Thursday, March 30, 2017

Studio hacks

Like most artists, I struggle with to keep my studio space organized and clutter free. In today's guest post, Lisa Smalley of Smalley Saddlery shares three of her best tips for maintaining a useable work space. Thank you, Lisa, especially for tip number three!

Studio Hacks 

by Lisa Smalley

Hack One: Organize Tips with a Magnet Bar

Here's an item that has worked out great for my work space: a magnet bar! I have a bulletin board on the wall above my desk. My magnet bar is mounted on that.

I put frequently used tools on the bar. In this photo, I have a hole punch, burnisher, awl, pliers, cutters, leather punch, scissors, and there is even a chasing hammer (metalsmithing) up there sometimes, too. The utility knives just happen to sit nicely on top.

The best thing about this is that I don't have to get up or dig around for a tool when I'm in the middle of a project- I can just reach up and grab it. This saves time and aggravation! It also keeps extra tools off my desk. It's so useful, I plan to upgrade to a secondn bar eventually!

Magnet bars can be found at home improvement stores and Harbor Freight often has them on sale for a few dollars! 
Hack Two: Recycle Containers to Hold Small Parts

I'm sure that we have all had those moments when we put the small hardware piece on the table, only to find that it has gone missing when we go to use it! 

I like using ketchup/condiment containers when working with hardware, especially when I'm cutting apart Rio Rondo photo etched parts. Cutting small items directly into a container prevents them from firing off into space when t cut, never to be seen again! 

Yogurt cups are great for things like holding small scraps of leather to keep your work space clean.

If you need something a little larger, single serve cups from things like Velveeta Shells & Cheese or Rice-a-Roni work great, too!
Hack Three: Is Spilling Leather Dye Your Worst Nightmare

Try keeping the bottle of dye (or other product) in a mug like this to keep it from falling over! A roll of tape will also work in a pinch, as it should keep the bottle from completely falling over. Don't have any old mugs handy? Stop at a thrift store or dollar store to pick up some inexpensive mugs!
Please visit Lisa's Etsy shop to see some of her work!


  1. Great tips! I should get a magnet bar. I re-use the plastic cups that hold little single-serve applesauce. They make perfect craft cups for holding or mixing just about everything!

  2. I use plastic baby food cups for holding all my little hardware :)