Simple Sorting Devices

Organizing your painting table can be tough. You want access to all of your nifty tools, reference materials, and projects but you also want enough space that you don’t feel crowded or overwhelmed. Depending on the size of your chosen work space, you may be very limited. And we all know that while we’re working, things can get out of hand quickly. Materials get scattered, and all of the sudden you have a big mess. And honestly, creativity can be hampered by cluttered and chaotic spaces.

Do not allow your cat to climb on your painting table.

I have a variety of wacky sorting and storage devices on my table, morbidly referred to as the Autopsy Table. (…begin rabbit trail…) How did it get that name? Well, it was a journey. When I lived in Indiana, PA my painting table was in the living room. Yeah, I’m not sure that was very smart … but it allowed me to paint and still interact with my wife … so it worked. However, the situation now referred to as “The Incident” happened … and it was the first step towards the naming of my hobby space. The culmination of the incident was that I was painting with my Blood Mixture (Chestnut Ink and Red Ink mixed) when I lost my grip and it spattered everywhere. On me, the table, and … yes … the white shag rug. Gahhhh! (By the way Pink Soap does wonders to clean paint from rugs and may save your marriage too.) That combined with the fact that my table often had the bits and pieces of many “tiny army men” on its surface … turned it into the Autopsy Table when our friend Claire arrived for a visit. She commented, “With these spatters of blood and the body parts … it looks like a mad scientists Autopsy Table.” ‘Nuff said.

Anyway … Sorting and Storage devices… right.

Reference materials are always handy. That’s why I recommend using a multi-level tiered file system for your magazines and clippings. You can keep all your precious materials close at hand and out of the way. I recommend that you scout out Thrift stores like Goodwill before buying these at your favorite office supply or big name store. You can usually find them on the cheap. Keep in mind that you want a sturdy file system because if you’re going to be putting No Quarter Magazines in there, they get heavy fast!

And then we have the upright Rubbermaid File Folder. This could easily be used to hold your reference materials, too. But I use this to sort and store my scratch building materials like plasticard, bass wood, and styrene parts. You can easily sort them out and stash them until you need them. I recommend keeping them in the bags that they come in so that you don’t have to fiddle around with fishing small parts out of the bottom of the file folder. Learn from my mistakes!

Also, I would like to recommend using a Bead Storage case with Jars as a way to sort out your flocking materials. You can easily fill these little jars with your favorite flocking materials and have them handy when you need to flock bases. You can screw off the lid, sprinkle the flock over your base, and then stash the case away again. Neat, simple, and easy to store. Don’t get me wrong, I use those huge Rubbermaid containers too, but this is more suited to storing on your painting table for finishing small batches of bases.

Lastly, I recommend these drawer storage units from Ikea, if you can find them. They are sturdy and the drawers are deep enough that you can place a model upright and still close the drawer. They come in many different shapes and sizes, many just the right size to snug into the corners of your painting table.

Well, that’s all for now. Get organized, and keep rollin’ sixes!

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Owen says:

    Great post. I’m a big believer in being organised about painting. Do you have a link for the IKEA storage unit? It looks like exactly what I’ve been looking for.



  2. Quixotic says:

    Well, you can’t buy them online. They are too heavy for reasonable shipping. You can visit an Ikea store looking for them, but be aware that they are slowing clearing them out to replace them with plastic versions of the craft box. You might want to call ahead and find out if your local Ikea has them in stock. They are about $15. The bar code number is 18777. They are called FIRA Moppes. Also referred to as mini-chests. They come in many different sizes but the two I own are the 36×26 cm or 14×10 inch boxes. They come in a small flat box and need to be assembled. They are pretty easy to put together.


  3. neathleanan says:

    The Ikea thingy is perfect for storing paints. Essentially with the number I have…


  4. BIG RICH says:

    Yeah neathleanan, I hear you. I recommend buying a few “Slim Baskets” too from your local Dollar Store. They come in packs of three. Basically thin plastic baskets that (if you’re lucky) you can use to organize your paint in boxes and such.


  5. Big Rich says:

    Reblogged this on Children of the Ampersand and commented:

    This is a post from 2013. I’m reposting it because it still applies to sorting tools used on my attic painting table.



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