View Full Version : my finished pastel studio/table

Craig Houghton
06-04-2003, 06:38 PM
It's taken me a week to do it, but I built a table / studio area of my own design. I'm not much of a carpenter, but it's done. There is storage underneath, a rack of pastel pencils against the wall, paper towels, shelving above, four sources of light, lots of fun tools, and an easel (hanging against the wall in this pic). I didn't pay anything for the desk so I can't really post a total. I made it out of scrap wood I took from a wobbly stand-up wardrobe I pulled apart. I did buy the thin-board I used for the trays etc though, and the shelf-wood.


The funny looking drawers on the left are slide-out compartment trays which sit on either end of the kitty-corner desk. This way I have my pastels laid out at either hand. This pic shows the whole desk. The next pic shows the desk in super-uber-pastel-mode .


The idea is that I slide out the trays for whatever media I am working on. There's a mixed tray, an oil tray, an acrylic / watercolor tray, three pastel trays, and a loose paper tray. There's a sketching support tray too, but most of that is on hand on the desk against the wall etc. I had a good time setting it all up -- many thanks to my cousin who helped.

Here's another super-uber-pastel-mode (it also transforms into a decepticon :P ):


Here are the racks that slide out and sit in the indented areas on either side:


When I slide out other racks i can leave the desk flat for watercolors or whatever:


I made a little pastel pencil / tool rack using the same technology. :)


and, finally, a close up of my less than perfect compartments. My rembrandts look so cute in there. I wanna snap em into little bits and eat em.


Anyway, that's where I've been this past week. At least I have an excuse for being absent from the Riot and Weekly pastel posts. :P


06-04-2003, 06:42 PM
What a COOL set up! Wow.....excellent job...love all the thought put into special things like the rack for pastel pencils, etc!!

Kathryn Wilson
06-04-2003, 06:48 PM
I was wondering where you had disappeared to - thanks for posting the pics of your studio. Will have to study in-depth - I think those slide-out shelves are super. I've been organizing my pastels - what a project - now I'm not sure I like how I have them organized - LOL. I kind of miss searching through my pastels for just the right color - masochistic me.

Having a hard time this week getting back into the swing of things - a week away from pastels and I can't get motivated. Going to try something tomorrow - studio day!

How does one balance time with an in-home business, housework chores, hubbie and doggie?? When I started out, I set aside one day (Thursday) as my studio day. I did nothing else, then I got so involved with projects and riots, I was working every day and other things slid.

What does everyone else do?

06-04-2003, 06:51 PM
Wow you have been busy ........ what an excellent work station...... you've obviously put alot of thought, time and effort in all of this......... looks like a delight to work at too

well done ........ wish I could have something like this

Ha! you would have a fit, if you could see how and where I worked...... something on the lines of Greg :)

06-04-2003, 06:57 PM
Kat ~

Originally posted by kyle
What does everyone else do?

~ well, certainly not housework, for a start!! What's the point when everything's bound to get covered in pastel dust again anyway? :)

Craig, this setup is too cool ... if I was a house-owner rather than just a tenant I would hang stuff from the walls too, not to mention rip up the carpet in the spare room so I wouldn't have to have sheets, plastic etc all over the floor and fret about making a mess when I'm pastelling ... Enjoy your space!

06-04-2003, 07:07 PM
OK now I am jealous! I am soooooo green!
It looks wonderful oh for a little place to call my own.
Yes I own this house bit with 2 under 5's and hubby and dog I have no chance of a little corner like that.
Have just shown hubby and he say's yes love very nice.......you can have one like that when we get rid of the kids.......we will have a 3 bedroom house and we can have a room each! Oh well only about 15 years to wait!
Guess I'm slumming it with DS and Greg here :angel:

06-04-2003, 07:17 PM
Originally posted by angeline
It looks wonderful oh for a little place to call my own.

That's the heck of it angeline...it took me 22 years to have a studio of my own!! Before that is was where ever I could find a space...dining rooms were always good!! Nobody cooks anymore anyway! LOL

06-04-2003, 07:35 PM
How tidy! How dust-free! How organised!

How long will it stay that way, I wonder? (she said bitterly, having spent most of today clearing up studio which looks almost as bad as when I started...............and I am FILTHY)


06-04-2003, 07:38 PM

Kathryn Wilson
06-04-2003, 07:50 PM
Yes, it took me a long time too to get a space all my own (40+ years) - we bought a garden shed with lots of windows that I can mess up to my heart's desire. I have electricity, air conditioning, music, sky lights. Wish I could be out there all day every day! That's where my time management problem comes in - if I go out there to work, I ain't doing housework!! My rule, we eat out on Thursday night - LOL.

Here my version of a studio:


Craig: I have those masonite boards with the clips on them, but they don't take bigger sheets of paper - I found a cork board that works great - I can pin up my reference photos and tape my paper all on one surface. This was purely accidental - it just happened to be handy one day when I ran out of boards to work on.

My next question is: how are going to store your finished work - it seems to be the one puzzle I can't solve as yet - right now they are on a shelve inbetween large sheets of tissue paper.

06-04-2003, 08:53 PM
Originally posted by Dark_Shades

Ha! you would have a fit, if you could see how and where I worked...... something on the lines of Greg :)

LOL ... I'm thinking of ordering a bed of nails to lay on while working. I hear they are comparatively comfy!

Oh, and in case I never shared this with y'all. Let's see yours DS!

- Greg


06-04-2003, 08:55 PM
Isn't it just great to design your own work station... well done Craig... Now How much are the plans? :)

I have the spare bedroom in our tiny bungalow ~ it's just 11 foot square, it houses not just my art equipment/materials and books, but also my computer/printer/scanner plus of course my CD's plus player /radio cannot be without my music, and also my pet cockatiel ( Macky) and his cage ~ here he is sat on top of my monitor cheering me on. :D


cheeky little blighter too.:D:D


06-04-2003, 09:46 PM
Wow! I'm impressed!
I'm also jealous! :D

You did an excellent job making something which should be fabulous to use!


06-04-2003, 09:48 PM
Excellent work, i know you worked so hard for that corner and gave up sleeping in your comfy bed. I cant wait to see it in person tomorrow. just a side note....the rubber band on my drawing board popped yesterday out of nowhere, i didnt even use it, go figured.

I have a cockatiel too!!! his name is Harley and hes only grey and white since hes a rare mutation (white faced cockatiel)


-Sonia =^.^=

06-04-2003, 10:08 PM
Well DONE!! -It's wonderful - u should b so proud of yourself!!!

06-04-2003, 10:38 PM
Oh, I am dead-jealous of those drawer/trays! Can't you go into business selling this? :D Have been looking for ages to find a good storage system for pastels. So far, I have been piling up old boxes, shoebox-lids etc....no good really....
Well done you!!:clap:

06-05-2003, 01:44 AM
Wow love your creation ... Have been living in a vacation villa and I'm working on a drafting table with a table easel and storing my pastels in boxes inside a large rubbermaid storage container underneath, which I move from room to room as the kids come home from college and leave, finally invested in a table top air-cleaner which helps with the pastel dust...and I will have to wait for my house to be completed for my own studio (from this computer to gods ears ... ) Sooooooo I am green with envy also when I see your studio and system ... use it well !!!

Hey guys I have a bird (Quaker Parrot) and was wondering if the pastel dust was okay for the birds to breath in??? I'm kinda over-protective with my animals .... and won't pastel near her. That's why I won't oil paint in the villa because of all my animals (the humans one also)!

Thanks for sharing. Butterfly/Roni

Mikki Petersen
06-05-2003, 02:53 AM
Wow! Craig, you are a genius! I hope you don't mind if we sort of snitch your ideas. We are moving from a 2100 sf house to an 1100 sf cottage with no garage or outbuildings on site. I will use your creation as inspiration for the new digs. What you have created is more workable than any other design I've seen and I've been making a study of them.

Kat, Your little shed a la studio is exactly what I plan to have built on our new property. How big is yours?

Greg, take heart! Your studio is exactly like my studio was when I was young, only in those days I painted with oils. Imagine the mess. And to think, I had small children running through all those toxic chemicals. It is fortunate they came to no harm...

Craig Houghton
06-05-2003, 09:24 AM
Thank you artbabe21, kyle, Dark_Shades, E-J, angeline, jackie, sundiver, Greg, Mo, meowmeow, sonia!, BTDogMom, soap, butterfly, and Mikki! I really appreciate all the positive feedback. Just remember that the whole thing is far from professional and full of mistakes -- it does stand up though at least :P

kyle - I never have enough time. I give up my time grudgingly and constantly try to find ways new ways to press out more time -- kinda like rolling up tube of toothpaste to get that last little minty ball of gel. I find though, that although from day to day it feels like the little things are eating away the hours, it's usually the bigger items that do it. So long as I'm attending classes, working, writing, and commuting to work and my gf, there's no trick I might possibly pull that's going to free up more than a moment or two of 'my time.' Room must be made for the important stuff, because there will always be appointments and emergencies enough to fill in the cracks. The idea of setting aside a thursday sounds great, if there's room to permit it. For now I'm stuck scrambling for spare hours.

I love the shed! I wish my set-up had it's own little cottage to house it - especially one with a skylight and a/c. Nice!

Also, a cork board does sound like a great idea. Although I really have a thing for taping -- it leaves such a nice border of clean paper. You mentioned taping as well, but does it really stick to the cork very well?

And, also, for the stuff that fits, I put a big rubbermaid container on the top shelf. I lay things flat in there with newsprint taped into place loosely between works. For the bigger stuff, they get stuck somewhere between my posterboard and paper sheets :P

E-J - " if I was a house-owner rather than just a tenant I would hang stuff from the walls too" You should see all the extra holes in the sheet rock that don't show up in the photo - muhaha!

jackie - "How tidy! How dust-free! How organised!" I'm resisting the temptation to throw dust around just to make it feel more like home. As it is though, I gesso'd the center desktop (yeah, a fairly bizzare way to protect the table-top, but I can keep painting over it as need be) and the first smattering of dust adhered like a champ -- when I sponged it down, I neglected to blow the bits off first, so there's a bunch of streaks, and I'm happier for it :P

Greg - your workplace is everything I hoped it had been while I was reading your Work in progress post -- at least it's soft.

Mo - "cheeky little blighter too." Thanks for the kind words, and I'm delighted to see macky, but what's a blighter and what exactly does it mean to be cheeky? :) I'm suddenly reminded that my hometown of Cheshire is definitely Cheshire Connecticut, and not Cheshire in the uk. whatever it means though, he does look like a cheeky little blighter :D Thanks mo.

Sonia! - I'm sooooo glad you'll get to see it in person today. I miss you terribly and love you lots. My rubber band snapped form my drawing board as well.. I'm pretty sure they're not meant to last more than a single use. I'm hoping the board lasts longer. Hi Harley! I think harley might be a bit cheeky as well. Love you!

soap - the tables in the catalogs are so crazy expensive. and, it took so little effort to make the basic tables. the tray system was also fairly easy. bang together a column, drill holes up and down the insides, put 2 inch cuts of round dowels through the holes to hold the shelves, and make the shelves/trays out of bass, birch, or luan (spelling?) boards cut to size and put together with finishing nails and a glue gun. Then, I just slid in the shelves. I took some pics of the construction. If interested I can provide a more detailed how to - it's fairly easy and even if it's a days work or two, you'd be left with a neat tray system to show for it. Also, one only needs a hammer, a drill, and a jigsaw. I didn't own a jigsaw, so I bought one for thirty dollars. It's like a powered hacksaw that saws through thing wood -- it's sooo much fun.

butterfly - "invested in a table top air-cleaner which helps with the pastel dust" - now that's what I need next :P

Mikki - " I hope you don't mind if we sort of snitch your ideas." I'd love to help anyone who wants one to plan out any or all of it. Really, it's fun and easy.

Thanks everyone!
I can't wait to put it to some real use.

-Craig (feely a little heady at this point)

Oh, and here's a baby-pic of the studio


Kathryn Wilson
06-05-2003, 09:24 AM
Impete : I think it's 10 x 12 - we bought it from a shed company - it was set up as a model and for 3 years we looked at it, but it was too costly. Then one wonderful day, it went on sale! We had it delivered on a truck and they set it up - best way to do it because I got to move it almost immediately.

It was sold as a garden shed and had a waist-high self along one side underneath the windows. On the opposite wall I have storage shelves and bookcases. Up above, there is a small loft where I can store other very large items.

I posted this alternative route to finding room in a house because I did that for years - take up, take down - clean up mess. I never had a spot to call my own - this is the best way to have space of your own and not have to add on an addition to the house!

06-05-2003, 09:30 AM
Thanks Craig.......let's see if I can forward this info to my 'handyman' partner.......must say: we've got the tools....using them as we speak almost.....busy with floorboards.....don't ask LOL......anyway.....Thanks again!

Kathryn Wilson
06-05-2003, 11:03 AM
Craig : I also use the Art Spectrum paper you are using with that wonderful little white border all around - I tape the paper right to the corkboard with no problems, although for insurance sake I do thumbtack the two top corners.

It's just a cork bulletin board I had laying around -


06-08-2003, 12:59 PM
It does look proffesional and very neat and organised.


06-08-2003, 04:37 PM
Great job, Craig! So much utility, so little space. I love organized spaces. You deserve to feel really proud of yourself!

06-08-2003, 05:19 PM
:clap: :clap: :clap:

Love it!!! I have a three day weekend coming up when I get back home this week and these ideas should help organize my tiny little studio space in the den and maybe keep some things safe from the cats.


06-09-2003, 08:46 AM
Wonderful studio photos! I'm in the process of moving into a new studio space, so at this moment dont have a studio. But I had to respond to answer Butterflys' question about birds and pastel dust. Absolutely pastel dust is VERY dangerous to birds, as is any paint fumes! Birds have air sacs instead of lungs, and ANY fumes, be it from scented candles, perfumes, teflon cooking pots, cleaning products, etc is not only dangerous, many birds have died from even brief exposure to these toxins. I have 16 parrots ranging in size from budgie up to large cockatoo, and one place that is out of bounds for them is my studio.

I've changed my lifestyle to keep them safe.. having thrown out non stick cook-ware, giving up perfumes and air fresheners and scented candles. Pastel dust isnt safe for us, it is definitely not safe for tiny birds. Please, anyone that enjoys living with a companion bird, do not expose your bird to your art studio or art materials.

If anyone isnt sure what things are harmful to birds, let me know and I can give you links to lists of toxins. :)