Finally - you’ve staked your claim to a spot in your home that will be yours for sewing, scrapbooking, gift wrapping, painting or whatever your passion. Maybe it’s your craft room, your hobby room or your craft corner. Like any task which benefits from the right tools, the right space is as, if not more, critical. Where do you start? Here’s our advice on making the most of your creation haven.
This is about your senses and what inspires you. Getting it right will benefit you in so many ways. The best part - like the things you’ll make in your new space, it starts with imagination.
Try this exercise: Start by closing your eyes and taking a few slow breaths. Next picture your ideal environment and make note of the sights, sounds, smells and touch sensations. Is your craft, or hobby room a nook to nestle into, or do you see an open kind of vibe? Are there specific textures or elements in your vision? Don’t worry if your vision doesn’t easily align with your actual space. Let your imagination go.
Once you have a vision, open your eyes and make write down or draws the key elements. Your list might look like this:
- Among the trees
The real creativity comes from invoking feelings suggested by your list even though you may be in a windowless basement without a tree or sunlight to be seen. Start with colors and textures. Looking at our example – sun kissed yellows and oranges would invoke the sun and warmth. Greens invoke the trees. Natural materials and maybe a sisal rug could create an outdoorsy feel. Consider a ceiling fan to create a gentle breeze and an ambient noise machine to invoke nature’s sounds. You can get the feeling of sunlight from LED bulbs which are available in a range of color temperatures. Although sunlight at high noon is approximately 5600 degrees Kelvin (K), for practical purposes bulbs in this range have a bluish tint. For crafting use and for our desired effect, we recommend something in the warm-neutral range of 3000K - 3500K. Read more about color temperature here.
Craft Tables and Work Surfaces
You may spend long hours at your craft table, or you may have staging areas useful for item assembly and parts in progress. There are a few important things to consider:
- Height - Most work surfaces are a standard 28" to 30", which is a good for people between 5'8" and 5’10”. What if you aren’t in that range? Start with your chair adjusted so your feet rest flat on the floor and your knees are slightly lower than your hips. Bend your elbows 90 degrees and measure the distance from the floor to where your hands would rest comfortably on the table. This is your ideal table height. Some people prefer counter height (approx. 36”) or bar height (approx. 42”) working spaces. Be sure your feet have a place to rest. The same rules as above apply for arm position. Oh, and listen to your mother (or mine)… don’t slouch!
- Size - It stands to reason that the more space you have, the more you’ll use. Not to mention there may be times you want to lay out something big and wish you had space to do it. Physical space considerations obviously are a factor. Those aside go as big as you can without disrupting your ability to move in the room.
- Material - Sometimes inspiration runs wild, and creativity can be messy. We recommend tough durable surfaces that are easy to clean. In some cases crafters are ’t worried about a pristine environment and allow their space to “go natural.” We’re fans of this approach too If later you plan to do drawing or writing requiring a smooth surface, just factor in the impact of dried adhesives or paints or gouges. Consider self-healing cutting mattes for cutting and other protective materials while painting or using adhesives.
Here's another simple visualization: Picture yourself in your space and reaching for the things you’ll need. Now picture a circle or triangle where you occupy the primary position. Within that foot-print you have easy access to the things you need most. The things you’ll use constantly would be within arm’s reach. The items you use less can be further away, but ideally still in your circle/triangle. Kitchens are designed with a similar principle. Move less so you can enjoy and create more. Try to minimize needing to walk around objects to access supplies and tools.
One more thing to keep in mind are staging areas as you access your supplies. Planning on a shelving or wall mounted unit for storing fabrics or colored papers? Give yourself room to stand in front of that space, and a flat surface in that area for staging items as you choose each out of their storage location.
Storage That Flows
Looking at other craft rooms you might notice how organizational areas are a focal point. There’s good reason for this - designers of these spaces have incorporated organization into the “workflow” of the projects they are meant to support. In other words - selecting different papers and scissors and decorative items are as much a part of the process of scrapbooking as putting the layouts together. Projects will flow better if items you use are given as much priority as the area where you will use them. The adage "a place for everything and everything in its place” supports this concept.
Make sure you can get to what you need quickly and options are laid out to help with your selection process. Also give yourself an “everything else” spot that becomes the place for things that don’t have a place. We limit the size of ours so it doesn’t get out of hand… but can’t promise it hasn’t from time to time.
These ideas work for a kid’s craft space as well – only kids appreciate digging through bins to find the perfect whatever and the other side of this is that it’s easier to keep things organized with bins. Also consider cork walls, magnetic boards or spare shelf space for proud display of kid creations. We’re all born with creativity. Giving kids a place to let it flow benefits them in so many ways.
Co-crafting spaces for kids and adults are another great thing. Maybe there’s a spot to add a small table to an adult space and a couple of easy access bins for their own kid-friendly supplies. A tall chair to share or work alongside you at your space is good too. Remember the importance of safety when it comes to accessing things which are sharp, hot or have motors (such as sewing machines).
Messy is a by-product of creation. Much like organization you might as well incorporate the mess you’ll make into your workflow. Set aside a spot to temporarily toss your dirty brushes and other items that need cleaning later. If it makes sense, add bins to hold scraps, miscellaneous buttons, paints or other odd remnants which may be useful someday.
For trash, oversized bins are great, because who wants to be confronted with an overflowing trash can? Think of ways you can slide scraps directly from the table to the trash.
Lastly, if the luxury of having a sink nearby for messy cleanup is practical it will be something you’ll be thankful for. And a small basket with spray, towels and sponges you can grab and use for wiping down surfaces makes the final step an easy one so you’ll be ready for you next session.
The important part of all of this is for you to have a place to do your thing. Pick what’s critical and go with it. We want to see you enjoying yourself, and stressing about how to create the “craft-ma-hall” probably doesn’t get you there. So on behalf of Craft Den - be resourceful, be comfortable, and happy crafting!
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