If there’s one thing I have a hoard of, it’s craft paint! 😂 (Over 100 bottles and counting.)
But these little 2fl oz bottles can be a pain to store. Put them on a bookshelf and you can’t see the colors in the back. Stack them on their sides and it’s a pain to get the bottles in the middle.
So one day I decided enough was enough!
I had cardboard. I had packing tape. I was going to have a solution. (To be fair, this is how 99% of all my crafting storage adventures begin.)
Supplies needed: A box (and two extra box flaps, or other cardboard), strong packing tape, and X-acto knife, at least 10 craft paints.
I was going to just build a box to start with, but common sense kicked in and instead I started trying to fit paints into what I already had. The 2fl oz bottles are 4 inches tall and 1.25 inches wide, but I was more concerned with finding a good width fit than height. You can trim a tall box, but it’s a lot harder to make it wider!
After a bunch of experimenting, I discovered that the United States Postal Service Priority Mail 7x7x6 #4 boxes were a perfect fit for a 5×5 pile of craft paints. I had plenty of the boxes around since I tend to keep every box that comes in to me, plus I had a small pile of new ones my own for shipping out things.
You can get similar boxes from Uline and Staples that you won’t need to cut down (7x7x4), but they come in packs. If you just need one box, things get a bit messier, but I think Staples sells them in the shipping isle. (I’ll have to check next time I’m there.)
The first step is to trim the top of the box so that it will be roughly 4 inches tall, just a smidge longer that the craft paints. The first time I tried this after I had taped the bottom of the box together– big mistake! This is much easier to do when the box is still flat.
Trim off the four top flaps at the crease and out them aside. We’ll be using these for shelves and cross beams later. Measure up roughly four inches from the bottom fold of the box, either with a ruler or just using one of the bottles as a guide.
On one of the boxes I left the ‘bottom’ side about an inch longer that the others (it’s the one to the far left of the three examples). I’m still trying to figure out if I like this… It doesn’t make it any sturdier, but it’s easy to know what way to put it down when I move them.
Once the top is trimmed down, I fold the bottom closed and securely tape it with packing tape. I also ran a band of tape around the sides of the box– Don’t use weak tape here, as this is what give it a lot of the structure!
Now fill it from the bottom up putting in two paint bottles on each level on opposite sides. If you have 25 bottles, use them all. It’s easier to fill the whole thing up, but 10 will work just as well.The nice part about using the box flaps for shelves is there’s a perfect number of them, no waste! 🙂
…Well sort of. Over the year and a half I’ve been using these I’ve discovered the shelves are a lot happier if they have cross-bracing.
I only use two cross-braces, because things get a little tight after those. You could (in theory) do four, but I think it would be a lot harder to remove the paint. I use the cross braces along the outside and haven’t had an issue with the middle shelves bending.
With all of the paint and the four shelves in place, hold up the cross-brace and mark it on each side of the shelf. You can also try measuring, but I’ve had a lot more luck with the ‘hold and mark’ method. Once you have one cross-brace cut out, you can use that as a template for the others.
Before you cut anything, use packing tape to reinforce the top of the brace. You will want to leave about a half-inch of uncut material at the top.
Then cut out the slots using an X-acto knife. You want to at the top (half an inch in) and cut down all the way to the bottom. It doesn’t really matter how long the slots are, since anything over an inch seems to do a good job of reinforcement. You also don’t have to be precise in the cuts, since they are easy to expand.
Depending on your paints you may want to cut the shelving shorter so they are easier to grab. I tried this style out, but I didn’t like the way it looked (although it was a bit easier to get at the tops. I haven’t had any structural issues with it– it just looks less sturdy.
On a side note, I found the hack of painting (and labeling) the caps somewhere on the net, but I can’t seem to find it again. But a thousand thank-yous to whomever I stole that idea from because it has made finding the paint I want (or matching an old paint color) soooo much easier.
Figuring this little trick out has been crazy useful to me and I hope it turns out to be useful to you too! 😁