picture ledges & drying racks

by | Mar 9, 2023 | All Things Home, Home Studio, My House | 11 comments

One of the things I’m asked about most when I share pictures of my studio (this one and my previous one in Minnesota) is the picture ledges I use as drying shelves and to hold pigment bottles and other small art supplies I want to have on display.  The shelves I purchased to use as drying ledges were originally from Target several years ago and they are no longer available, sadly!  They are solid metal, a nice size, and easy to hang.  Similar metal shelves I have found are much more expensive than these.

drying shelves & racks | miss mustard seed

drying shelves & racks | miss mustard seed

They weren’t even available when I went back to purchase more just a few months after I bought them.  So, I opted for THESE white MDF picture ledges, also from Target.  Like the metal ones, these have two keyholes for hanging them on the back, but I found them a big fiddly to level, so I just put a long screw straight through the back.  The stuff I put on it covers up the screws.

drying shelves & racks | miss mustard seed

They are the perfect size for small bottles as well as things that can be leaned.

drying shelves & racks | miss mustard seed

The four picture ledges for drying paintings weren’t quite enough for my daily painting, though.  Not only do I need a place for oil paintings to dry, which can take about a week, but I needed a place to allow gessoed panels, toned panels, and paintings that have been varnished to dry.  And, when a painting is varnished, it needs to be flat so the varnish doesn’t run and pool at the bottom.

Previously, I’ve just had panels spread over every flat surface in the studio, but this becomes impractical when I have other work I need to do in the space.  It’s also a magnet for curious cats.  What is mom doing in here?  Is all of this for me?  Can I walk over everything?  Can I sit on this little rectangle here?  I needed some better solutions in order to work more efficiently and protect the panels through each stage of the process.

One piece I bought was really just a fun repurposing of an antique piece.  I bought a French tart cooling rack from Maria of Dreamy Whites’ European container sale.  I know she’s put so much work into that sale and I wanted to support her.  This was also the perfect piece for drying 8 x 10 panels, which is what I typically paint on.

drying shelves & racks | miss mustard seed

The best part is that it folds up when not in use, so I can tuck it away.  And, if it can pull double duty in the kitchen if I ever want to use it there!

drying shelves & racks | miss mustard seed

Even with the addition of the tart cooling rack, I still needed more room for drying panels.  I try to gesso, tone, and varnish in batches, I need room for 15-20 panels at a time.  My mom suggested using an art drying rack similar to the ones they use at schools.  I figured they would all be way too big and schoolish looking for my studio, but I found one that is the perfect size to tuck behind the antique counter.  THIS is the one I purchased.

drying shelves & racks | miss mustard seed

And I can wheel it around wherever I need it.  I can fit 36 8 x 10 panels on here at one time, which is awesome!  I have already gotten so much use out of it.

drying shelves & racks | miss mustard seed

drying shelves & racks | miss mustard seed

You can find other posts about the process of making this formal living room into my studio HERE.



  1. Karen Burns

    Love your solutions for drying wet paintings. I often tuck my wet paintings into flat boxes with lids – I have plenty of boxes because the frames I purchase come packaged beautifully, like super nice gift boxes, not the outside cardboard shipping carton. With the lids on the boxes the paintings can dry dust free (cat hair free, too, if need be). I do put a few holes in the lids for ventilation. If the paintings are small sized, I can fit a few into each box.

  2. Rebecca DeGroodt

    Great functionality and that tart cooling rack has me drooling. The still lives with apples (I think) are beautiful!

  3. Michele M.

    Love your Dreamy Whites score. She has the best stuff. Love seeing all your paintings, too!

  4. Tina

    I have similar ledges purchased from Ikea. They are wood not metal, and they too have gone up in price!

  5. Margery

    I have seen people use house rain gutters attached to the wall as book”shelves” in children’s rooms which might also work for paintings. And several years ago when I wanted black picture ledge shelves and couldn’t find them I bought some in the unfinished wood craft section of one of the hobby stores maybe Michaels.

  6. Nancy Cox

    Moms are awesome.

  7. Terry

    Gotta love Mom’s, such problem solvers! Love your Tart rack too. Like mother, like daughter.

  8. Barbara

    You are so talented

  9. Carol

    I’ll be in Paris in September and the flea market is in our plans. Now I have to hunt for a tart rack!
    Your studio is shaping up beautifully.

  10. Kim

    Wow, I never knew they made those little rolling art drying racks! How handy!

    I do know that IKEA still makes the picture ledges out of metal, MDF, bamboo, and clear acrylic, and they are all reasonable prices! They also come in different colors, so a lot of options there.

  11. Olivia J

    Love the look of this! You are very talented! Great work.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

Let's Connect


decorating, projects, and recipes for spring

  • front garden plans | 1970 home renovation
    When we tell people that we moved to Maryland from Minnesota, the first thing they mention is the winters.  “Oh, I bet you’ll enjoy these winters a lot more!”  Well, […]
  • elevating the look of an artificial plant
    I haven’t taken much time to wander around in a store like Target for quite a while.  I’ve gotten used to placing online or curbside pick-up orders, which are convenient, […]
  • front porch refresh with walmart
    Disclosure: This porch refresh is sponsored by Walmart.  As always, all words and opinions are honest and my own. Do you remember all of the work we did in our […]
  • five things | quick & easy decorating ideas for spring
    As I’ve shared many times here on my blog, I don’t do a ton of seasonal or holiday decorating.  I would just rather spend my decorating dollars on things I […]


Articles by Date


our sponsors



Bliss and Tell Branding Company


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This