Organize It!

By Genna Beth Davidson

When it comes to building puppets, you must bring together many different crafting skills: sewing, woodworking, papier mache, foam construction, painting, etc. I dream of one day having a huge studio capable of housing all the different arts that come together to create my puppets. But for the time being, I’m making do with a tiny space. It’s amazing what you can do with a small space if organized well.

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I have my work table on wheels so that I can easily move it around and away from the wall for sewing. My fabric is stored by color in a closet along with foam and batting. I have a power tools and hand tools section (which is slowly out-growing the space), my woodpile corner, a shelf for projects I’m working on, a shelf for papier mache paper, and a file drawer with deep, short drawers for flat artwork and pattern storage. I keep my sewing machine stowed under my work table, even though it’s a bit annoying having to pull it out every time I want to use it. If I had the ultimate studio, I would have a large, high table for laying out patterns and a dedicated table for sewing. Right now I often have to use the floor for laying out large patterns. I also have the ultimate junk drawer because you never know what you might need.

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I quickly outgrew this small space so now some of my materials take up bookshelf space in the hallway. That’s where I keep my paint supplies, beads, elastic, and assorted other adornments for the puppets. And I’m lucky that I have a back porch off the studio. My friend made me a big wooden table that I use as a workbench out there. In the winter it’s a little cold, but I manage.

Finally it’s really important to have boxes, pegboard, and other inventive ways of separating materials. I use a shoe organizer on the back of a door for feathers, leather, foam scraps, rope, plastic bag storage, etc. I use lots of large tupperware bins too, and a pegboard is great for easy access to tools.

20170904_110647If you are thinking about setting up a space for your crafting habit, a great place to look for organization ideas is Pinterest of course! But I recommend taking time to let things get organized as you go. It can be good to invest in top of the line organization, but you don’t have to. Sometimes things just find their way into a nook without you intentionally putting them there, or you come upon some organizational device that was intended for one thing but works perfectly for the storage of something else like my shoe organizer.

For me, organizing is fun! I think I’m lucky in that I inherited my mom’s need to organize and my dad’s habit for recycling and storing materials that could be useful at a later date. Thanks Mom and Dad!

 

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Necessary Evil Chores: Organizing Paper

Haven’t done one of these in awhile! I’m cleaning out the studio today, so here is a project that I put off for, oh, maybe a year and a half–organizing our stash of construction paper.

construction paper1We don’t use it very often, so my habit has been to just buy a new stack if we need some and I can’t find the previous pack. Mixed in with all this, I found pieces of rubber foam, cardstock and a few blank puzzles. Hopefully I can keep it all separate from now on!

construction paper 2

Necessary Evil Chores: Organizing Paper

Too much paper!

Too much paper!

As we continue to build paper puppets for Cabinets of Kismet, the materials have started to overflow and as a result, the first floor of my house was rapidly getting submerged in scraps. Genna and I spent part of President’s Day getting it all organized by color and weight.

Genna sorting our many scraps of handmade paper.

Genna sorting our many scraps of handmade paper.

All nicely organized by color and weight, ready to be turned into puppets and set.

All nicely organized by color and weight, ready to be turned into puppets and set.

 

 

Necessary Evil Chores: Hardware Drawer

This is, I think, the most ongoing of my necessary evil chores. Cleaning out the hardware drawer, which most of the time, looks like this:

Messy hardware drawer

Really, the problem is that hardware and tools are meant to live in toolboxes or cabinets that have separate little drawers for all the screws and nails. Someday, when I get to share a big studio with other people (who all are hopefully more organized than I am!) I will have that kind of setup for my hardware and tools. For now, I just take everything out and put it back in again neatly. And it looks like this! For a little while, at any rate.

Neat hardware drawer