Tips on designing an old sign themed paint studio

Heap of Change Challenge on

When I first challenged myself with a cleaning challenge called Heap of Change, all I really expected to do was declutter. But I’m SO GLAD I pushed myself to the extreme in this area. Because this particular before and after is one of the most dramatic ones I’ve done to date!

Where we left off….

Heap of Shame Challenge-7915
Part 1 – visit the before HERE

This is a junk storage area, but I needed it to double as a paint studio for my stencils. Wish me luck!

A freshly purged and painted paint studio... click to see the startling before!
Part 2 – visit the big clean up HERE

I’m so glad I took a picture of the paint studio purged and empty like this. I’ll never see it like that again I’m sure! Visit this post on all the steps taken to get to this point.

Tips on designing an old sign themed paint studio on
Part 3 – you are here. I’ve moved in!

adjustable wood paint shelves in a paint studio

Update! Part 4 – this is how it looks today! The carpet has been pulled, with the concrete painted white too!

Visit new paint shelves for paint studio HERE

stencil storage rack

And check out the newest stencil storage rack HERE. It’s HUGE!

Heap of Shame Challenge-7916
Tips on designing an old sign themed paint studio on
Tips on designing an old sign themed paint studio / craft station

1. Let there be LIGHT!

Lighten up your space so it’s more enjoyable to work in.

This little space is a section between two rooms with no windows. It was always as dark as a cave. 

Don’t let the photos fool you, it’s still dark, but the camera shutter was left WIDE open to capture the light. The paint saved this room. The white walls did exactly what they were suppose to do to the best of its abiliity.

Tip: I gauge if a room is too dark by how it looks with the lights off mid day. If I MUST flick on lights, it needs to be lightened up colour wise. 

I’ll also be adding more lights to the space. Somehow. Junk style perhaps? One day maybe even a few high windows for natural light. I’m thinking.

Repurposed organizing / Tips on designing an old sign themed paint studio on
2. Define what your area will be used for and how.

It will help you determine which accessories are most productive. Remember, no clutter allowed!

This area was designed to house vinyl signmaking and stencilling. So it’s a blend of crafting and all things paint.

Mattress spring stencil dryer / Tips on designing an old sign themed paint studio on

 3. Make every accessory decorative AND productive.

It’s the best way to get in style and all the things you need, without an overload of pretties just taking up space.

You’ve seen this mattress spring as a bulletin board in the past.

Today, it will hold stencils that will be waiting to either be cleaned off, or left out to dry after just having been cleaned.

I’m crazy about how functional it is, yet doesn’t darken the space!

Cultivator wheel twine storage / Tips on designing an old sign themed paint studio on
4. Bring out the quirk and make it work!

It’s touches like these that make your space specifically and uniquely yours.

The cultivator wheel is ready and waiting for hanging bits of twine, cords, what have you.

Mason jars in a drawer paint brush storage / Tips on designing an old sign themed paint studio on

Mason jars in a drawer paint brush storage / Tips on designing an old sign themed paint studio on
. Consider portability. 

Because I’ll be doing photographs in my photo studio beyond the french doors to the left, all supplies are designed to be portable.

I personally love how the stencil brushes are separated from paint brushes now. Triple yes! The drawers proved to be the perfect trays for the mason jars.

(you can find the new smaller aqua mason jars on Amazon HERE)

Tips on designing an old sign themed paint studio on
6. Consider vertical space.

Much like my old crate kitchen phone station, I’ll be accumulating various sized crates to lock on to this one. They make the best rustic shelves!

Masking tape storage / Tips on designing an old sign themed paint studio on

 No idea what this metal red thing is, but it sure is perfect for housing tapes and twine! Any ideas?

The Ikea cup holders give off a nice industrial edge, which makes portability totally do-able.

Tips on designing an old sign themed paint studio on
7. Design around your own work.

Because this area was developed for my line of stencils, I’ll be adding samples of it around the room. We’re off to a fine start! 🙂

Like the Bingo design? That can be released if there’s interest. Lemme know in comments!

– – – – – 

More info on the old sign stencils is HERE.

Purchase stencils direct HERE.

Old shutters toolbox to store stencils / Tips on designing an old sign themed paint studio on
7. Create an actual station for everything. Stations reduce accumulated clutter.

While the bulk of my tools are stored on my pallet shelf in the workshop, I’m always carting a drill around. So this workspace has a small area for a drill, a few screws and a hammer.

I’m debating on adding a tool storage wall as well. Tools all over the house are my worst offence. I delay carrying them back into a cold, dark garage, so I need to fix that.

Old shutters toolbox to store stencils / Tips on designing an old sign themed paint studio on
The shutter toolbox I made at Christmas is perfection to store the stencils. I’ll be adding file folders to separate the names / collections. Giddy!

Rock that repurposed storage! / Tips on designing an old sign themed paint studio on
8. Create storage for bulk within easy grasp.

Under the table is prime real estate for all things storage within easy grasp. I could have done this in another room, but I wanted a way to SEE things in order to grab and run.

Nothing under this table will not be used. Those things are in the other room. This round, everything will be pulled out and utilized.

Rock that repurposed storage! / Tips on designing an old sign themed paint studio on
Do you see her? Even my baby girl found a spot to snuggle in. 🙂

Portable toolbox storage for upside down craft paint / Tips on designing an old sign themed paint studio on

Portable toolbox storage for paint / Tips on designing an old sign themed paint studio on
9. Consider repurposed storage, to reduce your own pile of extras

So many have asked where I lugged off all the goods from my ‘before’ heap of shame pile. I only got rid of the things I lost interest in or weren’t my style. 

Much of the rest was put to work, such as these vintage toolbox storage ‘drawers’. Wait till you see how I’m going to make them even MORE portable… a brainstorm is on its way! It may even make you laugh…

(there’s a really cute barn wood toolbox HERE on Amazon)

You can also find CRAFT PAINT HERE.

Portable toolbox storage for upside down craft paint / Tips on designing an old sign themed paint studio on

Metal letters JUNK sign / Tips on designing an old sign themed paint studio on
10. Enforce storage limitations. At what point is it time to purge again?

Because this area is geared to also store my staging junk, I’ve allowed this section for the big stuff and photography backdrops. But it’s a dangerous scenario that gets out of hand quickly. Once the piles move too far into the isle, I generally start throwing things on the curb again. 

You just have to be tough, and toss out the storage you will likely never use again, so you have room for the stuff you will.

Easier said than done, I know. 🙂

(metal JUNK letters were purchased from a vendor at Lucketts Spring Market 2 years ago)

But don’t let these photos fool you. Just when you think you have it all together, you turn around and have to deal with…

paint studio-8094

… this. Good thing we’re hosting Heap of Change every Thursday. 🙂

So what do you think? Have I convinced you that anything’s possible with most any room you have? What area do you need to improve on? I hope you join us next Thursday!

But we are far from done here…

Heap of Change - See Ours!.42 PMOur coaches are going to show you what they’ve done!

Funky Junk Interiors
Funky Junk Interiors – An old sign themed paint studio (you are here!)

Breida with a B
Breida with a B – you HAVE to see the before! So funny! This transformation is amazing!

(no longer online)

Knick of Time

Knick of Time Interiors – leave it to Angie to come up with yet another cool hanging apparatus!

Beyond the picket fence

Beyond the Picket Fence – what in the world is Becky up to now…

And now it’s YOUR turn!

Link up your blog posts below! I can’t wait too cheer you on and feature / pin some highlights!

See just the Heap of Change events to date HERE.

And all 2015 organizing posts HERE.


disclosure / some links are affiliates

Facebook Pinterest Twitter Instagram RSS

Subscribe to projects!

Categories: All Cool Projects, DIY, Full Rooms, Junk Drawer, Organizing, Reclaim Your Space, Reclaimed wood projects, Signs, Staging / decorating
Tags: , ,

37 thoughts on “Tips on designing an old sign themed paint studio

  1. I love it from top to bottom, and really love that crate holding your rulers! Would you come organize and redecorate my basement? It’s a PIT full of junk that has potential…if I could find anything in it!

  2. Wow Donna, I don’t even know where to start, you are amazing!!! Everything you did just knocked my socks off! The space is not only super functional but it’s a freaking work of art!!!The bed springs!!!! You need to give yourself a huge pat on the back for a job well done!

  3. You have been a busy, busy woman! I love your paint storage idea. What I like the most is the stencil drying rack. I could use it as an inspiration board – that would really be cool! I will be looking for something like that, for sure! I have been working, too, and I will have an update to add to the party very soon. Again, I love what you have accomplished with you space! Best wishes to you and everyone!

  4. Looks awesome…I agree with the mattress spring!! I clicked over to see the bulletin board…the first pic looks like my yard which I would love to get under control!!

    Bingo sign is perfect…I would be interested in the stencil…oh and you dry your clothes like I do..Lol.

    • I’m going to try and do more gardening this summer… I didn’t do very much last year. Not sure why!

      Yay to the clothes dryer! Those doors come in mighty handy! haha

      Thumbs up on the Bingo! Duly noted!

  5. Thanks once again for hosting this! I am loving the challenge of cleaning and organizing my house. It hasn’t been done in years! Did I just really admit that? lol Your room looks great! You are so creative. I’ve once again gotten some inspiration for a wall at the top of my stairs! Now if i can just find the right items. Have a great weekend!

    • HAHA now that’s funny. 🙂

      You rocked this challenge. It isn’t all that much fun to do but it sure gives the most back!

      And thanks for your tip on the red thing. I would have NEVER guessed that!

  6. Just went back through and looked at the pictures even closer. The red metal thing you have your tape and string on…It kind of looks like a extension bar girl pole vaulters use. Boys bars start at 6 feet and that is high for girls. The extension bar allows the girls to start at 4 feet and increases by 6 inches. My youngest son pole vaulted in high school. His freshman year, at practice (they use bungy cords for practice so they don’t have to keep putting the bar back up) he stretched the cord too far, pulled the extension bar off (because it wasn’t taped like it was supposed to be) and it hit him in the back of the head. 9 staples!

  7. Love what you’ve done, love what you are doing. Thanks for the inspiration. Lucky you, tho, to have rooms to use for various projects! I have a basement, that’s mostly storage for household stuff–like holiday decos, extra dishes, etc, with my crafty stuff thrown in for more clutter. Then there is my garage, where I paint and repurpose big stuff, along with my car, tools, lawn equipment, in the summer and fall, store patio furniture in the off season, etc. You get the idea. I sew in the family room, and paint in my kitchen. No place for organization, alas…

    Now as for your stencils…it’s really best to either store them flat, or hang in original packaging to keep them clean. I hang large ones from skirt hangers(I don’t wear skirts anymore and I never get rid of a good hanger!) in the back of a storage closet. Smaller ones, are flat in a drawer in a dresser, and I would love to have that Bingo stencil!

    • Oh Kathi, thanks so much for the stencil tips! I haven’t even got mine dirty yet! I’ll know soon enough what does or doesn’t work for sure. I love your hanger idea!

      Thanks for the Bingo thumbs up!

      And yes, it does help to have more rooms for stuff. It’s only my son and I in this house so I’m sure that has a large impact on a little more space. This house is really starting to work for us! Finally. Thanks to Heap of Change that is. 🙂

  8. Wow, I’m drooling over the transformation. I move into my new space on Feb. 2nd and there’s an apartment in the garage that I want to transform…I will definitely come back to this post. Everything in this room looks terrific yet is organized and functional, which is what I want. It works on so many different levels. Thanks!

    • Your new move is so exciting Laura! The best thing you can do is just bring your treasures inside, decide what you need and make it happen. It’s very rewarding when you can do it with what you already have. More unique too! Best of luck on your move!

  9. Your painted paint studio echos the transformation and theme of your garage workshop Donna. Your details are so practical and true to your style. Thank you for Heap of Change 2. My Heap of Change this week was one wall of the kitchen/floor area. Huge job, glad to have it finished.

  10. Everything is perfection, Donna. I am particularly partial to the handy dandy cat storage/pull out when I need one innovation. Cheers, Ardith

  11. It never ceases to amaze me how you can take certain objects that most people would totally write off and turn them into decorative and functional pieces which leave us awestruck and appreciating them anew! Your space is looking fantastic, Donna…your hard work has been well worth it!

  12. Donna, your studio is light,
    bright and oh-so-you! I bet
    it feels amazing to bring both
    calm and creativity to a space
    that was formerly chaos.

    What a wonderful way to kick
    off 2015 ~ love it!

    xo Suzanne

  13. It is so cool! I found once I designate a space for things, I will put them back in that space. Instant stress/frustration reduction. But decluttering is the 1st step to aaaaahhhhhhh…… Thanks for the inspiration.

  14. Your space is beautiful, amazing! It is totally perfect for a work space and full of awesome storage I love it, and I wish I had one so big. I need to do a tool station too, I keep running from the shed to the garage, to my “craft room” to get what I need! Hoping to link up next week, oh wait I think I said that last week, ha! I have been working though!

  15. I want to give a shout out to the blog called “Just Like Gramma’s House”. I couldn’t leave a comment there, because I have to sign in. I don’t know what I have to do. Anyway…Thank you for sharing your basement. You said that you organized by sorting on card tables. Great idea! My stuff is mostly sorted, so what I am doing is just pulling out the stuff I don’t want any more. I am working on my craft/art studio, and there are many things that I have lost interest in. It’s time for them to go. Best wishes as you move along in your organization. I am going to sign up to follow your blog. We were all new at blogging, and I just resurrected my blog for this challenge. Hang in there!

  16. Is the Bingo Card stencil available? I want on! I collect Vintage Bingo Cards & other items with the bingo motif (rubber stamps, stickers, fabric, etc.) Where do I go to order one???

    BTW, love your web site–follow it all the time and look forward to each & every newsletter!

      • Hi,
        Love your work room! Can you tell me the source for the cool metal towel holder thingie that the metal buckets hang from? I think I really need this!


        • Hi Melissa! I found the bar (and buckets) at Ikea several years ago. I think they have a new version out now… but I haven’t checked in some time. Hope you find one! 🙂

  17. Hi Donna.I dont know if you will read this but my life is similar to yours.Ideas go through my head like rushour in a city subway.I have been told Ive got so much talent but I cannot get myself to like what I make.I know your story. I dont want to comment…I love junk and everything has Possibilities. You ignite my brain and I must thank you for that.Best Wishes.

    • Hi John! I most certainly read all comments and thank-you for your kind words! I understand the city subway idea machine you speak of. If you can’t get yourself to like what you make, try what I do… surprise yourself in the eleventh hour of a project… as in, you’ve made ‘this thing’ but push it further until you fall in LOVE with it! Every project can be pushed to the next level. ie: Paint a chair. Done. But is it? Do something spectacular and different to it so you impress and surprise YOURSELF. That’s next level stuff right there.

  18. So glad I found you again….use to follow you all the time on everything and now you are here again on my page…LOVE IT!! Nothing better than something newly done and organized!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *