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The Small Craft Space

Updated on January 26, 2014

Creating a Studio within a Studio

My studio is 188 square feet -- ah, but that's the one that I live in. My craft studio is a fraction of that.

I have a little alcove, bordered by a rather sturdy piece of furniture with a slide out tray that was probably designed with a keyboard in mind. Behind it (and on it) are many things.

You don't see a lot of it in this picture, but you do get a sense of where it fits in the overall design of the apartment -- and of just how small the space I'm working with. There's a glimpse of the refrigerator (small size) to the side. Perhaps you also catch a glimpse of enameled white in the foreground.

I'll offer a (small) disclaimer before we step behind the painted stool: My spice rack isn't painted to match the décor. My storage containers aren't as fancy as some. Arguably, the most notable thing is how they're hidden away.

On this page, I'll introduce you to my studio, and to some other very small craft spaces -- some of them are very fancy indeed. Some are genuinely tiny spaces; others are looks that would work well in a tiny space, even if the artist was, in fact, working with a "wee bit" more room.

Inside the Small Craft Space...

In this picture, and the one below, you start to see what's in the little craft space -- a surprising amount. Here's the 'cast of characters'.

The sturdy piece of office furniture with the pull out tray. The pull-out tray could be used as a desk; I tend to use it to store projects and materials I'll be using often. It's easy to walk back there, pull open the drawer, and remove the tray.

The dollhouse, sitting atop , serves multiple purposes. It wouldn't quite be an alcove without it. Even a miniature Tudor can be an imposing structure -- and hide quite a bit of mess.

The trays and baskets. The bottom line is, it's difficult to do everything in the craft space -- when it's this small! Sometimes it's better to organize by project than by material: Gather together the things needed for a project and put them all on a tray.

The spice rack. It makes good storage for acrylic paints and paint mediums. Vertically, it doesn't take up a lot of space. Again, it's easy to take things out and put them away. (I'm challenged in this department.) It would be possible to paint it and make it match the décor. (Distressed ivory?)

The pretty painted stool. It sits just to the side. I use the stool there to the side when I'm photographing. (Yes, occasionally I do sit on it. It can easily be moved into the alcove.)

The drawers. With odds and ends and dollhouse shingles... The smaller one actually holds office supplies. Sometimes spaces have to do double-duty around here.

The stand alones. What is leaning against the wall back there? It's a dollhouse kit -- the painted lady I'm (planning on) putting together for my nieces. (And if you're wondering where I'm going to put it after it's assembled? Oh, I don't plan on assembling it here. I plan to finish it here [carpeting, paint, shingles, siding] and send it some assembly required.)

Rearranging for Space

Lockables Storage

Lockables is my favorite storage for small spaces, at least of the sort that is relatively inexpensive. One claim to fame is that it's not so easy to spill your materials; you can open just a small section at a time. What I like most, though, is that it's pretty -- purple ultrasuede cases hanging on a hook do not look utilitarian.

Getting fancier...

Craft Space Design: Fitting Your Décor - More Glamorous than Mine!

It's not just space you have to keep in mind when you're organizing a very small craft space. Often, your craft materials share space with other living areas. Thus, you may be more motivated to think about the overall aesthetics.

I imagine think this shabby chic designer is working with a good deal more space than I am, but she has a lot of materials. She manages to cram a lot into a small space, and do so beautifully. I like the coordinated stacking boxes.

Living (and Running an Etsy Shop) in a Studio

At 330 square feet, this apartment is a good deal larger than mine. Still you wouldn't guess it could hold so much or look so nice. The vdeo doesn't include in-depth discussion of craft space organization. Still, it may be inspiring.

It Really Does Fold Into a Pretty Little Cabinet!

It Really Does Fold Into a Pretty Little Cabinet!
It Really Does Fold Into a Pretty Little Cabinet!

These are wall mount desks. The one you see above is the Southern Enterprise Wall Mount craft desk -- appearing below as a snazzy black cabinet door.

You Can Buy Boxes at the Thrift Store...

The (Pretty) Small Craft Room

This room isn't as small as some, but there are a lot of ideas that would work in a very small space (provided you don't have quite as much). There are a lot of clever ideas here -- and again, it's quite pretty. Some pieces were fashioned by the artisan's husband. There's a homemade storage shelf unit behind the desk. The craft box has holes in it, so she can pull ribbons out -- and arguably it makes for a pretty look. Then there are those hanging tags...

Concealing Craft Furniture

Some craft furniture is designed to conceal -- closed up, it may look like an armoire, a night stand, a filing cabinet. It's designed with the sewer in mind.

This is actually a cart (added bonus!), but it has rather an elegant furniture look. In a very small living space, like a studio apartment, I can imagine it doing double duty as a night stand.

Organizing Craft Space (Murphy Bed-Style) - The Craft Armoire

Here it is: I think of it as the 'Murphy bed' of craft spaces!

I envision it in an apartment in New York City where many things are at a premium -- especially space: You have your bed folded up in one cabinet, your crafting business folded up in another, and you're holding a dinner party on the table in the middle of that tiny, but chic, Manhattan loft...

This craft armoire is out of the range of the majority people who live -- and craft -- in tiny spaces. It's nifty, though! Just like a Murphy bed, you open this cabinet, and a surprising amount folds out. It holds just about everything, including a table. It comes in six different finishes, so you can likely find one to match your Murphy bed... I mean, your apartment!

You can watch the video on the Amazon site. In 27 seconds, it goes through some amazing transformations. (In real life, I imagine it takes a bit longer.)

The Smaller Craft Armoire

Here's a similar concept, but with fewer bells and whistles... and a smaller price tag. You can use the desk fully extended or partially extended. And, yes, you can fold it all up into a cabinet. From the outside, it actually looks pretty similar. The doors on this one are louvered.

Improvisation

That's not mine. I suspect this skirted table is décor -- an artistic arrangement. But there can be functional purposes, if you live in a small studio or a single room with one tiny closet, and haven't invested in an armoire. If you're going to store materials under a skirted table, you'll probably want to do (at least one) of the following:

Use the area to hide away large, in-process, projects (if you are, say, harboring a half finished dollhouse on a tray or canvas).

Use it to hide a sewing machine cart or small work table.

Place wheeled storage carts or trays underneath. (Pull 'em out, push 'em in.)

Place materials that you very rarely use. If the items are small, shelving units with trays will work better than big bins -- less work to put away! -- but if you do have a bin or two, the skirt can come in handy. Organization is an ongoing process,and hiding things behind a table skirt can be a step along the way. In short, this probably isn't the main work space -- just storage.

Notice the matching fabric in the armoire? I'm envisioning some matching homemade curtains...

Upcycled Storage Items for the Craft Room

Here are directions for turning items that may be laying around into pretty storage items.

Craft Trays for Painters

There are a lot of craft trays out there, some designed for specialized purposes. This is one I don't have, but that I rather fancy. I have read that with the lid on, paints on this palette can stay wet for days. Some people see it as a money saver because they don't end up having to throw away paint. My attraction is something else.

My living and crafting space together are one room. I don't like to have lots of paint bottles out when I am working on a project over a period of time -- yet I'm not so good at putting things away! It would be better, I think, to mix up everything I will need for verdigris and have it all on a compact little tray that I can take off the shelf (or put on!) with one motion.

Other Resources: Utilizing a Closet

You may not need to create an alcove if you have an extra closet...

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