Yesterday I made flatfiles to store my artwork and paper supplies. I’d love to have the big metal drawer kind but they’re very expensive and my apartment/art studio is very small. For about $60 I was able to turn one of my kitchen cabinets into a safe, dry, flat storage space for my artwork.
The cabinet is a standard off-the-shelf base cabinet measuring 24 inches wide by 24 inches deep. I bought three 24 x 48 inch sheets of lightweight, 1/4 inch thick oak plywood and had Lowe’s cut it into six 24 x 22 inch sheets (for free!). I then found a metal ‘angle thing’ that would make the perfect shelf holder. (I don’t know what it’s really used for but I found it in the steel bar section of Lowe’s.) I bought #12 1/2 inch sheet metal screws to attach them to the cabinet sides without punching through to the outside. The screw heads are flat so they fit flush against the metal ‘angle thing’, unlike wood screws which can have a tapered head which would cause an imprecise height.
I measured 7 inches into the cabinet and drew a vertical line using my level. I wanted my shelves 3 inches apart so made a mark at each 3 inch interval up the vertical line. Then I realized I had to account for the height of the ‘angle thing’ so had to add a mark 1 1/2 inches above each 3 inch mark. (Confused yet?) I put a small level on the ‘angle thing’ and made a level line beginning at each 1 1/2 inch-above-the-3-inch mark. That way I could merely hold the ‘angle thing’ against that line and mark where to pre-drill the screw holes. Each ‘angle thing’ had holes in different places, so I had to hold each one up and mark its particular holes, then keep track of which one went where. It was important to pre-drill the holes so that the cabinet wood wouldn’t split, and so that using a screwdriver in a tight space wouldn’t be too difficult.
There you have it! Maybe it sounds complicated, but it only took me an hour and a half and patience measuring. Now I can store my paper in the best way, horizontally, instead of in the myriad of vertical portfolios I used before. I can see all my finished work and works in progress at a glance, AND everything is safe from my four studio mates who are paper-chewing cats.
NOTE: These pictures have helpful captions but in my current theme I don’t see them showing up. ??? I’ll try to fix that.