Home -> Projects -> Bits -> Workspace Shelving

Workspace Shelving

by Andy Slater

Workspace ShelvingI feel like it's a bit naughty of me to do an article about this when it isn't really finished. You see the idea is to fit out the little 'rooms' in the unit to look like it's some kind of sci-fi interior. However the most important part of the project is already done and it is now a fully functional Death Star even if it doesn't look like one (sorry, I got carried away a bit there), and of course it doesn't have to be sci-fi and could be themed to whatever you are into. The point is that it gets some of the stuff of my/your table in a stylish way without having to spend a fortune (total cost to date = 40p for the brackets that hold it to the wall).

Of course the staring point was to find a suitable piece of polystyrene and although I could have made up a structure from plain sheet, a quick search through the stuff I have stashed away in my loft turned up the pieces shown in the image below.

Workspace ShelvingNow, before you start calling me a jammy so-and-so, realise that this stuff isn't that hard to come by if you keep your eyes open. The long piece was packing from my exercise bike however, a couple of months ago I was driving down the road and I saw a big bag of what was clearly the packing materials from a new computer standing next to a dustbin. It's now in my loft. A couple of weeks later I did my in-laws a favour by house minding when they were expecting the delivery of a new washing machine. The delivery guys unwrapped the machine and were about to take the packing materials away with them. Said packing materials are now in my loft along with all the other chunks of polystyrene that they guys had (from three previous deliveries) in the back of their van. One of those pieces is also shown in the picture and formed the basis of the paint rack.

Note that even without those 'lucky' events, if you find yourself needing stuff like this, just visit your local white goods store. They all deliver and they all end up with loads of this stuff that they're more than happy to give away. Note however that you need to catch them at the right time because a lot of them have a machine that breaks it up for easier disposal/recycling. You need to catch them before they do that.

Workspace ShelvingTo a large extent the pieces of polystyrene dictated the design but I still made a number of calculations and adjustments. In the previous picture you can see how I stood the main piece of polystyrene on a couple of kitchen rolls and piled up some paint bottles to get a gauge of the height I'd need. As you can see from the image to the right, I'd added a couple of paint pots on top of the kitchen rolls to raise it a bit higher by the time I was test fitting the paint rack (held in place in this image by cocktail sticks).

I left it like this for a couple of weeks in case it revealed any major flaws in the design however it seemed to work well. Plenty of space in the nooks and crannies for frequently used bottles, tools, and half painted figures, and plenty of room underneath for my jars and cups containing paint brushes, pens etc. The one issue that did show up was that the top part of the structure was too deep (front to back). I'd already made good use of the Hot Wire Foam Factory's Scroll Table to cut up the foam for the paint rack, and this made short work of cutting a 2" slice out of the whole piece. The parts were then fixed back together with hot glue.

Workspace ShelvingThe next step involved numerous applications of lightweight filler (to deal with indentations), and cheap household emulsion paint sprinkled with sand and cement to give a consistent texture. This little lot was followed by a couple of coats of Inscribe Acrylic Paint (Ash) and then it was time to fix it on the wall and put it to work.

The image to the right shows one of the two brackets that I used to fix it to the wall. As you can see, there is only one screw in the bracket and it effectively 'clamps' the unit to the wall by sandwiching the foam between the metal bracket and the wall. The screws were tightened very carefully until I could see that they were just beginning to pull the bracket into the foam. Two screws/brackets will be sufficient to hold the unit securely to the wall as I don't do something stupid like trying to use it as a bookshelf. It'll take my paint collections, some work in progress, and a few tools with no problem.

At this point I'm going to leave you with a larger version of the picture that we started with and a reminder that it still isn't really finished. I'll probably revisit this article and add a picture or two when I've added details to the little rooms however I figure that as it stands there's probably enough for you to decide whether I'm a genius or a lunatic, and whether or not your workspace might benefit from a similar construction.

Workspace Shelving

[Page Top] [Site Home]