Help me out with craft storage shelf dimensions. What works?

I’ve got my wonderful new craft space. Most of my stash is in storage and I want to start unpacking, but I need shelving. Part of me wants to wait and see how the room speaks to me in terms of what goes where, but the biggest part wants to unpack everything now. To do so, I need to build shelves to take my stash.

What shelf dimensions work for you? Height and width especially. For the following crafts.

For sewing, I’m planning on wrapping my fabric onto cardboard cores-i have everything from largish bolts to fat quarters and scraps. Thread and notion storage

For art journaling, I need paints, mediums, stamps, stencils, ink pads, pens, papers to hand for this.

Other crafts I do, jewellery making ( beads, findings), fabric printing (inks, brayers, drying space) miniatures (mostly just need space and good lighting for this)

I also need storage space for books, patterns, and all sorts of random stuff.


I like bolts upright rather than stacked.
For paints this looks good and it could live somewhere but also be moved to a work space. This sort of pool noodle paint brush holder could go on the sides

I have cube shelving for most of my stash and it works well for me. Each cube is about 13.5" high & wide and about 15" deep.

I also recently started using magazine holders for paper, I don’t know how I managed before them!

For small papercraft things (washi tape, pens, etc) I have these stacking plastic boxes

And for my stamp pads, some stamps, and misc other things I have some plastic drawers that sit on top of my cubes. It’s about 12" wide and 10.5" high and 13" deep

I really like having cubes instead of one long shelf, it helps me keep like things together and (mostly) organized. Although I wish mine were wider so I could fit my larger totes. Hope that helps!

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It does help thanks. Do you find that with that depth of cube, things get lost in the back? I’m general I tend to lean towards narrow shelves.

@Magpie. I think upright fabric bolts is the way to go. But I’m wondering what’s the optimum length of bolt?

That paint storage looks excellent… Mine are all tubes, but they would still work well like that.

Are you going to be using any kind of plastic bins to hold your items? I buy a lot of shoe box size bins at the Dollar Store…They fit easily on my 12" Wire shelving…the larger bins also fit…I wouldn’t go much more than 12-14" or else things will be lost at the back…

Like @Reinikka , I am a huge fan of magazine holders to house everything from magazines to papers, patterns, embroidery hoops…I put them down and stack them so I don’t need to pull them out to get papers unless I want to…I also use shoe organizers to divide taller space into half to hold two layers of stuff without having to move everything to get to the bottom.

Do you have access to this type of shelving hardware?

These systems generally have brackets of varying depths (the standards come in different lengths, too) so you can have a variety of depths and change them as your needs change. You can also make the shelves as long or as short as your space (and budget) allows, fit tall things in as necessary.


The generally come in a few colors which you could paint shelf boards to match to give it a more cohesive look that is illustrated in these images, too.

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I like to see what I’ve got, so either labelled boxes or see through ones. I haven’t seen shoe boxes of that type in our dollar store equivalent, but I’ll keep an eye out for them.

@TheMistressT yes we do have those racking systems, so they are an option. But I have to covers, I’m a sucker for all wooden shelves, old fashioned gal here

They definitely require an aesthetic compromise and a creative space is one where the aesthetic can matter quite a lot!

I have three wooden bookcases with adjustable shelves…they are 12 inches deep…they hold a lot of my “miscellaneous” supplies. I have them mounted to the wall for safety…you can get them pretty inexpensively at IKEA or even most furniture stores…

Sometimes :sweat_smile: I try to keep things where they don’t get lost, but it does happen

I use 5 tier metal shelving. The shelves are adjustable, they’re portable and it’s easy to see what all I have. I use a variety of bins/containers on the shelves to hold everything.

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I use the Ikea Kallax shelves and cubes for storing a lot of my craft supplies. My fabric is in the white cubes, sorted by colour or big theme (like Christmas). I had them all on display which was really pretty, but to preserve it from sun damage I had to switch to the cubes. Size of fabric in here ranges from fat 1/8ths to meterage. Smaller than fat 1/8ths typically end up in colour coordinated scrap tubs.
The green cubes have a variety of things organised by craft of type. i.e. WIPs, embroidery, yarn, felt by the metre, etc.

My most recent addition are these 2 Alex drawers, also from ikea. I LOVE these. They fit perfectly under the cheap Ikea table tops/legs. They are organized according to craft/material type. i.e.adhesives, paint, pencils, electronic tools, paper craft tools, vinyl and stuff related to silhouette cameo etc.

My paper is stored in a variety of ways, including 12x12 magazine boxes and 12x12 plastic tubs.

Stamps and dies are in white tubs like these (ikea) inside plastic envelopes (aliexpress).

I think the best thing overall is it’s easy to see what I’m looking for because almost everything pulls out and you can see all the way to the back :slight_smile:


I like those Alex drawers, they would be very useful.


They are so good! The bottom 3 are slightly deeper for things that need it. Great for paints lying down, you can see it all. I have one drawer completely dedicated to washi tape :see_no_evil::see_no_evil:
I was going to make some vinyl labels, but I know what’s where so I guess I don’t really need them :tipping_hand_woman:t2: In the top drawer closest to my work space I have my paper trimmer, envelope punch board and scoreboard - very handy!

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I’m a huge fan of everything being labelled! Especially for the obscure tools you only need occasionally

We had 4 unfinished shelving units that bacame the basis of my storage. They are only 9"deep, I wish they were deeper. I use mostly found storage plus purchased. Anything goes.

I love clear bins, so I try to go with those mostly.

A left behind medicine cabinet became my paint hoarder.

These are great for little bits…

And stacking drawers are great, but the wheels can’t take the weight. They broke years ago.

Start with some basics and go from there. Most organizational systems will break down at some point. I unfortunately have stuffed every cranny and have no more room. I do have to do a deep destash at least once a year…and it’s never deep enough…usually it’s just a sort and rearrange.

And your interests will change over time. I really need an AI assisted automatic storage and retrieval system. Or a cost effective electronic dot labeling system for finding things like Cory Doctrow used in Makers.

In other words, it’s a balance between your crafting style and chaos.


I was so impressed with sleeping in your crafting room with those metal storage shelving…when I moved, that is the first thing I ordered…I now have five in my crafting room, three in the garage, and my entire kitchen pantry is on those shelves! I love having everything out in the open to see and can find everything!

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This thread has great ideas.

For fabric bolts, depends on how much fabric! I’d think not much fabric on a too big piece of cardboard would be easier to manage than too much fabric on a too small board.

I quit using cardboard to hold my fabrics…I know it doesn’t seem like a lot, but once I removed them all, I had nearly half more room to store fabrics. Also, when I removed the fabrics, some sort of “coloring” seemed to have gotten on the first piece. I read that cardboard can absorb moisture and either the fabric will bleed a bit or the cardboard will. I don’t think it is of concern if you are storing for a short period or if you use commercial boards.