STUDIO: An Ikea Hack for Painting Storage

A Simple Solution for Painting Storage 

 

I’ve written before about the challenges of being a compulsive painter who likes to work on medium/large paintings (see 2016 entry STUDIO: Sixteen Years of Paintings.) If not sold, on display, or on the walls of my own house, where can I keep all the paintings I make?

The number of works has only grown over the last 3 years. Due to life circumstances, for a few years I had to store my paintings at a separate location. But in the fall of 2018, they came back into our home.

All 185 of them! We used the transportation and unpacking process as an opportunity to do a really thorough inventory and documentation of all the works I’ve made and kept over the last 18 years. This count does not include works I’ve sold, traded, given away, or painted over.  I’ve been busy.

Just a Small Sample 

But once they were all accounted for, we still had the problem of how to store them. I had the idea of constructing a two tier painting storage rack out of plywood and 2 x 4s. I did various sketches, contemplating the best methods for joinery and assembly.

When I showed my drawings to my wife Michele Bledsoe, she made one of her typically insightful comments: I was basically drawing something with the structure and dimensions of a bunk bed. There was no need to try and fabricate a stable, load bearing structure from scratch. We just needed a cheap bunk bed frame.

One trip to Ikea later, and I had a painting storage rack that could be assembled in an afternoon. It was $169.00. The raw materials for a wooden rack would have probably been cheaper, but avoiding the frustration my crude carpentry skills would have caused is priceless. I lined the beds with cut down sheets of cardboard from the boxes the bed came in.

The few largest paintings (3′ x 4′ and bigger) I have resting on the floor between the bed and the wall, elevated on strips of wood. All the rest now are safely stored on the adapted bunk bed rack. My paintings are lined neatly up by size, front to front, back to back, with dividers of cardboard and foam core for extra safety. My painting storage problems are solved!

 

The Big Ones Get Their Own Dedicated Space 

 

A stepladder helped in loading small works on the top tier 

 

The Great Ikea Painting Storage Rack Hack

Room for Plenty More! 

 

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STUDIO: Sixteen Years of Paintings

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At least they stack nicely

We are working on some renovations on our house. These upgrades involve emptying the room where Michele Bledsoe and I store our art.

Paintings can be fragile things, easy to scratch, dent, puncture, or rip if you are not careful. I believe the best way to store a painting is to have it hanging on the wall, and believe me when I say our house is lined practically floor to ceiling with art. This is what happens when two compulsive painters get married, and they have lots of artistic friends to trade works with.

But in the end there is a limited amount of wall space, so the majority of my art gets stacked out of the way of life. This home improvement project we are working on required moving my paintings out of their secure location.

It didn’t occur to me to take a “Before” picture. We had sixteen years worth of mostly my paintings lined neatly up by size, front to front, back to back, with dividers of cardboard and foam core for extra safety. They were elevated off the floor on strips of lumber I cut for just that purpose.

I was so used to this system it didn’t really occur to me how many paintings there were, until I had to pull them out.

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This isn’t even all of them, just a few of the stacks that have been distributed throughout the house. One thing we are doing is taking this opportunity to do an inventory: documenting the titles, medium, and size of each work. Once we get this massive update done, I intend to keep it current with my new works, but we will see how that goes.

Ironically, seeing how many paintings I have, and scrambling to find a place to put them, makes me want to paint even more, on even larger canvases.

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