Art Studio Organization: Get Ready for Holiday Crafting

Some say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. In my art studio, good intentions lead to Christmas, at least in years past. But last year, I decided to get more organized, so that I don't end up finishing handmade gifts in the car on the way to my sister-in-law's house. Ha-ha. (No, seriously, that happened once. OK, twice.)

Lynn Hutchinson has a wrapping station in her specially designed craft studio, featured in the Winter 2012 issue
of Studios magazine. (Photo by Susan Gilmore)

To organize my home studio environment for maximum creativity and minimal stress during this hectic time of year, I put the following rules in place last year. And, while I didn't always stick to the plan, I have to say that overall, these tips helped me stay on track.

1. Keep it simple. Try to limit your handmade gift projects to 3-4 max. Better yet, make one thing for everyone, and personalize it. I made aprons for everyone in my husband's family one year, only changing the fabric. Be realistic about what you can get done in the time you have, and scale back, if necessary.

2. Make a list, check it twice. Referring to your materials lists, take an inventory of your art studio supplies and discover what materials you're lacking. Then do one big shopping trip (or shop online) so you don't have to stop in the middle of a project to rush out and buy something.

3. Declare your studio a station nation. If you don't already have a sewing area, a separate cutting area, etc., now is a good time to set that up, even if it's just temporary for the season. Then, do all your cutting for the project at once, then all of the ironing, all of the stitching, etc.

4. Or, create a station for each project. You might want to set up one station for each project with all your supplies for that project close at hand. If the project and supplies are portable, put everything needed for the project, or for a phase of the project, in one bin or basket. This last tip is especially helpful if you don't have much space to work in. 

Easy drop cloth art by Linda Blinn. Get the how-to in the
Winter 2012 issue of Studios. (Photo by Linda Blinn)

5. Don't clean up. Though you'll want to rinse brushes or sweep up spilled beads, for the most part, don't clean up until the project is complete. That way, you can dive right back in when you have the time. Close the door to your studio if you want to hide the mess. If you don't have a separate craft studio, fashion a temporary screen or just cover your work-in-progress with a colorful drop cloth.

6. Do keep your tools handy. If I don't put my tools back where they belong, I end up spending more time looking for them than making art. To save time, I put my most-used tools (scissors, glue sticks, pin tin, etc.) in a small basket or pail for the duration of the gift-making season and always put them back when I've finished using them.

7. That's a wrap. Set up a table out of the way where you can set your finished projects to await wrapping.  Keep all of your wrapping supplies (like novelty yarn, paper, fabric, embellishments, and handmade tag materials) nearby, to give your handmade gifts the presentation they deserve.

Linda Blinn shows how to make a pretty and easy drop cloth in the Winter 2012 issue of Studios. There are also features on what artists most want to give and get for the holidays, tips for organizing with style, and wet studio solutions.Get your copy of Studios now, and get organized for the holiday season and beyond.

P.S. Do you have tips for organizing your studio for the holidays? Share them with me and the community!


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