It’s been a long while since I’ve posted a Tool Tips post. I mentioned before that these will be infrequent posts though, and depend on me finding tools or tips worthwhile to cover. There’s a good chance that I will do an end of the year Tool Tips 2018 wrap-up with some of my favorite things though.
In my book, you can never be too organized. Much to the consternation of my better half. Though I also find myself pretty envious of others who manage to stay consistently more organized than myself. There are some people who are so meticulous about it, that it’s a wonder they ever get anything done (and some of them don’t).
For myself, I try my best, but I have this bad habit of what could best be described as “chaotic sprawl*”. Everything will be nice and tidy, then some minis land in the mail from Ebay, plus some packs of bits, meanwhile I’m chopping apart a Necromunda ganger and pulled a Blood Bowl Dwarf out to show someone, and I’ve got 12,000 paints on my desk, and I’m pretty sure I used less than 15.
But given, The Toddler with Deadly Cobra Hands of Snatching, I tend to put anything sharp, bottles of glue/flowaid, anything with paint or glue drying on it, etc. away each time. Still, stuff manages to accumulate.
Then I’ll finally finish a project, or have some free time, and wipe the desk clean. I’ve found Chaotic Sprawl Off Foam Cleaner with the natural citrus smell works quite nicely. If only it was that easy.
But in this hobby, with all the bottles and brushes and itty bitty tiny plastic bits (many of them forever lost in my carpet), I think you have to have some level of organization. I can’t imagine otherwise.
Without further ado, here’s some of the things I’ve tried and use:
‘Plastic Shoe Boxes’
I have about 3-4 of the boxes above. They are made of plastic, about the size of a shoe box, have a white lid that easily pops off the top. I find them on sale occasionally at one of our local stores. Also stackable, which is nice.
Woohoo, super exciting! Right?!
Well when I was juggling a couple of different sets of minis at once…I came across a few minis and couldn’t recall what I had done with them last. Were they primed? Had they gotten washed (maybe twice already)? Should I check them all to see if they were filed down? I ended up defaulting to doing them over. Time is a luxury, so I decided I needed a better way to mark things.
Enter the Boxes above. I didn’t snap a picture, but each of those boxes has a piece of masking tape on the side, and usually on the lid to denote which “stage” of processing the mini is at.
For me, the typical stages are:
2) Trimmed and Washed
4) Painting stages
Of those five stages, I really just have a few boxes for 1-3, and another for 5. For stuff that is in the process of painting, it goes into various drawers at my desk. The “Sealant/Done” box is just where I have happened to put minis several times when I didn’t know where I was going to store them yet.
Oh yea, did I mention that all this stuff, just so happens to be in the “guest room”?! I cringe whenever I hear the words “Surprise, honey!”. *last time, given 2 hours notice, grumble, grumble* But having sorted minis into these boxes now, makes it much easier to pick back up where I left off.
These are likely old news to a lot of people, but I find them to be pretty invaluable. Pretty sure these are called “plano” boxes. I’ve found them in the Fishing/tackle box section or in the Yarn/Arts and Crafts sections. The model below is the one I particularly liked best, for price, interior organization, and stackability.
You’ll see below, that inside the top lid, I keep a copy of the Blood Bowl roster (handy for building teams or verifying how many and types of minis I need), and the decal sheets. This really helps to keep everything together for the team until I get around to painting them. Once they are painted, they make a great storage box as well.
I stack them on their side on the shelf, and printed out some custom labels so that I can quickly identify the box contents. They work really good for Blood Bowl teams, as the larger 2 section compartment is usually a perfect size for any “big guy” large minis. The other compartments usually hold 2 regular sized minis.
I have been considering adding some magnets to the storage bins, to keep things from jostling around inside, and that could likely be an addition sometime soon.
Here’s a similar, but larger box I used to hold all the Blood Bowl game extras I needed when I was running a tournament with friends. Always have pencils on hand! Different colored dice to entice people, Blood Bowl footballs, coin of flipping, markers for movement, also had turn markers but now I’m using the team specific tokens for those. Nice to have one ‘grab and go’ box for this.
I loves the dice!
“A person can never have enough paint.” – Some Smart Person
Here’s a quick flash through the various things I’ve tried for paint storage:
Vallejo Paint Storage rack – note the larger decanted bottle doesn’t fit.
Acrylic Nail Polish Holder Something or other. Holds paints pretty nicely. But not a ton of them.
Faust’s Super Amazing Paint Rack Solution. Will sell for $24,999 USD.
Made sure the height of the shelves was just right, so I could easily read the paint labels.
As you can see, I went through a variety of solutions. Each with their own plusses and minuses.
The Vallejo one was a bit spendy, but looks pretty nice. Obviously can’t hold all my paints and took up more space on my desk than I ultimately wanted. I decided I didn’t want a pile of paints on my desk and having to field questions everytime we had house guests. Given that there is a large closet in the room, things would look much tidier if I stored my paints in there.
Acrylic shelves came next. Really cheap, can’t hold a lot of paints and a bit easier to store on the closet shelves. But I noticed it was really hard to read the paint bottle labels.
Which led me to building my custom solution. Drill, screws, wood glue, measuring tape, and craft wood in hand, I built it over a couple nights. Fit perfectly in the closet shelf space (because I measured it!). But as my paint collection continued to blow up, it simply couldn’t keep up. If it had, I probably would have added a lip to the edges to keep the paint bottles from tipping over. Other pro, I could easily read all the labels on the bottles.
So yes, that makes three strikes and leads me to the solution I am using now….
‘Paint Rack’ out of case. Has a prop up end, if you want to have them handy at the desk.
The Art Bin storage is not cheap by any means. Especially now that I have four of them. But it has a number of advantages for me. Storage is ‘modular’, in that I just buy more boxes and racks when my paints propagate like bunnies. Supposedly having the paint upside down is a good thing for getting the pigment closer to the top, though I’m skeptical. I can store the flat Art Bin boxes in the closet shelves pretty easily (or under a bed, desk, etc.) and pull them out as needed. I will label the sides of the boxes, to make identification much quicker.
But, probably the most interesting advantage I found was color organization. I figured it would be easiest to get ‘all the reds’, ‘all the metals’, etc. together in their own boxes, since I can’t actually see the labels. So The Toddler and I started putting all like colors together and I started organizing them by shade.
Which sort of sparked something. Usually when I go to paint a color, I would rummage through the shelf, reading all the labels, grabbing everything that said “red” or whatever color I was looking for. I’d have a small mountain of paints on my desk and I would start going through and comparing colors and shades, etc. And of course we know where all those red paints end up sitting for awhile, now don’t we?!
But now with all those bottles stored in the rack, I have to look at the colors/shades from what I see of the bottom of the bottles. Instead of reading the labels, which let’s face it, are often misleading as hell. I can more quickly get to the paint color/shade I need (after shaking the bottle, just to make sure that’s the actual color!). Another interesting thing is that I can clearly see which colors are similar across the manufacturers now, and make an effort to use up paints that I might not have used as much. Or purchase less of certain colors/shades, because I can see I have a lot of coverage there already.
So yes, that solution seems to be a win for me overall. Yea, I don’t have a big display of all my paints at once, but given the amount of paints I have, I’d probably have to start covering the wall with shelves if I really wanted to do that.
But wait, there’s more!
Yes, the above solution works amazingly well for storing my paints away and keeping them organized….but what about paints I am using for a current project that are getting scattered all over the desk?!
Well, while reading this blog post at: Steinberg Shed Space
I happened to spot a nice, tidy little rack of paints at his workspace. ‘Steinberg’ said it was an acrylic rack, and it sounded much like the one I had picked up awhile ago, but smaller. A little Amazon shopping and a couple days later, this arrives:
Nice little holder that has just 4 rows, doesn’t take up too much desk space, and should be able to hold enough paints for any single project I am working on at the time. Yes, it’s currently chockful of paints as I hadn’t put away a large number of them yet. ‘Steinberg’ also mentioned that he keeps the washes in their permanently, as they are always going to get pulled out. I thought that was a good idea….especially since my Wash bottles are larger. They do fit the Artbin satchels, but cause the lid to bulge slightly, which I’m not crazy about.
I’m still kind of tempted to put a small shelf up on the wall, and I can either place this paint rack there when not in use or maybe just some washes.
Hope you found this useful and maybe sparked some ideas of your own. If you’ve got some organization tips you would like to share, please feel free to leave Comments below.
Until next time, Get Organized!
*Chaotic Sprawl Monster © 2018 Faust Enterprises