Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Metal Industrial Cabinets For Art Studios

art studio mayhem
Art Studios Must Be Organized 

I realized a year ago that my art studio was out of control. Lack of time and organization meant supplies and half way finished creations all over the place. I needed a better way to organize and create (and want to create) without riffling around for things.  I found that whenever I tried to use those standard plastic see through containers, they were too small for my needs. I like color in my studio and old things. I didn't want what everyone else had.  A few small plastic organizers can set you back $50 when in fact, I prefer drawers. So I dared to be different:
Sneak Peek into Ira Mency's art studio. Small items attached to the front of the cabinet tell what it is.

The cabinet above looks grand, but it didn't at first....in fact it came with old tire patches and tubing supplies with original dust from Gosh-Knows-When.

industrial cabinet artist studio
This looked yucky at first downright dirty!
Metal Vs. Wood

Now when you see those pretty studio pictures that are picture perfect you will often see wooden old spool cabinets or sewing cabinets.. I'm not knocking them,in fact they are downright beautiful. Since they are so in demand, and featured in this magazine and that article, prices have soared. I am more of an industrial metal girl anyhow. So I opted to find myself some great old metal cabinets, clean them up and get to work.  Metal is more plentiful and often easier to find at lower prices. 

Industrial Cabinets Just My Style

Fittings Cabinet
Old metal fittings cabinet, from my Etsy shop photos.
Industrial cabinets are everywhere you turn.   These are generally the kind you will find in garages or industrial machine shops. Most held fittings, parts, or tools.  A cabinet like the one above held these fittings for hoses and industrial parts.  If you are lucky, when you buy the cabinets you may just have some extra parts for your assemblage or mixed media art...

Industrial MRO Fittings, great for an assemblage artist, find them here.
The Clean Up and Preparation

Normally cleaning them up takes more time than anything. You should know that many of these little cabinets have small partitioned areas but may have paper labels in tact. Make sure not to wet them or you will have a mess and lose some cool industrial history.  For the labels I like to mod podge right over them to preserve them. Nothing fancy, just dipped my finger into a small dish of mod podge and coated them. When dry, I coated again. I guess you could say I sealed in the history.

industrial cabinet
There are a few steps to refinishing an industrial cabinet to use in your art studio.
Because of the fact the industrial fittings or greasy parts were in these cabinets (or sometimes people's greasy fingers going into them), you will want to clean each section with a bit of Dawn Soap and water on a damp paper towel. Wipe out each partition. If you run into a lot of grease you will have to upgrade to a Comet Spray or Degreaser on your paper towel but be sure not to get it on the labels! You don't want to saturate this because the cabinet is metal.  The end result is worth it!

industrial fittings cabinet
I just adore this little cabinet my hubby Big Fat Daddy got me for Christmas!

Industrial Cabinets Like Mine : Get the Best Value for Less

As some of these cabinets are very heavy, your first goal is to try to find them locally. You can find industrial cabinets at flea markets, thrift stores and garage sales.Check Craigslist or look for auctions of garages or automotive shops.  Talk to your older brothers, uncles, cousins, and grandpa to see if they have any old metal boxes they aren't using. If you shop on Etsy, shop local and see if the shop has a coupon code in their announcement. Keywords for searching are: Industrial Cabinet, Metal Drawers, Metal Cabinet, Fittings Cabinet, Automotive Cabinet, Shop Cabinet.  Steer clear of buying those which are half rusted, unless you sand and coat with a clear coat deterrant, it may be more trouble than its worth. Who wants rust in their art studio? A little rust on the top or sides is okay with me.

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