things when I see them at a great price even when I know I will not be using them right away. This habit has got to be curbed when first starting out. The lack of space and limited funds are the two best reasons I can think of. Buy only what you will need at first. When things are up and running smooth you can go for those bargains in order to save future expenditures.

If it is at all possible in your line of crafts, try to buy USED, DISCOUNT, or try RECYCLED items. This can save enormous amounts of money. Check out this link I wrote about using recycled materials for youe creative adventures. There are several ideas that could lighten the burden on your pocketbook.

All Things Considered

Now that I have managed to boggle your brain with all the things you should think about before you even start creating that Art Studio....

What will you do next?

Get BUSY is what I say. Do not wait any longer.

  • Do what you know, or
  • Do your research on what craft or art you will undertake.
  • Define exactly what you want to achieve with your Art Studio
  • Consider the elements you will need to get going.
  • Put it down in writing. 
  • Find a place to start working. I suggest you start in your home and expand as you outgrow your area.
  • Ask your friends and family for their thoughts on what you are planning to do.
  • Consider your time and what you want to achieve with your effort.
  • Be creative with your decision making.
  • Make a commitment to yourself so that you will be successful.
  • Keep a watchful eye on your budget.
  • Work Work Work!


Get Busy Creating
Get Busy Creating


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    • profile image

      Bridgette Smith 

      2 years ago

      Did you need a license to teach

    • Better Living profile image

      Better Living 

      7 years ago

      My studio's my kitchen table-lol.

    • C.S.Alexis profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from NW Indiana

      Georgia thank you. I am not poor of spirit just the same. I keep pushing on. After reading your comment I took a look at your profile. Now I think I will spend this cold day looking over your work here on HubPages. Happy Day to you well for that matter....Happy New Year!

    • Georgina_writes profile image

      Georgina Crawford 

      7 years ago from Dartmoor

      Poor you. Losing it all and having to start over. I can't imagine that. I share my art studio with a drum kit and a cross trainer that are seldom used. I'd like too see them go! Popping over to find you on etsy. Rating up & sharing.

    • profile image

      carter carson (girl) 

      7 years ago

      i draw a lot but i dont have much space in my house so in my room i have a section for it and it works perfic

      bye, carter carson

    • profile image

      Kazzy, Lagos 

      8 years ago

      These ideas of yours have really broading M????ÿ sense of direction of where to start. I have been searching M????ÿ starting point for quite some time now. But with this A????? confided on the information provided. Nice Article

    • blabak profile image


      8 years ago

      nice article... i like it a lot.. haven't get to the point where i could actually sell my works online... gotta learn how to do that..hehe.. well my studio is at home.. but it's kinda the whole house is my studio which is not a verry wise idea.. i got alotta stuff lying around.. hahaha.. well... hopefully next year i could do a propper studio at home... i need to do a major renovation of my house..

      will drop by to read more of your stuff.. thanks again.. this put my creativity in motion again thanks...

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      thank you for this, I am a student in college, and recently I have needed to make something out of the way i learn which is very much artisticly. out of everything i do i have loved printmaking and painting two things that should not be done in a bedroom the size of a closet. next step finding out where to put my art studio.

    • DriftwoodGuy profile image


      9 years ago from Arizona

      Great Article! I am just starting out myself, even though I have been making things out of driftwood for 20 years. My cabin is getting full and now I am venturing out to bring the gifts of nature to the world. Your article was great and I am inspired to know that anything is possible. What we focus on expands! I have done a fan page on facebook and a website or 3 and now will be getting exposure by selling some stuff on ebay listing my site.

      Keep up the inspiration!

    • profile image

      Patricia Nettles 

      9 years ago

      Wow! I am so glad I found your site at work wishing I was home painting. I am an abstract artist and have been experiencing an Artist Block for a while. This site has really inspired me to re-evaluate my basement studio space and to revise my goals as an Artist. I really look forward to more articles for us "starving Artist" types on at tight budget.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I'm currently opening up an art studio in Valdez, AK. Thanks for the great story to help push me along the way. I've been doing exactly what you're saying and have been keeping a small budget to get me going. Another thing that has been helping me out is trading with people. In exchange for art classes people have been helping me out. Keep up the wonderful, creative process you have done for yourself. Shine on!

    • C.S.Alexis profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from NW Indiana


      I encourage you to continue that creative quest and always be true to your heart, that studio will grow and prosper as long as you stay focused. thank you for commenting and stay in touch, i think that would be nice.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      What an inspiration you are!! The creative heart always draws us forward toward our art. I lost my studio to divorce 19 years ago...I am only now beginning to embrace my passion for my art and opening up to the process of starting up a studio. As I write I am waiting for a small building to be delivered . I salvaged it from a building supply center.Strange but true, once you commit to your art the universe will support your efforts. I have no money, I had no studio but I was determined to start painting again....Drawing the building into my life is just the never knows what is in store when one looks at life through the eyes of an artist...

    • C.S.Alexis profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from NW Indiana


      You know I love being an artist, it is all I really know, create create create. Thanks for the kind words, art is me, I am art, by God.

    • heart4theword profile image


      9 years ago from hub

      This hub is right along, my path of creativity:) I too, am a person who works on multiple projects at a time. Have to say, I am also ont of those who buys things, with the intent to do something later with it. You are so right, it can start encroaching on your space:(

      Love how you recapped a list at the end of this hubpage! Your suggestions were a great encouragement to me, because I have and am doing already some of the points you listed.

      I decided a few months ago, I need to find a way to work my art as a business. That process has already started, with much success...moving towards my goals.

      It seems you are so artsy:) Nice to meet you!

    • C.S.Alexis profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from NW Indiana


      I liked your painting and your style, good job.

    • GarnetBird profile image

      Gloria Siess 

      9 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      NICE inspiring Hub/I just started painting again. If you go to my Hub on Cleopatra's sister, I posted a painting I just finished. This is encouraging me to make more room for ART--it's so important!(Lovely jewelry by the way)

    • C.S.Alexis profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from NW Indiana

      Cathi thanks for reading and commenting.We are actually working on some of the flooded stuff today believe it or not. It has taken so long and will continue to use our energy but.....progress !

    • Cathi Sutton profile image

      Cathi Sutton 

      9 years ago

      I'm so sorry you lost so much! I know it was a great disappointment to you. You have given very valuable advise in this Hub, and I appreciate it very much!

    • C.S.Alexis profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from NW Indiana

      Chris just think creative, under the bed, suspended from the ceiling and so on. I keep very large flat sheets of paper in my van floor between 2 card boards. I store bottles and tubes of paint in the plastic coffee tubs with the lids so I can stack them. I also have used the same coffee containers as lifts for shelving that double to store my paints and keep several side by side so that when I need to get in them for paint I still have some to support the shelving.

    • ChrisJohnsonArt profile image


      9 years ago from Mexico

      It must be nice to have an entire basement and bathroom as a studio. I've been hoping to start getting more sales to cover more supplies. I do mostly photography and digital art, but I still need a place for prints, paper,still life box, and my oil/acrylic supplies and easel. Any advice on storage in a tiny studio (3meterx2meter no closet also the office/computer/etc. room)

    • C.S.Alexis profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from NW Indiana

      Laura I love reading what you wrote, art on, creativity flows like water and it is very hard to contain so let it flow! Spiritual kinship here I am feeling it....

    • Laura Thykeson profile image

      Laura Thykeson 

      9 years ago from Central Texas

      I'm an artist and had to give up my free-standing art studio when I got a divorce...I built up another one in my guest bedroom, that I share with a bed, lol! Not nearly as much room, but it has worked out ok. I look at it as a testament to the determination we have as creatives. "If there's a will, there's a way..."

      Laura T.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Good Information

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great info! I have bookmarked this hub for further reading..

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great info! I have bookmarked this hub for further reading..

    • starts business profile image

      starts business 

      9 years ago from makati city

      Thank you for the encouragement! this is really a big help for the people who wants to start a business with just a small amount of money.Being creative is one way to gain and earn profit.

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 

      9 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      Great hub! Its wonderful to see enterprising people doing great things like this!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Thank you! Love your passion. I needed to hear something to get me going.

    • RosWebbART profile image

      Ros Webb 

      10 years ago from Ireland

      my art studio is a walk in wardrobe ; that spills out into the bedroom.... but it works for me ; tiny as it is. Great hub very inspiring.

    • kartika damon profile image

      kartika damon 

      10 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

      wonderful hub - so sorry about the flood! You know I just put away my art studio - it filled my dining room and had been up and running for a good year - I went back into my writing and needed clutter free - have my easel on my little back porch and lots of supplies in cupboards though! Thanks for your inspiration! Kartika

    • Moonmaiden profile image

      Fayme Zelena Harper 

      10 years ago from Lucerne Valley, CA

      I hope things are going well at this point and you are starting to see some income from it.

    • nyliram profile image


      10 years ago

      Very good Hub. I think we have to realise that in adversity we grow stronger.

    • C.S.Alexis profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from NW Indiana

      Yes glassvisage,

      right now that is where I am standing. It takes so much time to do all of the footwork and preparations for set-up that actually doing the artwork is a quest for time. I do hope to help and encourage other people who want to reach personal business goals. I think it can be accomplished by anyone who takes care to establish solid foundations to build on.

    • glassvisage profile image


      11 years ago from Northern California

      Thank you for encouraging the creation of small businesses and the pursuit of passions with your series of "how to start this on a low budget" Hubs. I think it would be great to start an art studio... I just need time to work on art!

    • SweetiePie profile image


      11 years ago from Southern California, USA

      I think you are better at space saving ideas than I. My dad had bought many art organizers at the second hand store that I used for organizing my paint brushes and things such as that. However, I will be reading your hubs to get more ideas on making an art studio becaues maybe one day I will have a larger place.

    • C.S.Alexis profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from NW Indiana


      Thank you. I will most likely write more on the subject of Art Studios as I progress myself. Happy to see you visit and share your own studio, would welcome more information on space saving and so on. C.S.

    • SweetiePie profile image


      11 years ago from Southern California, USA

      I have a small tiny studio where I do art work in my room. I also draw next to the tv. I love your ideas and this is great for all artists on a budget.


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