Craft Room Organization: PVC and Wire Shelf Paint Storage

DIY Hanging Paint Storage

I am so excited to share this tutorial with you today because I think it will make a big difference in your craft room organization. From some inexpensive materials, you can build hanging paint storage to both organize and display your craft paint!
Are you familiar with these wire shelves?  My parents bought me a few these sets for cheap storage in my college dorm room and they have been workhorses ever since.  You can occasionally find them at thrift stores or garage sales, or you can buy them online or from Walmart or Target.  These wire shelves are the most important part of these hanging paint racks.  You will need two wire shelves for each rack.  All the other materials can be bought cheaply at the hardware store.

craft paint storage racks

The magic of these wire shelves is that the openings are just the right size to neatly hold bottles of craft paint!
I found inspiration for this project from this pin on Pinterest.  The pin took me to a forum which just had this picture and this explanation:  “She used two shelves from one of those wire shelving units and zip tied empty thread spools in all four corners and the middle.”  Unfortunately, that forum page no longer exists, so the picture only lives on Pinterest now. I showed the idea to my dad, and he had some ideas for recreating the basic design with a few tweaks to make it more sturdy and easy to hang.
To make DIY Hanging Craft Paint Storage, you will need:
wire shelving (2 per rack)
3/4” diameter PVC pipe (4 segments per rack)
PVC pipe caps (8 per rack)
screws, washers, mollies and nails
pvc materials
Instead of using spools of thread and zip ties, my dad devised a way to use PVC pipe and caps to create both the proper spacing and to securely hang the shelves.  You will need to use a hack saw to cut 3” sections of your PVC pipe.  One inch from the end of each piece, use your hack saw to cut 1/4” wide notches halfway into the pipe.  Do this for each of your sections of pipe; you will need four for each rack.

pvc spacers

Check to make sure your wire shelves fit in the notches you created.  The PVC pipe will keep the wire shelves in place, while the pipe caps keep the rack properly spaced away from the wall.

pvc cap washer and screw

The section of PVC pipe at the top of each rack supports the most weight, so you will need to screw this piece into the wall.  First, decide where you will hang your rack, drill a hole in the wall where the top corner will be, and insert a molly.

Next, drill a hole in the center of one PVC cap.  Insert a washer and screw.

screw into wall

Using your drill, screw the PVC onto the wall, into your molly.  This will make sure your rack is secure.
placing the racks
Insert the segment of PVC pipe into the cap you just screwed into the wall.  Hang two wire racks from the notches, and add another cap to the front of the segment of pipe.  Mark the spots on the wall where the other three corners meet the wall.

pvc and wire shelf paint storage

The other three pipe sections should be mounted on the wall in the same way as the top section, but can be nailed into the wall instead of screwed. 

pvc spacers in action

The pipe sections should all be placed INSIDE the wire shelf corners, with the notches facing OUT.

paint rack side view

This picture shows that the rack is not only very securely hung, but that the pipes provided an inch of clearance from the wall, and an inch of space between the racks.  This makes sure there is enough room for the paint bottles to sit in each opening without falling out.

craft paint storage

Second verse, same as the first.

DIY wire and pvc paint storage racks

Each rack holds a ton of craft paint without any signs of stress to the rack or the wall.  My Martha paints are very happy in their new home, and I love that it is so easy for me to see which colors I have so I can quickly grab what I need.

fabric and acrylic paints

My paint bottles that have smaller caps than bodies (aka anything other than the Martha paints) need to be placed bottom first into the rack.  If you put them in cap first, they will angle down and possibly fall out of the rack.

pvc and wire shelf craft paint storage

The racks hold 2 oz. craft paints, 1 oz. fabric paints, and glass and screen printing paints.  I love that I don’t have to go digging through a box to find what I need anymore!

DIY craft paint storage

Does your hoard of craft paint need some organization?  I think this is an elegant and practical solution to the problem!
hanging paint storage also works for
UPDATE!!!  After questions and suggestions from readers, I did a few experiments and discovered that this same system also holds nail polish, tubes of glitter, and many (but not all) types of thread.  For more specifics, visit THIS POST.

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Thanks,  Jessica Hill
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  1. tee says

    A PVC pipe cutter makes cutting much easier than using a hack saw (trust me you won’t ever use a saw again)!

  2. Connie says

    I have never posted to a pin before but I just had to thank you for posting this. It is exactly what I’ve been looking for and would have paid for if I had found it!

  3. Deborah says

    My kids call me a craft boarder!!! To be completely honest,I guess I am because I am into everything to do with crafting. Your idea is a dream come true for me since I have bottles of paint in every nook and cranny and very little space and waste time searching for the colors I need…THANK YOU !!!!! Love this idea!!!

    • says

      well for matchbox you might have to turn it so it flat , and you might have to change the spacing a little . Assuming they are out of the box. forgot how big matchbox cars are, the squars are 1 3/4 inchs big

  4. Julia says

    This looked like such a cool project but I could not get it to work at all. I had such a hard time getting the PVC pipe to stay in the cap. The moment I put one grate up the pvc pipe just slid right out of the cap that was screwed into the wall. Any help would be great cause I tried so many different things and even had three people hold it while we got it all up and once I got 3 or 4 bottles of paint in it all collapsed.

    • madincrafts says

      Oh no! My suggestion would be to size down the cap or size up the PVC pipe that you use. They should fit together very snugly, so much so that you may need to pound them together. I hope this helps!

  5. Linda K says

    This is simply brilliant and I am going to make several. I have more wall space than drawer space so this is perfect for me. Thanks so much and glad I found this PIN.

  6. Robin Zophy says

    This is a great idea! I attempted to use cake cooling racks to store my Stampin Up markers, but I didn’t know how to secure the corners, I plan to try this for that purpose too!

  7. Cindy says

    I love how you did all your stuff in your sewing room. Now since it is time and I now have just moved to my new home….Iam ready to redue what I have in a different space. I really love the paint holder and believe it or not I have the same kind of shelf so Im all over that! Your dad is the best LOL (giggle- giggle) :)

    Again thank you for your inspiration and ideas. Very appreciated



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