3 Valuable Studio Tips for the Artist, Jeweler or Name-Your-Crafter

For generations studio artists have adopted their own personal ways to be more efficient in their work, saving both time and money.  And when it comes to problem solving, artists naturally get creative.

When I saw this first tip shared by my friend, fine art painter and instructor Dawn Kinney Martin, I couldn’t believe how simple yet genius the idea was. Do you find yourself quickly going through expensive paper towels to clean up messes? Make them go further with Dawn’s solution here.

Tip #1 – Paper Towel Hacking (literally)

Paper Towels Step 1

Danger! This paper towel roll is in for a surprise.

Paper Towels Step 2

Put on your protective gear, steady, and slice.

Paper Towels Step 3

One becomes three!

Paper Towels Step 4

String the rolls within arm’s reach for easy dispensing.

Big thanks to Dawn for sharing this tip and a peek inside her studio. You may have noticed that she’s quite handy with her saw in addition to the occasional paper towel hack. She also recycles wood pallets to build tables for her studio and makes beautiful frames to showcase her paintings.

Tip #2 – Rubber Cement Pickup – Not Just for Rubber Cement

As a bench jeweler I often stick paper templates to metal in order to cut precise shapes using a jeweler’s saw. I use a strong-adhesive double-sided tape, which leaves a thick, sticky residue on the metal after I remove the paper. For a long time I struggled with the best way to remove the glue, as using my hands was difficult and inefficient.

One day I remembered I had a block of rubber cement pickup that I used only once, to remove masking fluid for watercolor paint. Its ability to pick up the masking fluid was quite magical, so I thought it must work for glue on metal. Thankfully, I was right.

Rubber Cement Pickup

I’ve been tough on my rubber cement pickup since making this discovery.

Yours will be clean and square when you buy it.

No more time wasted trying to scrape the metal clean. Just a few strokes of the block across the metal does the trick.

Did you guess this also works wonders on gluey scissors? It does!

Tip #3 – Organize It

Get in the habit of organizing your tools and supplies by grouping them by function and keeping them in the same place every time. That way, when you need a specific tool it will be right where you expect it to be, eliminating time-wasting searching.

Shown below are my jewelry tools, but the same can apply to artist brushes and paints, woodworking tools and materials, scrapbook supplies and more. There are unlimited organizational products available to assist you, from pegboards, shelves, baskets and containers. For more ideas, do a Pinterest search on organization or visit a home store like Lowe’s or Home Depot.

Organize It

As I use tools I keep them on the bench in front of me. At the end of the day, I put them back where they belong.

This only takes a minute and is a great time-saver for the next time I’m at the bench!

Do you have your own studio tips that others may find helpful? Please share your thoughts below.


January 22, 20167:44 pm

I like the rubber cement idea. Bet it would work for pastels and charcoal. I’ll have to give it a try.

Christina Steward
January 23, 20167:45 am

Interesting, I hadn’t thought of using it for other mediums! Let me know how it turns out for you.

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