How to Build a Painting Rack

I recently constructed  a painting rack for my studio where my work can dry above the ground. Since I work on canvas mounted to gator board panels, I needed an easy way to store them without stacking them directly on top of each other where paintings could smudge or scratch each other. It was actually pretty easy and only took an afternoon. Here’s how I did it:


I started with some reclaimed wood and measured it to be 12″ in width. Most of my work is around the 11″ by 14″ range to 18″ by 24″ range, so 12″ on the bottom was going to be the minimum I would need to be able to stack work onto the shelf and allow some overhang without it falling off. Next, I measured six intervals, and then used a hand saw to cut grooves into the wood.


It was a crude job, but good enough. I just need the grooves to be deep and wide enough to fit some 1/8″ plexiglass dividers.


Next, I scored plexiglass into 12″ right triangles and set them into the grooves. All that’s needed to keep them in place is a line of wood glue where each divider is placed. I like plexiglass because its durable and the transparent effect is nice too when I’m looking at paintings in a row.

The two sides of the rack, installed.

The two sides of the rack, installed.

I repeated this process again for a second rack. As you can see here, this wall in my studio has a dividing bit of molding, so in order to effectively use the space the rack goes on both sides of the molding. I have a very small studio, so I try to use every available bit of room.


The rack in action!

The rack can actually hold quite a few paintings at once. Looking back, there is one design change I might make. The plexiglass dividers could use a bit more total area. As they are right triangles, there is actually not much that the paintings lean and the can tip to one side easily when bumped or jostled. I think I may use larger dividers in the future that do not come to a perfect right triangle but instead are larger trapezoidal shapes. This would give more structure to the dividers and the paintings wouldn’t be knocked around quite so easily. Even so, it’s a good solution – my work is off the dirty floor and I can see it all in one glance. A big improvement from stacks of panels on top of each other, leaning against the wall!

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