Back to Studio Space, Overview

Creating a Studio Space, Project Journal

I started thinking about this project earlier in the semester but I needed time to work and see how my processes were going to go before I made decisions. Now I am ready to create a more functional studio space for myself. Initially, I was just going to do it. Then I decided that documenting it would be an interesting small project in my Studio portfolio.

My project journals switch from present to past tense depending on whether I wrote them in real time or after the fact. I know this is bad grammar but this is just a journal and so I don’t think it matters.


12.27.16 Tuesday, Creating a Studio Space

Today I wrote the plan and started the journal. I am not sure how this is going to go because a good portion of it will be done on paper. I have constructed studio space before. The planning involved a lot of writing, drawing and rewriting as I figure out where and how to arrange things. I guess I will take pictures of my surviving notes as part of the documentation.


The “Where To” Pro/Con Chart


IMRC Studio


Dedicated Space

Immersive Environment

Easy Access to equipment

Have to take my stuff from home to school

Can’t afford duplicate material

Easy clean up

Irritating Carpet is hard to clean

Space to show work at
school events

No one but me can see it

Other people to consult with (help)

Might be better to be alone (no distractions)

Slower Internet

Faster Internet

Home wins. The advantages and disadvantages come up fairly even except for one. I like an immersive environment. If I had a different job or a family at home, I would need to go somewhere else to work in a dedicated space. I don’t. It is just me. My whole life revolves around my work. I like being immersed in it. I can sit in my living room and look around at all my work at once and think and think and think. That helps. I don’t want to give that up if I don’t need to.

I will keep the cabinet at the IMRC for storage when I need it.


Things I Need

The next step… what do I need?



I cannot abide living in a mess. My apartment is small. I will need to increase storage by adding shelves and lots of clean plastic boxes. I need places to keep supplies and tools as well as ongoing and completed projects,


Work space

I need a large table to work on bigger projects like the robots. They won’t be able to move around easily on a carpeted floor. I will need room to spread out.



I need stuff. When I moved abroad I got rid of things. Now every time I want to do something I have to go shop and hunt and figure out. It takes up a lot of time. I need to accumulate stuff again.


Cleaning Supplies

I need to be sure I can keep everything clean so I don’t damage anything in my apartment.



I cannot keep staring at white walls


Now I need to think about the specifics.


Storage Arrangement

I can add a long shelf in the kitchen and a set of at least 5 big shelves in the living room.


Kitchen Shelf

Apx. 7 Feet long, 5 1/2 inches high. Two rows of cheap plastic boxes. Beads and Jeweler Making.


Big Shelf Set

Tools, Electronics, Misc. Supplies.


Small White Shelves

Origami Paper, Postcards, Notebooks and Personal Items

This has become a paint storage area. Eventually I will make a paint storage rack for the wall. I will use this for my craft paints and leave the white shelves for other pant and supplies.


Tall Brown Shelves

Ongoing Projects and Books


Small Closet

Summer clothes, Bedding,  Containers and Presentation Materials


Brown Chest

Toys & Odds and Ends


Printer Stand

Printer, Printer Paper, Camera & Personal Electronics

Moved to bedroom with brown ottoman as a new makeup area. No more getting ready in the kitchen.


Work Space Arrangement

Find a big table and cut it down to floor height.


Build a secondary table to fit over my wooden chest. Make sure I can fold it down or take it apart.


Make a hard surface to put the robots on. Maybe I could cut a piece of linoleum the size of my rug. I could put the rug on it when not in use, then take it off when I need a surface for the robots.


Maybe I should just start the projects by building the robot habitat. I could make some kind of foldup box/tray. I can store it behind the white shelves.


Go back to good will and get that little desk I saw. I can use it as a soldering station.


Cut down a drafting table.


Cleaning Supplies

Get a wet dry vac and scrub brushes.

Cover the couch.

Put a mat under the rug in case of a paint spill.



The fun part…


Magnification Lamp

I need this very soon but I don’t want to buy it until I have the work space worked out. The kind that clamps on the desk seems to be cheaper but that may not be possible. When I know, I will buy one. I would not hurt to get one of those magnification plates as well. I used to have one and found it useful.


Dremel with attachments

Everyone needs a dremel. It does all the little things I am likely to need for projects done from home.


Heat Cutter

I need to be able to effectively and precisely cut plastic. Dremel has a cutter tool. It comes stand-alone and in a kit. I am not sure which is the better value. More research is needed.


Sculpey Clay

I can use sculpt to make models of the things I want to make. I am better at 3-d than trying to draw everything in 2-d. I should also try and find a cheap thrift store toaster oven so I don’t have to heat the house with the big oven.


Painting Supplies

I have painting supplies but I need a better storage method for the craft paints so that I can better sort them by color.


Wire Sculpture Tools

I need different gages of wire and solder. I have wanted to make frameworks twice this semester and could not do it. It isn’t too expensive to keep some of these supplies on hand.

I will need a soldering station. I will also need to keep my robot parts very carefully sorted. I will order a kit and individual parts. Then I will put together a bunch of those black parts sorting boxes to keep everything labeled nicely.


Bulletin boards

I will hang bulletin boards as much as I can so that I will have flexible display areas. I should be able to fit two above the white shelves and one where I put the small desk.


Small Stuff

Zip ties, clamps, helping hands, tweezers, clips, drawing supplies, rulers, string, tape, glue, staple gun



I got lights at the after-Christmas sales. I will string them around the room for color. I will also try and find some cheap curtains. I will start buying colorful scarves to drape over the ugly spots.


12.28.16 Wednesday, Shelf Supports

I bought a drill and shelf supports at Lowes. I don’t want to buy the boards too because I don’t know if I will have time to put them up. My apartment is so small, it isn’t a good idea to buy anything unless I am going to immediately use it. I do not have a loading zone!


12.30.16 Friday, Brewer Goodwill desk

I saw the desk when I was out shopping the day before but I didn’t think I had room. I went home and measured and decided it would suit my purposes as a combo table/soldering station.

This is the moment the chaos began. My apartment is so small. It is really hard to move things around without making a mess. I had to move things to make the desk fit. Then I had to move things to mount the shelf supports. I made a mess. The mess endured for many days. I should have photographed the craziness but the craziness makes me very stressed and uninspired so I didn’t think of it.

Note: This may be information worth commenting on in my analysis of work spaces. I would really like to photograph all of the IMRC artists work spaces. That would be very cool.

I want a TV! I ordered a TV. I don’t watch TV when I am writing or researching. I don’t watch it when I am doing anything that requires intellectual concertation. I do watch it when I am doing detail work like painting. Well, I don’t really look. I listen and occasionally glance up when I hear something interesting. I also like to watch TV at the end up the day when my brain is simply done thinking. I like cool special effects. I like Star Trek. I like Netflix so I can binge watch TV shows. I just want a TV. I wasn’t going to fit one into the studio, but now I am.

The saga of the television was long and arduous. I wanted something bigger than 32 inches so I can easily see it across the room. In hind sight, I keep forgetting that my vision is better now and I could probably see 32 inches just fine. Oh well. Anyway, I was going to get a cheap rear-projection TV off Craig’s List even though it would be big and awkward. Then I just decided that was crazy and I would suck it up and buy a wall mountable TV at the after-Christmas sale. After much much web-hunting for good deals, I found a 32 inch for $150 at I was just about to order it when the add display showed me a refurbished 43-inch Smart TV for $250. I thought that was great. I would have had to spend a $100 to upgrade my media player to use Netflix on the 32in. Getting a smart TV would solve that problem and it would be the size I wanted. BINGO. I ordered it. They shipped it. It arrived. RAT BASTARDS. It wasn’t right. It was not a Smart TV. I called Walmart and complained. The short version is: they ran out and wanted to “make it up” by giving me either a smaller Smart TV or a larger Non-Smart TV because there was no comparable Smart TV of the same size. RATBASTARDS. That is not right. Obviously, I was not pleased. I talked to multiple managers. I complained with surprising niceness. Then I complained with less niceness. Then I talked to more managers. Finally, it all got worked out and they sent me a 55-inch Smart TV. Woo Hoo. I get a better TV for the same price. The only downside is that I had to redesign my shelving to accommodate it. The upside of the redesign is that the redesign is better than the original. So, I win. The new TV will be here on 01.06.17.

So, a bunch of the day was spent planning. I designed and redesigned my shelving system. I did this by making a list of all the supplies I had as well as the supplies I planned to buy and what I might need in the future. I also made a list of space needs. I listed things like “place to dry paintings” and “dinosaur storage.” This list was very long and detailed. I added everything I could think of. The key to a good storage system is expandability. I learned that the hard way. Basically, whatever you think you need, add at least 1/3 more.

I finally got it all planned and drawn out. I mounted the shelf hardware. Then I started leaning the shelf brackets because for some reason the stickers would not come off. I ended dup having to soak them in alcohol. I think maybe the cold causes it.

I also ordered my new equipment and supplies. After weeks of making lists and searching Amazon to get the perfect and most cost-effective arrangement, I finally clicked “buy” and bought my stuff.


12.31.16 Saturday, Thrifting, Ordered Stuff & Planned

Today Hope and I went thrifting. My goal was a new work table. I thought I would just find something with a decent top that could be cut down. I was going to add new legs to get it to the right height for my use. BUT whoopee. I found a drafting table for $25 dollars at Habitat for Humanity. It is lucky Hope was with me. I probably would not have looked carefully enough if I had been on my own. I bought it.

Hope and I took it to the IMRCH to cut down the top. Cutting it down will make the top too small to use it as a drafting table anymore, but if I ever want to do that in some other house, I can always replace the top. The stand is the important part.

Cutting the top did not go smoothly. I measured very carefully. I clamped down a guide. I prepared to cut with the circular saw. The blade was dull and it smoked and I had to go very slowly and I ended up pushing the guide away and making a very messy cut. Hope thinks maybe she was holding it too tightly. I asked her to hold the piece I was cutting off just in case it started to pinch the blade as I was cutting. I think maybe that is what happened after all. How dull could a blade be to not be able to cut pressboard?

Fortunately, Wade was there and helped me fix it. I couldn’t have manipulated the top on the table saw by myself. It is too heavy and awkward. Wade is stronger and able to. As a side note, I really hate table saws. I am always struggling to work with large pieces of wood because I can’t manipulate them well enough on the saw.

Hope helped me take the top home. The stupid thing would not be assembled. Somehow, I had screwed the legs in just a little bit off. After a few adjustments, I finally got it put together. The whole process of shopping and altering ended up taking all day.

Hope and I also went to Lowes and I bought the boards for my shelves. I had the hardware mounted so I thought it was going to be easy-peasy. I would just set my shelves in the supports and be done…. Yeah, emm. Nope. Life is never that easy. The first shelf boards were too narrow. I considered using them anyway but they wriggled around way too much and I thought that would make things fall down a lot. So, I took them back to Lowes. One was pre-cut so I was stuck with it.

Lowes took the boards back but they did not have any new boards. They were out of the length I needed. This turned out to be Ok since I later did yet another redesign and ended up with yet another better result.


01.01.17 Sunday, Sledding and Shelves

It was much to pretty to stay in despite the craziness of my apartment. Hope and I went sledding. It was awesome. When we were done, I came in and redesigned my shelves yet again. I sorted stuff and tried to clean up. I also went to Walmart and bough boxes. I went to Walmart many times.

I hung up the Christmas lights around the ceiling. That took quite a bit longer than expected but the result is awesome.


01.02.17 Monday, Shelf Building & Maximum Chaos

I went back to Lowes and Walmart and I got new boards and new boxes and I finally put the shelves together. It took longer than I would like, but I managed it. This was the day of maximum chaos. The apartment was a maze of stuff and I was building in there. I worked until very late in the evening. I made lots of noise and probably drove my poor landlord crazy, but it was worth it. I ended the night with my stuff in the appropriate places even if it wasn’t as orderly and pretty as I would like. I ended the night with more list making.


01.03.17 Tuesday, Lunch with Krista & Cleanup

I put together the shelf organizers. Then I went to lunch with Krista. I went to Walmart yet again. I bought more boxes, a rug to go under the desk and a bunch of miscellaneous stuff I didn’t plan on but needed. I managed to get the main living space clean and functional but I just got exhausted fairly early and did not finish the rest.

I also ordered cords to fix it so that they don’t have to be run across the room where I will trip on them.


01.04.16 Wednesday, Triumph!

I cleaned everything. Yes, I made one more trip to Walmart. Somehow, I also managed to break my power strip making it hard to plug things in. Then I cleaned some more. I vacuumed out the heater vents. I crawled across the floor with the wet dry vac cleaning all the nooks and crannies that a regular vacuum misses. I dusted everything. I got all the shelves in order with everything in the boxes it belongs in. There are still some things that need a place, but until my supplies come, it is good enough. I did laundry again. I went to Family Dollar for fresh cleaning supplies since I used up almost everything. When I finally went to bed, everything was as perfect as it could be.


01.05.17 Thursday, RELAX

Today everything is wonderfully orderly. I am taking stock and preparing lists for the little things I will eventually need to do.

I want to:

  • Make a craft paint rack.
  • Trim the new shelves for the white bookshelf because Lowes cut them too big
  • Get a big frame to hang over the couch. Then put a Hubble image in it. Use white markers to make it an idea board.
  • Find a footstool to go under the table.

I am going to use the rest of the day to put together the bead shelves in the kitchen. Then I will get back to my research and planning.

According to Amazon and FedEx, my TV and many of my new things will be arriving tomorrow. However, I am leaving for Virginia’s at 2. I don’t know if anything will arrive early enough to get it in order.


01.06-07.17 Went to Virginia’s, No Work


01.08.17 Company, Worked on Space Shuttle

I did the rest of my shopping before I had company over.


01.09.16 TV Mount Issues

How in the world does a wall stud disappear midway down? I made a big mess mounting the TV. I drilled into the stud. Then when I did the next two holes below the first, I did not hit wood! I checked to see if there were horizontal studs but there are not. My only guess is that maybe the studs have been drilled into too many times and I am hitting empty spots. It makes me nervous so I went and bought a 2 x 6 to mount. Then I will mount the TV to those. I could use a 2 x 4 but the shape of the mount would put some of the screws right on the edge and I don’t feel good about that. No way my nice new TV is getting ruined! I decided to fix the wall first. Previous tenants didn’t spackle well. It is all lumpy and weird. I thought I would smooth it all out for my nice landlady.

I still need to:

  • Make drill press mount
  • Put Beads in Bead Boxes
  • Mount TV
  • Make a craft paint rack.
  • Trim the new shelves for the white bookshelf because Lowes cut them too big
  • Get a big frame to hang over the couch. Then put a Hubble image in it. Use white markers to make it an idea board.
  • Find a footstool to go under the table.
  • Take Pictures of my hand-written planning notes
  • Hang up new blinds


01.15.17 Testing Things Out & Electronics

The desk is working out well. I still wish I could put the laptop on a swing stand so I could pull it up close to my face when I want to write code. Since the loveseat encourages me to lean back a bit, I tend to be kind of far from the computer. I end up hunching forward, which is uncomfortable. The laptop stands are fairly expensive so I don’t know if I will do that or not. I will wait and see how big of an issue it is. I investigated stands. There are not many that hold a 17-inch laptop. The ones that do are often “dual” stands meant to hold a laptop and a monitor. I don’t have an extra monitor, but it would be cool if I did. If I do get a stand, I think I’ll get the dual arm stand just in case I find a cheap monitor one day. It would be nice to be able to extend tutorials to one screen and work to the other.

I have the TV mounted. That ended up being a pain in the ass. Then I got it up but the Christmas lights glared in it so I had to lower it. Also, I broke 2 screws off in the studs. Taking those down is going to be hell. I do hope I stay here a nice long time!

I put the extra shelves in the white bookshelves. All my paints are together now. I still want to build a paint rack for the craft paint. It would be easier to use if it could stay sorted by color. Then I can move the rest of my drawing and painting stuff to the white shelves. That will free up room for electronics work, which I think I will need eventually.

Electronics. The organization of parts is not awesome. I don’t think the drawer thing I bought is going to be appropriate. I am sure I can find a use for it somehow, but I don’t think it’s a great electronics sorter. The drawers are too big so I waste a lot of space. I think I should switch to the plastic sorter boxes I used to use for jewelry. I don’t remember where I got them before. They were about 8 dollars each and I bought a whole bunch with adjustable dividers. Maybe it was Lowes but I couldn’t find them again. I will keep looking. I saw cheaper ones at Harbor Freight but they can’t be adjusted. That probably isn’t very useful. The boxes will be more versatile and more portable. I am sure I will eventually need to take things places, so that is probably better. Maybe I can use the sorter box for Dremel parts or something like that.


01.23.17 Update after First Big Use

I have been using the studio space on and off, but this week was the first week I did anything big. I worked on the Random Dinosaurs project, the Origin Project and the Robotics project. I rotated through multiple tasks because I had a lot of things that needed to be done then needed to wait. I had a lot of stuff out at once so it was a good studio test. I worked for 3 days. Then I cleaned up thoroughly. It went pretty well. I didn’t feel terribly overwhelmed or frustrated and I had room to do what I needed most of the time.

  • Dust

Fix the damn wet-dry Vac. It got dust everywhere with the dumb foam filter. I ordered a new filter but it didn’t fit. I put the bag around the filter and that helped. Now it has a bag in it that I didn’t realize I had, but I don’t think that will work long-term. I need a good filtering vacuum because dust is the enemy of both resin and electronics. I am going to have to fix the Vac situation and dust every item in the house before I actually do the resin painting in here. However, I still think it is cleaner than the IMRC would be.

  • Label Stuff

I know things should be labeled. I just have not gotten around to it. Also, I want to be sure I like the locations before I bother to do it,

  • Paint

The paint situation needs to be rectified. I thought it wouldn’t matter but it does. I have to look too hard to find the colors I need. I will build the paint rack I planned.

  • Carpet

I put a cheap black rug under the work desk. I hate it at first because it always looks dirty, but… this has turned into an unexpected boon. It’s easy to lose things like fiber optics and needles. Both show up on the black carpet. Plus, seeing dirt makes me more inclined to clean it. So, the black is a win.

  • Dremel

The drill press stand for the dremel is awesome. I will use it way more this way. Its great as a drill press but even greater to just hold the dremel for me. It’s very sturdy and easy to use. I have not tried the flex shaft yet. I never used it when I had it before, but this set up makes me think maybe I will like it after all. I think I will get a foot pedal for it. I saw them at Harbor Freight for about $15.

  • Mouse Sander

I think I need a mouse sander for the resin. I didn’t get one because I didn’t think I could really sand at home, but it occurs to me that I could sand in the bathtub (with no water of course). I wouldn’t do this a lot, but maybe if I really need to be able to work at home. Also, I know we have sanders at school but it would probably be easier to have my own. They are not too expensive. I will wait and see if I need one. I am not sure yet. I need to see how the resin goes. I may be able to just do it by hand. Also, it may be something I do rarely enough to just do it at school. I do need more sand paper though.

  • Staple Gun?

I should have bought this right away. I know I will need it. I already have a few times. I just got by without. Eventually I’ll have to buy one. I don’t know if I’ll get a cheap electric one or the fancy auto-fire non-electric from Craftsman. They cost about the same. I used both when I had them before. I don’t recall which one I liked more. I used the brad nailer function on the electric more than the staples, but that is pretty useful so maybe that’s what I’ll get.

  • Toaster Oven Needed

The oven heats the whole house up. That won’t work in summer. Find a used toaster oven for sculpey!

  • Laptop Stand?

I am still unsure about this. I really really want one, but wanting does not mean needing. The kind I want cost about $50. I am not sure it is worth it. I would probably end up having to buy a wireless trackball mouse to go with it, and that’s another 40$ so I need to think on this. When I am doing small stuff, the laptop is no big deal sitting on the desk. When I am doing bigger stuff, it gets in the way. I am also concerned that I will end up damaging it in some kind of spill or hitting the screen. A swivel stand would make it easier to get it out of the way fast. My big reason for wanting a lap top stand is to set it up so that I can pull the screen closer to my face when I am doing lots of coding. Since I am sitting in a loveseat, I spend a lot of time hunched forward. It makes me sore after a while. Maybe if I could lean back and bring the computer to me it would be better. The downside would be that if I put in a laptop stand, it might block the view of the TV for anyone sitting in the green chair. I am not sure. It depends on how adjustable the height is. It wouldn’t stop me from doing it. The house is for me, not other people, but I can see how people would find it annoying.

  • Cords

The cord ties worked great! No more tripping over cords! Everything is very well organized. I just made one mistake… I zip tied the Ethernet cord to the desk so that I have no way to move the desk without cutting all the ties. The power cord plugs in under the couch, so it can be unplugged and moved. I could fix it so that the Ethernet does the same, but I would need to use a connector. I think they slow down your connection. I will have to look into it.

  • Electronics Organization

This is not working. It is ok for now, but eventually I will need a better system to keep up with all the parts. Everything needs to be orderly. I need things to be divided into boxes by type (sensors, motors, lights, etc.). I need to be sure that I can easily repack things so that I can take it to school or wherever else I need to. The tiny stuff is easier. I think I will simply file transistors and things like that in the thick mini Ziploc bags I bought. I can file them in some kind of index card box. It isn’t ideal since it isn’t perfectly portable, but I can work that out. I don’t like the drawer organizer. I think I will likely end up using a bunch of the plastic sorter boxes I use for jewelry. I can make a flexible labeling system and some kind of bag that holds several of the boxes plus tools. I should be able to make it so I can move needed parts into a travel box rather than taking everything anytime I want to take the project somewhere. I will figure it out eventually.

  • Lights

The Christmas lights are a win. They improve the atmosphere. The lights beside the loveseat are great for working but they reflect in the TV. There isn’t much I can do about that so I’ll just have to make choices. The magnifier light I got is good enough so far. I’m glad I didn’t buy the expensive one. I got a light up helping hands so between the two I should be ok.

  • Shelves

So far most of my organizational system is working out. I’ve made some minor changes but otherwise its ok (other than afore mentioned electronics). The shelves look full but there are things I could change to create more space. I will likely need a better way to store resin so that it is temperature and light protected. I may buy a box for it, put silica packets in it and store the whole thing inside my Art Suitcase.

  • Space for Company

I am surprised that there is more stuff but it feels less cluttered.  Having things in boxes makes it look better. This means I am not as bothered by company as I was before I did all this stuff. I moved the ugly but comfortable chair beside the door so that a guest has a place to sit. A second guest could use the less comfortable chair but it is kind of under a shelf. I tried to get Juliet to do away with it but she couldn’t find a place for it so it stays. It looks fine and its good if I need more for company. There is no place for anyone to spend the night, but its fine for working.

  • Clip Boards & Lap Desk

I finally found a clip-board that is bigger than the standard paper size but not as big as my lap desk or the giant clip board. I can now sit in my favorite stupidly hunched over position when I want to paint. This is working well.

  • Beads

I still have not sorted them, but I am confident they will be fine in the kitchen. I don’t use them a lot so they don’t need to be in my main space. I will use them more if I don’t have to dig through a pile of Ziploc bags. It will work out.

  • TV

The new TV is AWESOME. I can swing it out so I can see while I work on tedious stuff. The sound is nice and clear so I don’t need to listen with headphones. It is mounted so the sound does not travel through the floor to annoy Ms. Grant. The picture is great. Anyone who says a bigger TV does not matter is crazy. It makes all the difference. When I am done working I can really enjoy my sci-fi!


02.01.17 Computer Stand

I put in a computer stand so that I could sit back without hunching to see the computer. It is awesome. It helps a lot.


02.20.17 Update

The studio space is working pretty well. One benefit to a small space is that you can’t just leave things out. That means I have to actually stop and rethink fairly often. I think that creates more productivity. I don’t just live with stuff until its part of the background. Projects stay fresh since they go away and come back when I need them.

The computer stand is still good, but I wish I had installed it further to the side. It hangs a little too far over the desk. That said, its way better for my back. I don’t sit hunched over so much.


04.03.17 Electronics Issue

The electronics thing really is a pain in the ass. I need to be able to get to things easily but I also need room for ongoing work. Right now, I have a bunch of stuff in the baskets I set aside for my beads. I don’t like it, but its more functional than having it all stacked on the shelf. I hope I have time to design a better system. I am thinking about some kind of hanging bag system with the good 4mil and 6mil baggies I bought.