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See My Craft Room Makeover Reveal!

It seems that reorganizing the craft room is a constant state of being around here. It was just three years ago that I unveiled the last makeover of my craft room. Now I’m back to show off the recently finished new version, which has been well over a year in the making!

My revamped craft room has two full-sized workspaces in it, to accommodate guests and family members. It is also fully zoned, with areas set aside for sewing, painting supplies, scrapbooking, and general crafts, instead of everything mixed together like in the previous arrangement.

Craft Room with seating for two using Ikea furniture

Much of the furniture and storage items in the room was repurposed from the previous version of the room, or from other areas of the house. A large portion of the furniture is either from Ikea, such as the tables and chests of drawers, or Ikea has similar pieces available. There’s also huge quantities of Sterilite storage in the room – baskets and boxes, mostly. While it’s nice to have a pretty workspace, above all my priorities are practical and affordable when assembling my studio.

Craft room with seating for two using Ikea furniture

The largest dedicated area is for my scrapbooking. The larger workspace right inside the door of the room is devoted to my scrapbooking and papercrafting activities. The desk is an Ikea table, with two Alex drawer units underneath it. there’s also a rolling file crate that I use to hold my solid cardstock.

ikea scrapbooking area

Across the center of the table are buckets that hold my basic tools, such as scissors, paintbrushes, and pens & pencils. The buckets came from the Target dollar spot years ago. Each bucket holds a different type of item. Having them in the center of the table makes them usable from both sides of the table. I also keep a pack of baby wipes, a stack of blank index cards, and some post-it notes on the table as well – items that I use frequently while I work.

Supply Buckets on Craft Table

Also on the center of the table, at the end, is this three tiered stand that I picked up at Ross. It holds my spray inks so they are accessible from both sides of the table. One of the reasons for adding the second seat in the studio is that my husband occasionally joins me to make an art journal page or a tag. These sprays are an item that he frequently will use, so having them out is convenient for us both.

Three Tier Countertop Tray

Also on the tabletop, over to the right when you are seated at the main desk, is my Cricut work station! I used two small wood crates from Michael’s and put a plank over them to create something resembling a monitor stand that my Cricut machine can slide under to save desk space. The small crates are the perfect size to store my Sizzix Bigz dies, so the crates are useful as storage as well as support for the shelf.

My Cricut stays plugged in, so to use it all I have to do is slide it out and turn it on! I find that if I make tools have too much set up, I don’t use them. For this same reason, I also leave my heat gun plugged in and sitting on the table, ready to go.

Cricut Work Area

On the shelf above my Cricut, I stacked a bunch of small Sterilite drawer units that hold all sorts of color media such as pens, watercolors, Gelatos, and such. All the drawers are labeled in color coded labels so I know what is in them, and arranged in zones so like items are together. The drawers are designed with a stopper at the back to prevent them from being easily pulled all the way out, but I used a strong pair of scissors to cut it off of all the drawers. This allows them to be pulled out and placed on the table so I can work with the contents.

Small Craft Storage Drawers

Tucked in the corner next to the drawer units are some stacking closet shelves that are now my Project Life storage (among other things). Keeping the cards in bins means that they can be pulled out on to the table to be used.

Project Life Storage

My 4×6 Project Life cards are stored in Interdesign Condiment Caddies, organized by index card dividers that have been modified by cutting the tab off and then sacrificing a card from the kit to staple over the end to make a new tab. The Condiment Caddy will hold 4×6 cards from about 6-7 core kits.

The 3×4 Project Life cards are stored in an Interdesign 4x4x14.5 Fridge Bins similar to this one. I cut 4×6 index card dividers in half to create the dividers, and customized them for each kit for easy reference by cutting up a card from the kit. Each 14.5″ bin will hold the 3×4 cards from two core kits, plus some extra mini kits or accessory card packs.

Project Life storage

On one of the shelves underneath the Project Life cards, there are magazine holders turned on their sides. In them I put large envelopes with paper memorabilia (such as tickets and brochures) from big events, so that it is easily accessible to scrapbook. I write in pencil on the envelopes so that they can be recycled for a new event when I finish the one they currently contain.

Memorabilia Storage

Underneath the table that holds my Cricut is the rolling Ikea Alex drawer cart. Tucked on top of it are my paper trimmer, and glass cutting mat, out of sight but easy to grab to use.

The drawers of the cart contain my most frequently used small items, mostly ink pads and my 28 Lilac Lane embellishments.

Large Ikea Alex Drawer Unit

My inkpads are arranged in drawers by company and type of ink. The top drawer holds all of my Distress ink, arranged in a stacked rainbow of color so I always know right where to find the one that I need.

Tim Holtz Distress Pad storage

I’m very fond of using drawer organizing baskets in my drawers. These ones are by Mainstays – a Walmart house brand) and are very affordable. Which is a good thing since I buy them in huge quantities!

Washi Tage Storage

If I spin my desk chair around, I can easily reach everything that is on the shelves that are behind me when I’m sitting at the desk. All of my patterned paper is on the shelves that are exactly at eye level, in vertical paper holders. My paper is organized partially by company, and partially by special categories such as holidays. I find that this method works the best for me for how I am usually looking for paper.

Patterned Paper Storage

Also on the shelves are loads of plastic latch storage boxes from Sterilite (and a few shoebox sized ones from Hefty). I like storing my supplies in boxes like these because they are easy to repurpose as my needs change. All I have to do is just slap a new label on them! The other nice thing about using boxes is that they can be taken off of the shelf and moved to my work surface to look through very easily.

Some of my boxes contain types of supplies or tools – such as twine – and some are devoted to containing embellishments from certain companies or for certain holidays.

Storage Bins for Crafting

A lot of my craft storage used to be in modular cubes. A few of the ones I have are still in my craft room, creating a tower that is a combination of album storage and die cutting station.

Album Storage Shelves

This die cutting station holds my Sizzix Big Shot machine and its various cutting accessories, as well as a few large dies. The metal rack is actually a metal vertical file sorter. It works perfectly for this application and fits exactly in the spot that I have for it. It often pays to think outside of “craft” when you are trying to organize!

Die Cutting Station

Speaking of thinking outside of craft for my organizing, right next to my die cut station is my button storage rack! Since I’m the social media and blog manager for Buttons Galore, this means I have a lot of buttons in my studio. This Closetmaid wall and door rack, designed to store canned goods and other items in a kitchen or pantry, is the perfect way to store mason jars full of buttons!

Button Storage Rack

On the other side of the door sits a rolling cart that I originally bought 6 years ago for my short-lived kitchen scrap space. After that, it lived in my daughter’s room for awhile. Now it is back in my craft room to hold my wood mounted rubber stamps. The shallow drawers are the perfect depth for the stamps. I wish it was a color that didn’t stick out so much (like plain white) but once again, form loses to the all-important function in my space.

Stamp Storage Cart

On the other side of the window from my scrapbooking space is my new sewing area! This cube unit has lived in my craft room for a very long time after leaving my daughter’s room awhile ago. The pink bins hold various different fabrics and my active projects. The grey chevron cases are for fat quarters. Mine came from Joann.com and appears to be discontinued, but similar ones are also available at Amazon. The decorative boxes hold various notions like bias tape.

Sewing Area

Next to the pink unit, on its right, sits a white cupboard that holds more fabric and my sewing machine. The machine, which was previously in the closet, sits here all plugged in and ready to use. All I have to do now to use it is pick it up and move it onto the table top, and then I am ready to sew!

I am very careful about not wasting an space that could be storage in my studio. So the dead space under the end of the table has another small plastic drawer unit tucked into it. This drawer unit holds interfacing, small pieces of batting, and fiberfill.

Sewing Storage

The pegboard existed in the previous version of my studio, but it was installed to store scrapbook items. (Click here for the how to of making and installing it.) Now, it is repurposed to store sewing items, and is working out much better for me in that application. I used small pegboard hooks to hang two June Tailor thread holders on the board, which gives me storage for 120 spools of thread. The rest of the board is covered in the same bins I was previously using, only now they hold things like containers of pins, scissors and rotary cutters, measuring tapes, and other sewing notions.

Sewing Pegboard

Next to the closet is a bookcase that holds all of my Plaid paints, along with my stencils and a few other paint related items. On top of the bookcase are some Iris project boxes that contain my “current” scrapbooking projects in progress.

Paint Storage

The closet is what I consider my “general crafts” space – everything that isn’t scrapbooking or sewing or Plaid paint related. The big white baskets hold supplies and products for projects for each of the three websites I currently blog for (Scrapbook Update, Buttons Galore, and this one).

Craft Room Closet

This stack of Sterilite latch boxes has been the heart of my craft closet storage for a long time. What is in the boxes has changed over time along with my craft activities, but the boxes remain a reliable and convenient way to store my supplies.

Craft Storage Boxes

The large drawer unit on the left has been in my craft room for a long time, but in different form. It originally was a five drawer unit! If you look closely at these Sterilite drawer units, they are modular! You can snap out a level of the drawers to make your unit smaller! By doing that, I was able to fit the unit in the closet, and it is the same height as the small 3 drawer unit I purchased.

Putting the two drawer units in the closet created a narrow “shelf” on top of them that I was able to use to store my sheets of foam core that I shoot project photos. I also have photo props stored in the bottom two drawers of the large drawer unit.

Craft Storage Drawers

The closet is arranged so the items are stored in the center if they are frequently used and up high or off to the sides if they are less frequently used. These items off to the side – like my Dremel tool and clay – are less frequently used but I still need them around!

Craft Storage Closet

Although I tried to be very strict about keeping items in their own “zone”, certain space limitations did cause me to have to violate that rule a tiny bit. On one bottom shelf of the closet, I have a few scrapbooking products stored, as well as some large fabric items like batting, foam and interfacing that won’t fold up to go into smaller storage.

Craft storage closet

Thanks for touring my craft room with me! I’ll be sharing more of the details in features the rest of the week, so if you have a question be sure to leave it in the comments so I can answer it the upcoming articles!

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Professional Crafter Interview & GIVEAWAY! – Mark Montano

Reported By: Simone Collins
Today we have an interview with the author, artist, home decor master, and all around nice guy, Mark Montano. Mark has years of experience in the Craft Industry and hearing some of his insights and thoughts might help other crafters and artists in their own business.

Name: Mark Montano

Name: Mark Montano

Where can we find you online? My website, blog, Facebook Group, and Twitter

When did your business begin and why did you start it? I opened my first boutique in the East Village in 1989 where I made clothes and accessories for the hip and trendy east village New Yorkers and tons of Japanese tourists. In 2002 I published my first book called Super Suite: The Ultimate Bedroom Makeover Guide for Girls which had tons of craft projects that could help you transform your bedroom.

Tell us about your business today. Now it’s basically writing books and supporting it with TV appearances.

Describe your typical day. Up at 7 a.m. FB updates, answering e-mails from the left coast, making phone calls and then a work-out followed by creating for the rest of the day. Margaritas at 6 or 7 pm are a must.

What keeps you motivated? Something Nelson Madela said in a speech once. “It’s our responsibility to share our gifts with the world” “It doesn’t do the world any good if you keep them to yourself because it’s what will make the world a better place.”

What keeps you on track with your business? Tools? Tricks? Being creative every day and doing things that I personally enjoy. If I don’t enjoy it, then I don’t think others will.

Any websites or programs you use to help with your business? Which ones and how do they assist you. It’s an area where I lack for sure. Fortunately I have agents that keep me on track.

What is the biggest challenge in your business? Making sure I have enough time in the day to invent and be creative. I feel most days are filled with details that have nothing to do with creativity and it drives me batty.

Any advice you would give to someone just starting a crafty business? Yes, create because you love to create, not because you want to make money from it. Otherwise you’ll end up unhappy. The money will come later, I promise.

What do you love most about owning your own crafty business? Getting to be creative every day of my life.

Supplies to Make Chinese Mat Covered Table

Besides crafting, what do you love doing? I love to read, run, and floss my teeth with those floss picks. They rock my world.

Where does your inspiration come from? I am totally inspired by Picasso and Andy Warhol and by repetition.

Spring Flower Side Table from the Big Ass Book of Home Decor

Who are your favorite crafters? Margo Potter and Crafty Chica

Mark and Kathy Cano-Murillo, the Crafty Chica

Tell us about your crafting space. I love it. It’s a miniature version of my 1914 Craftsman house that I had built to look like it had been there for 100 years. It’s magical.

If you lose your crafty mojo, how do you find it again? I work through it. It’s been lost at times but I think we all need a break from creativity. It’s an energy that can be exhausted at times and we need to walk away from it.

What trends are you noticing in Craft? I try not to notice trends too much. I prefer to invent my own things. Recycling will always be popular with me and so will using things from the 99c store.

Room art tutorial featured on Mark’s blog

Where do you see your business in 10 years? My own brands of certain things that I personally use all of the time.

A big thanks to Mark for his candid answers and great info! Be sure to keep up to date with all of Mark’s great adventures on his website and Facebook.

GIVEAWAY
Mark has generously agreed to give away a copy of his book, The Big-Ass Book of Home Decor, to one lucky reader and it is so easy to enter to win. To enter please answer any of the following questions below in the Comments section of this article. One entry per person, please.

Do you own any of Mark’s books yet? Which ones? What home decor project would you like to start or are you working on?

Contest ends Sunday, May 29th at 6pm CST.

Bonus Giveaway!
Visit us on our Facebook page for another chance to win another Mark Montano book. So hop on over to Facebook for all the details and join the fun!

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Lots of stuff, so little space

Reported by Melissa Norris

For any of you who aren’t aware, my husband is in the Army and we are a military family. Furthermore, that means we live in military housing. Basically, that means no space and definitely no studio/craft room for me. We have a good closet with lots of room for all of my stuff, but it is in the back of the house. And I am the first to admit that I’m a bit lazy about when I drag something out of the back closet to use it, I’m not too keen on dragging it back to the closet when I’m finished.
About a month ago, my husband and I finally came to a sort of truce. We had one of those wire shelving units from Target in our daughter’s closet that wasn’t really being used. I was going to be able to bring it into the dining area and keep my stuff in the 6 cubbies it provided. But only those 6 cubbies, no more, no less.

So here is my cubby area. It holds my stamping/cardmaking supplies. Needless to say it has overflowed from the original agreement. But shhhh….he hasn’t said anything yet.
When confronted with a space dilema, one of the first things to note is utilizing every inch of the space you do have. One of the best ways I’ve found to do that is to buy similar sized containers. This way you don’t have a lot of wasted space.

One of the first products that I really like are these photo boxes from Michaels. They come in tons of colors and styles, and are often on sale for around $1.50 US. The pink one holds all of my envelopes, some embellishments that I don’t use very often, and some chipboard that is too big to fit in some other containers I have. The orange one holds all of my ink pads. I sit them flat in my box while they are stored, then when I’m ready to use them I sit it on it’s end and turn the ink pads to make my own fake rack for them. The green one holds other embellishments such as full Prima jars, some Accents & Elements tins from Stampin’ Up, and some other small tools and embellishments. It’s basically turned into a catch all box.The other thing that I really enjoy for my semi-organization are these craft boxes. They are found at any craft store and even at Wal-Mart and are usually $2 or less depending on the style. You can often find them in the beading area or where the embroidery floss is. These are great for embellishments and perfectly hold Bobbin Ribbon. And all being the same size they stack very neatly on a shelve for no wasted space. I’m currently in the process of filling some new ones I just purchased. I’m planning on getting them more organized by filling one with ribbon, one with eyelets, one with brads, one with primas, etc etc etc. Then using my label maker to label the sides to make things easier to find when I have more of them.

The final thought I would like to share with you is to take the time to go through your items every once in a while and purge. About every 6 months or so I go through and find stuff I’m not going to use, still haven’t opened, or think “What was I thinking when I bought that?” I then either sell it or give it away. This way I’m keeping my space clear and leaving less stuff to go through when I’m looking for “just the right item.” And if you do clean some of your stuff out, think about donating it go a good cause. I recently read about this site, Operation Scrapbook. They make premade scrapbooks for foster children and Hospice patients, and they would love our extra paper and embellishments to help brighten someone elses day.
I hope that my thoughts about making the most of your space have helped you. Please leave us comments with your ideas on how to keep organized in a small area.

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Failing Organization 101

Reported by Amy Westerman

Mmmmm….I think I am slightly embarrassed to be writing an article on organizing craft rooms. As I was trying to figure out what I could write about, I came to the painful realization that I really had nothing to say, ESPECIALLY in comparison to the other Craft Critique reporters who’ve reported so far on this subject. Can you believe Colleen’s super-organized room? I’m guessing she puts most of us to shame as far as craft rooms go! What about Julie’s amazing way of organizing all of her supplies by color? Now, why couldn’t I have thought of that? Or, what about Michelle’s idea of approaching your craft room with the mindset of a librarian; keep what is worthwhile and ditch the rest! This I can do!!!!

Really, I take my hat off to these super organized women. They must be super-efficient with their time in the craft room. But, in all honesty, I must confess to you that I continue to struggle in this area on a daily basis. I have every intention of keeping my room organized, but time after time, it eludes me. Day after day, my supplies threaten to overtake me. Minute after minute, they get in my way. It’s absolutely ridiculous!

So, what IS the main problem when it comes to my organization? Without a doubt, it’s putting things back in their proper places! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got every organizer cube/box/folder known to mankind. I’ve got drawers dedicated for ribbon, paper, markers, embellishments, inks, etc. I’ve got shelves for stamps. But all these drawers don’t do me a lick of good because I don’t take the time to put everything I touch back in its intended home. Why? Am I too busy? At times that might be the case. Unfortunately, laziness is more than likely the culprit I’m sad to say. I just don’t want to take the time to put every little thing back in its place. With as much stuff as I use, it seems like I would be putting things away constantly and not getting any stamping done!

In all seriousness, the key to an organized craft room IS putting your supplies back where they belong after you are done using them. This isn’t brain surgery, folks. Put back what you take out. We’re preaching it to our kids constantly. It’s a piece of advice we need to start heeding ourselves. I have a friend who makes it a point to put away five things after every card she makes (she make her cards in groups of four). It’s not everything, but it’s a start.
We have to stay ahead of the clutter. We can’t allow it overtake us because clutter suppresses creativity. And our creativity is what fuels us. If we don’t have our creativity, we don’t have much now do we?

In conclusion, I realize I didn’t come to the table with as much fabulous organizational wisdom as Colleen, Julie or Michelle did. Their ideas put me to shame. I SHOULD be more like them. But, alas, I don’t think it will be happening any time soon. What I WILL do is practice what I preach…..if I use it, I’ll put it away where it belongs. Can this be something YOU could work on too? Friends, organization is not out of our grasp. With the things you’ve learned so far from the super organized talent we have here at Craft Critique to the little tidbits I was able to offer you today, you my friend, are on your way to super craft room organization! Good luck!!!

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!