Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Upcycled Craft Closet

It's definitely been too long since my last post, but I've been busy preparing for it!  My collection of stuff to upcycle seemed to be taking over my entire home.  Since I not only craft from home but also have a full time job working from home I figured it was time to get it under control before I totally lost my mind.  I thought it would be fun to share my upcycled craft room/office/spare room with you. AND, I would love to hear the different ways you organize your craft spaces, so be sure to leave a comment.

After removing the closet doors in my spare bedroom I was able to start really organizing.  Here's what I ended up with:
It all started with a repurposed IKEA shelving unit that once served me beautifully in the living room of my last apartment.  After a few years of use and a cross country move, it definitely needed to find a more discrete use. So, into the closet it went!  While storing the lesser used item in the back of the closet, it's a perfect fit for my newspapers and magazines that will one day become paper beads and so much more.

As you can see, I have cats!  I put several litter buckets to good use; simply slapped on a label, filled 'em up, and neatly tucked them away.  Then when I'm ready to work on a particular type of project I just grab the right bucket and get to work.

Also on the shelf, you'll see some cookie tins that I have labeled and stored things like magazine pages and aluminum that I've already cut but not used in a project.  Those cookie tins were in my basement from the last tenant and they sat there for over a year.  I just couldn't toss them!  They were in pretty good shape but two of them were starting to show signs of rust. Here's the solution I came up, because you know I wasn't going to toss them:

Craft bond is my new best friend, I used it for a few things in this reorganization project.  Here, I took a plastic grocery shopping bag and cut it up to fit the inside of this cookie tin.  I sprayed some craft bond on about a third of the tin wall and attached part of the bag to it.  Then repeated the process until the entire inside was covered.  Now I can store my craft items without worrying about rust transfer.

If we zoom in a little closer, you'll see that I reused the hanging plastic, zippered packaging from some previously purchased bedding.  I stored all my jewelry making tools in one, small patterns that I cut from cereal boxes in another, fabric scraps in still another.  The fourth one is perfect for storing everything that I need for rolling my paper beads.  When I'm headed somewhere that I know I'll be able to get some made (hanging out at mom and dads, waiting on the vet who is NEVER on time, carpool line, etc), I grab the bag and go. They have a built in hanger and I had some empty space where I had removed the clothing bar to allow enough room for the shelving unit so I improvised!  I took some strips of plastic grocery bags and braided them.  This makes for a surprisingly strong rope!  I made a loop at each end and stretched it across half of the closet using the preexisting clothing bar hardware to hang it.  I love these bags!

 Once I was happy with the closet, I turned my focus to the desk area.  This is were I work during the day too so it has to accommodate two jobs.  So here is what I did:
The first thing I did was find the desk!  It was so cluttered over the past few weeks that I was actually working from the dining room table. Once I found it, I got rid of the tchotchkes.  Over the years, I have collected some really beautiful ceramic cup style pieces that were mostly gifts.  They always made it to my desk to hold things like paper clips and rubber bands.  I just knew that I would enjoy them there the most.  But it had become more of a hindrance to productivity so I found new places to enjoy them throughout my home and upcycled something a little more functional.

Using some scrapbooking paper and an empty hot chocolate container, Christmas light boxes and paper towel tubes I created these fun and CHEAP desk/wall organizers.  Those paper towel tubes (hanging on the bulletin board) really helped me get the little trinkets off my desk and house things that I use sometimes but not every day, like rubber bands.  To make these, simply find the appropriate container and spray with mounting glue. Then work your pre-cut paper around the container.  If you'd like to jazz them up and make them last a bit longer you could add a layer of Mod Podge and adorn with ribbons and other jewels.  Check out the desk top organizers in my Etsy store.

Hanging on the wall next to my paper towel tube organizers, I used more of that braided plastic to organize my ribbons and trims.  While my original intention was to just store it in such a way that I could see what I had, it turns out that this is also an easy way to dispense the ribbon.  It just rolls right off the spool when you're ready for it.

And, finally, I added a craft mat that I made from fused plastic bags.  I use a ton of glue and different adhesives with my work so I needed something easy to clean that would protect my work surface.  To stop my beads from rolling off the mat, I sewed down a trim to catch the li'l renegades.  I simply cut up the mesh that my clementines came in and attached it with a zig zag stitch.  Then I used some of that spray mount to add a cork round to the mat.  It is a great place to rest my hot glue gun and to punch my aluminum without poking holes in my desk.

I don't feel like I'm done, but I am in a much happier place and am at peace with my craft room/office/spare room.  I hope you'll find some inspiration to upcycle some organization for your little corner of crafter's heaven.  Don't forget to post your ideas below.


  1. Thanks for sharing your craft room with your readers! It's cool to see all your ideas in action. :) Now I'm kind of regretting throwing out the package our bedsheets came in!

  2. This is so cool! Now I need you to come over and organize my studio! That mat is great... You should make some of those to sell in your shop!

  3. Neat ideas and well done :)
    and Thanks for sharing !

  4. Thanks ladies, glad you enjoyed it.

    @TheFrogBag...working on getting them to a sellable state, haven't quite perfected the process. :)

  5. Great job on organizing your stuff using items you already have in your home. As an organize freak, I love seeing other people's work areas. Very inspiring. Thanks for sharing your great tips! :o)

  6. Thanks so much for sharing what you've done! Organizing my stash is always a challenge for me. In the next few months we'll be moving two doors away to the house that previously belonged to my husband's parents. My husband swears I'm not allowed to move anything until it has a place and that we're going to organize as we move. We'll see. I love the idea though.

    I especially love your solution for storing ribbon. I'd been trying to figure out a solution without buying anything new and I have a ton of plastic bag strips I cut for a long abandoned crocheting with plastic project that I could use.

    Thanks again!


  7. Ha! Tamara....I too have a long abandoned plarn project. The carpel tunnel in my right hand just wouldn't let me maintain the hobby. I'm always looking for something to do with those bags - have fun and good luck with the move!

  8. What a fantastic job you did!

    Those bedding bags are amazing. I use them for all kinds of things. We still use them to store our sheets, blankets, and comforters. When they fall apart, I harvest the zippers, and I use the plastic itself as linings in some of the bags I make (or, I should say, I WILL use them for that. Haven't gotten to those projects yet.)

    I was lucky enough to find one of those multi-drawer organizing bins out by the curb a few years back (!!!) I use it to organize my crafting paper (cards, decoupage, etc.)

    Thanks for the great tips!

  9. What great ideas! I have been organizing my art/business room also and found some great strawberry boxes at Costco that can be used as stacking organizers.

  10. I think your craft mat is brilliant! Great use of bits and pieces

  11. This is genius, Tricia! I have plastic containers similar to the litter buckets. They were given by a cousin, and I didn't know what to do with them until you gave me the idea.

    Glad I saw you on teamupcyclers Linky party today.


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