Crafters Anonymous – Make Your Own Model Paint Rack

As you may know from my sidebars and this page, I make geeky crafts, and I want to put up more tutorials, especially when making things that aren’t going up for sale. I usually forget to take in-progress pictures, but when I started on this project, I thought it might come in handy.

My favorite medium is paint that’s meant for model cars and the like, on copper blanks that are mostly used for enameling. There probably aren’t a lot of people who do this, which makes finding storage options tricky. Fortunately, getting creative is something I’m pretty good at.

I was keeping my model paint in a tray originally designed to separate beads, but was running out of room, and I got tired of having to pull the drawer out from its place under my desk every time I wanted to do a touch up. I decided what I needed was something like a spice rack that could sit on my craft table, but not take up too much room. (I’ve already got my sewing machine there.)

Actual spice racks wouldn’t work since the slots were too large, but one internet search led me to holders for nail polish, which were just about the same size as my paints. There are a number of nail polish racks available online, but the ones for the wall or counter didn’t have any kind of dividers, and I really wanted each of my paints to have its own place so I’d be able to keep track of my stock.

Eventually I took at trip to the Container Store and found these:



I thought if I could stack them and mount them on some kind of base, it would make a great vertical rack. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a good box to use, so I went home and rummaged in the garage, which is where I found an old cutlery drawer. (I forgot to take a picture of it before I removed the inner dividers, but here’s a reference pic:)

It looked something like this.
It looked something like this.

After stupidly attempting to cut the wood pieces out with a knife – I am so impatient – my mother pointed out that I could probably knock them out with a hammer. When I finished my demolition and removed the nails, I sanded down the inside a bit.


I didn’t just want to put the acrylic nail polish holders on a boring wood box, so I came up with the genius idea of decoupaging an image on the inside and painting the sides. I say ‘genius’ because first I made a terrible mess I wasn’t sure the project could recover from.


I painted the interior walls with acrylic copper paint – many, many coats – and nearly lost the whole damn thing to glue when I attempted to put in the pieces of the TARDIS console I picked out. They didn’t want to go smoothly, and I had to align two different pieces in order to fit the entire rectangle. I went through 3 different printouts, I think, before I stopped trying to make it perfectly flat. (It’s been so long since I’ve done collage that I kind of forgot that the bubbles in Mod Podge disappear as it dries, with just a few artistic wrinkles.) My alignment was off, so I ended up disguising the uneven edges with copper tape.

paintrack4And to my surprise, it looked really good. Of course, it was a lot of trouble to go to for something that would hardly show, but that’s the kind of geek I am. An obsessive one.

Then came the drilling. My dad stepped in with the power tools and drilled holes in the top corners of each acrylic holder where the base would be flush against the wood. Then I positioned them in the box and marked the holes so he could line up the screws.



For the last step I labeled each slot and put my paints away. Then I got a stand from Aaron Brothers so that the rack lies on a slight angle for greater stability, and ta-da.

model paint

The total cost was around thirty dollars, and half of that was the metal stand. The only thing I bought were the nail polish holders, which were on sale. The rest was stuff I had around the house.

I’m really thrilled with the final product (though still trying to decide if I want to add any decoration to the outside.) It’s exactly what I wanted, and makes it so easy to access my paint and see if I’m running low on anything. I have absolutely no idea if this is something anyone else would want to make, but maybe it’ll inspire another crafter.

Add Your Thoughts