I'm in the middle of my break between teaching workshops and traveling to Italy for a painting workshop. I decided to organize my studio so that when I return from Italy, I'll be ready to start teaching. For years I've kept my watercolor tubes of paint separated by color in plastic "Ziplock" bags in a drawer. This was not the most efficient way to store my paints and so I decided to search for a new method of storage. This is what I found...
Inspiration came when I found images online of how other artists were storing their paints. Pinterest had a lot of wonderful ideas, but the one I liked the most was a paint storage board. I followed the instructions on the blog "Why Not Eight". I made a few personal changes, but here's what I did:
On Sunday afternoon I sat on my patio and drew out the lettering for the saying on graph paper. I used the same saying as the Pinterest example because I liked it, and I copied it as best I could the lettering layout. I'm not a calligrapher, so I know that two of my nieces who do wonderful hand lettering could have done a better job. But they're in California and I'm in Oregon, so I had to rely on my own abilities. The saying is: "There are 7 days in the week Someday is not one of them". Since I say "Someday I'll..." a lot, I thought this was a fun and clever reminder.
On Monday, I bought all of the supplies I needed at Home Depot and Staples, including a 2" x 4" piece of sanded 1/2' plywood. My husband kindly cut it down to 3" x 20" for me. The example had used rusty water to "stain" her board. I didn't have that, so I went online to see what other kinds of easy natural stains I could use. The one I decided on was to use craft acrylic paint that is diluted with water (1:1 ratio). I used a green that I had on hand, and "stained my board. I let it dry overnight.
On Tuesday, I marked my grid of 72 dots (12 across and 6 down). Then I applied the lettering by tracing my drawing onto tracing paper, and chalking the back of the paper. I actually used white soft pastel which worked well. Using a ballpoint pen which was the recommended method I taped my tracing paper to the board and went over the lettering with the pen. It successfully transferred the saying onto my board. Then using a very small paint brush, water and a white pastel pencil I went over the transfer to make it darker. The water causes the pastel to adhere to the board, so when finishing the board the pastel did not smear or wipe away.
After the lettering was successfully transferred, I let it dry and then I finished the board by wiping it with a finishing wax. This was also the recommended method from "Why Not Eight". It was a very easy method and worked well. I let this dry for a couple of hours, (it dries in about 15 minutes, but I wanted some of the smell to dissipate, so I left it outside. I actually finished it outside because of the fumes.
Now I was almost done with the project. Just a few more steps. I hammered in 72 carpet tacks into the grid of dots I had made, and I did it all without smashing my fingers once.
For hanging the board I used to eyelet screws into the back and picture hanging wire. Once the piece was hung I was able to do my favorite part. I used binder clips on the ends of my tubes of paint, arranged them by color and hung them on the board. Viola! An organized and efficient way to store my paints. Now I can easily find the color I need, see at a glance which colors I need to order, and it looks cool and artsy at the same time!
It was a super fun project and pretty easy to do!