Craft paint bottles. Everywhere. So much paint. That was the state of my craft room before my dad and I worked together to build a set of handy PVC and wire shelf paint storage units to house all my paint. The base of these units comes from inexpensive storage shelves that are popular in college dorm rooms! This is the best solution I have found for organizing and storing craft paint in much less space than other methods.
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!
Craft Room Organization: PVC and Wire Shelf Paint Storage
PVC and Wire Shelf Paint Storage
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.
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 Cricut.com forum that 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.
What You Need to Make DIY PVC and Wire Paint Storage
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- wire shelving (2 per rack)
- 3/4” diameter PVC pipe (4 segments per rack)
- PVC pipe caps (8 per rack)
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Constructing the Paint Racks
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.
Check to make sure your wire shelves fit in the notches you created. The PVC pipe acts as spacers that will keep the wire shelves in place, while the pipe caps keep the rack properly spaced away from the wall.
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. Then 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.
Using your drill, screw the PVC onto the wall, into your molly This will make sure your rack is secure.
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.
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.
The pipe sections should all be placed INSIDE the wire shelf corners, with the notches facing OUT.
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.
Second verse, same as the first.
Organizing Your Craft Paint
Each rack holds a ton of craft paint without any signs of stress to the rack or the wall. My paints are very happy in their new home. I chose to organize the racks by paint color. I love that it is so easy for me to see at a glance which colors I have so I can quickly grab what I need.
My bottles of paint that have smaller lids than bodies (aka anything other than the standard craft brand of paint) need to be placed bottom first into the rack. If you put them in the cap first, the smaller containers will angle down and possibly fall out of the rack.
The racks hold 2 oz. acrylic paints, 1 oz. fabric paints, and glass and screen printing paints without taking up a lot of space in my studio. I love that I don’t have to go digging through a box full of a lot of paint to find what I need anymore!
This is my favorite way to store paint since it frees up so much room on my craft table. Does your hoard of craft paint need some organization? I think this is an elegant and practical solution to the problem!
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.
If you are looking for more craft storage ideas, you will like these posts:
PROJECT RUNWAY INSPIRED PEGBOARD
This is GENIUS!!! Thanks so much!
Barbara Miller says
I Love this so much that I am adding this to my craft room HOWEVER I am have a horrible time finding the 3/4″ caps that are flat and not rounded …Can you tell me where you got yours ……I have gone to 5 different places and nothing flat.
I am pretty sure we got it all at Home Depot, but it’s been a few years. Hope you can find some soon!
Emily Dempster says
I had the same problem but found Genova Products pipe caps on Amazon:
You may be able to find them locally now that you have a name.
Donita Dacus says
Genius! Thanks for sharing.
I only needed 2 and didn't want to buy an entire shelving unit. This place sells individual grids in case anyone else is interested 🙂
Awesome tip! Thank you for sharing!
Thanks! This is a big help!
tips on saving speed says
Superb, what a website it is! This website provides helpful facts to us, keep it up.
A PVC pipe cutter makes cutting much easier than using a hack saw (trust me you won’t ever use a saw again)!
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!
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!!!
chris aka monkey says
wow wonder if matchbook cars would fit?
Kevin McIntyre 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
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.
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!
Adrian Erdman says
I can’t find PVC caps that are flat on the end. I found PVC caps at Lowes and HomeDepot but the ends are rounded. Can you give me the size of the pvc pipe and the pvc caps and where to buy them?
I get a lot of my supplies at a locally owned hardware store, so I can't point you to a bigger chain that would stock them. These from Amazon seem to be flat on the ends (aff link(: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BQWQZU/ref=a…
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.
Bonny Steele says
I got my grids from our local Restore (for Habitat for Humanity). Turned out fabulous! Thank you for sharing.
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!
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
Does it have to be hung with the corner pointing up?
It does not, but I think it is easier to hang that way.
Will this hold Coptic and other markets? Like the look of it. Thank you!
I haven\’t tried using it for markers, so I can\’t tell you definitely that it will but I suspect that it does. You could try modifying the distance between the shelf panels by making the lengths of PVC slightly longer. That would probably better for holding markers. Hope that helps!
What are the racks called Ive tried to find them I’m have trouble ?
Hi Tracie. It’s just a modular wire rack storage cube system. I’ve seen them at Target and WalMart, but I bought mine from Amazon.
Hope this helps! It was a game changer for me, as I had paints in every room and could never find what I needed quickly. I’ll tell you that I use PVC for a lot of things, and a $10 PVC cutter is like pure gold! Much easier than a hacksaw.
Vivian Kirchner says
Love this idea going to make a few of them in my room. Thanks for the idea.
How much does it weigh with paint in it? I’m renting and can’t put holes in the wall and am wondering if it will hold with a command strip on each corner.
Command Strips will NOT be strong enough to hold it. We hammered mollies into the wall and then mounted the racks into the wall with screws. If you aren’t allowed to drill into your walls, this might not work for you.
I live in a apartment as well and like you I can’t put anything up on walls. So what I did was I anchored the grids to a piece of plywood, then attached rings to the back on each corner. I used over the door hooks to hang the rack on. Hope this helps.
Hi I love your idea here and really want to make one for my daughter. everything I am reading about those panels is that the squares are 1″ squares and that is not big enough for folkart 2 oz paint bottles. Were you able to put folkart paints into these panels?
Thank you – I don’t want to order these and then have to return them
I just went and checked mine, and the openings are just shy of 1.5″ square, and they fit FolkArt (and Plaid) paints perfectly. Unless the company has changed the grid size on these racks, the paints should fit.
Denise Lynam says
I love this idea because I use these same paint bottles & u can easily see the colours u have & it looks great on the wall & saves space when u live in an apartment. I will definitely try this idea!!
I put a back on the wire frame by screwing the end caps into wood or plactic boards so I could hang them on the wall and and then hung the boards on the wall similar to hanging a white board. This way I can take them down and go to where I am working. This also keeps the paint from the bottles from getting on the walls.
Sally Campbell says
Will the wire racks hold Sticklrs and alcohol ink bottles? They are smaller and shorter than the paint bottles. This is a fabulous idea, and you gave very clear directions!
Thank you for the kind comment! I would reduce the distance between the two wire racks to better accommodate the bottles. I think then they would work well. Hope that helps!
When I saw your idea, I knew I had to make this! With a lot of help from my husband, and your spot in directions, it turned out perfect!
I’m so glad to hear that!
Jody Stevens says
I made two of these, unfortunately I tapped the 1st one too close to the wall so the bottles want to fall forward if placed lid end out. So on the 2nd one I didn’t tap them in so far and it’s perfect. I think my husband forgot to leave 1 full inch from the end when he cut the pvc. oh well they work and love how my paints are off the floor and within easy reach. Best idea for storing paint bottles.
Cyndi Lauritsen says
I’m thinking of using 3 racks instead of 2 so shorter paint pots can fit and longer.
Also there’s a scrapbook paper storage hack using the same ones and zip ties, which by my calculations uses 12-13 of the squares leaving 3-4 leftover.
[…] tell me this isn’t awesome. I love this idea from Mad In Crafts! How clever! I also love that she uses it for things other than craft paint […]
Destiny Thompson says
Do you know what she used between the wall and the rack? I see the thread in the middle but whats between the wall and the rack? I might try it because I have thread and stuff on hand and not pvc at the moment!
I don’t! There was never any explanation for how that version was made.
Erin Harris says
When creating this paint rack, did you glue the caps on the ends of the PVC? I wonder if they’ll pop off if the cap isn’t a tight fit on the end and one of the paints is tough to get out.
I did not glue them on. I wanted to have the option of removing the racks, and if the caps are glued on, you can’t access the screws.
Oh my gosh you have ideas I can use when I didn’t realize I needed them. DUH Thanks a bunch for sharing them
Great overview! Thanks a lot!
Pattie Sanders says
I have very limited wall space in my craft area. Do you think these would work hung as squares (flat across the top)? That would take up less wall space, and maybe I could use two racks, and include glitter, thread, etc. What do you think?
I haven’t tried it so I can’t tell you for sure. I would be a little concerned that the weight distribution might make them less secure in that orientation. IF you are using the racks for lighter things, like glitter and thread, it may be okay though.
Great ideas! Thank you
Cheryl Hicks says
Thanks so much for such clear instructions. I have the wire racks already and have been trying to find what to put between them to make this awesome rack for all my paints. I cannot wait to get started.
Cheryl (hoarder or paint)
I am so glad it helped!
I think you posted to Hometalk at one time because I remember saving the tutorial. If not I hope you don’t mind if I post the link to your site there. I love this idea and how your Dad solved the separator problem. I thought of the PVC pipe but the caps give a finished look and are better at hanging the whole set up.
I don’t mind if you post a link, but please don’t post the entire tutorial over there. That is why I ended up removing my posts from Hometalk.
Great idea for any craft room, especially small spaces.
Janet Junkins says
Love, love the paint bottle rack. Now if only I can find 1 basket to cut and make 2 racks.
Thank you for your help on finding me storage for my paints. I have no room hardly at all to move around in there.
Karol J. says
Awesome ideas. I have a small craft room, I already put up a half sheet of pegboard, but needed a space for my craft paints, I am going to try this for my room! Thank you for sharing!
Tina Burrows says
I love this idea I am going to find some with squares big enough to hold spice bottles for my kitchen. Thank You for the idea I am so short of space in my kitchen I can hang these on the side of my Broom Cupboard and the spices will e where I can get them.