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.
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.
They are the perfect size for small bottles as well as things that can be leaned.
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.
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!
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.
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.
You can find other posts about the process of making this formal living room into my studio HERE.
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.
Great functionality and that tart cooling rack has me drooling. The still lives with apples (I think) are beautiful!
Love your Dreamy Whites score. She has the best stuff. Love seeing all your paintings, too!
I have similar ledges purchased from Ikea. They are wood not metal, and they too have gone up in price!
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.
Moms are awesome.
Gotta love Mom’s, such problem solvers! Love your Tart rack too. Like mother, like daughter.
You are so talented
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.
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.
Love the look of this! You are very talented! Great work.