Easy (no Power Tools) Mobile Workspace With Storage for Large Paper





Introduction: Easy (no Power Tools) Mobile Workspace With Storage for Large Paper

This is a work space set up in a small rental apartment's fully carpeted  'living / dining' area.  (The plush carpet was brand new. ..and I work with oils, acrylics, inks and other bad things for carpets. EeK!)

Step 1: What You Need

HOLLOW DOORS - hopefully second hand and free

2x4's - the same width as the doors  to act as spacers (most lumber stores will cut them for you)

BASE SUPPORTS =  two things of the same height  one for each end. 
      Almost anything sturdy will work - saw horses, milk crates, end tables, filing cabinets, concrete blocks, etc

(I prefer a height that is just above my knees...so there is room to store boxes underneath.  The higher your bottom shelf, the more stable the supports need to be.  If you have a lot of paper to store, you could  start the shelves at your ankles - leaving just enough room for your feet to fit underneath.)

FREEZER PAPER (optional)

Step 2: Base Support

These base supports  lift the bottom door to just above my knee.

I used  plastic pipe*  for support.    It might have been totally stable if the room's walls hadn't been convex.  If I ever used pipe for this again,  I would use a wider diameter.  (In a permanent situation  I have plywood box shelves for supports.)

Filing cabinets,  night stands, milk crates or plywood shelves would all make good and probably better and cheaper supports for the doors.  Whatever is used needs to support the full width (hinge to doorknob) of the door. 

*The plastic pipe and fittings solution was more expensive than I expected.    The advantage was in being light weight , small when broken down,  easy,  and reusable.

Step 3: Hollow Doors and 2x4's

Used doors were freely available in Davis, CA. from Hibberts door store on 5th.  This is probably true in most places with a lot of rental units.  These are hollow doors - chosen because they were light enough for me to handle and rigid enough not to sag.  These are 30 x 80 inch doors. Many other sizes are available. 

Two x fours on edge serve as spacers. They just sit on the doors.  I have used this system of spacers for decades with no problems. Make sure the spacers are over the base supports.

Stack until you reach a working height that's good for you.

Step 4: Freezer Paper

Because accidents can happen, I cover the top door with freezer paper and run it up the wall about 18 inches. This way, in case of a disaster, nothing can leak down the back side by the wall.



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    23 Discussions

    It's the perfect table for Architects. We never know where to put all those plans we keep on having.

    Nice work!

    1 reply

    Thanks so much, Roberto Architect! I've always coveted map file drawers... so beautiful, but way out of my price range and not as flexible. This design is the closest I could come to the same function. It's also where I store rolls of Clearprint and canary paper.

    Now this table with paper storage would be every artist's dream work bench. I think with a few additional buckets for pens and other stationery thrown in, it would be perfect!

    1 reply

    Thanks for looking and your kind words, ChristopherJames. (And thinking of bucket quantities of pens... check out Magic Pan Organizer by FikjastScott... he's got the pens, pencils, markers etc. dream arrangement!)

    What if I were to get doors smaller and just divide the dimensions

    1 reply

    Thanks for looking, gbellton. It should work just as well. Intuitively, the smaller the footprint, the lower you'll want the center of gravity.

    They don't fall over. Maybe an earthquake that tossed the whole thing up in the air would let them fall. A jostle would have to lift the whole door at least 1/4 inch to push the "2x4" over. In several decades I have never had one tip over, but I don't work from the ends. I also don't have people around who would crash into the ends.

    If it were a problem in an unusual situation, say one where people were likely to lean their full weight against the ends of the doors, one could screw or nail or glue an addition piece of 2x4 to each spacer (making at least a section of it 4x4), or even better, at the back add a piece - so the spacer looks like a T from above.

    Thank you! Sorry if I sounded incredulous. That clears it up for me. I don't work from the ends, but I am a klutz. (^_^) I'm definately going to build this. Thanks again!

    I had doubts too when I first tried it. After all, it's almost too easy not to have major flaws somewhere. :) In my head it's not a good idea free standing.... but I haven't tried that because I do bump and lean against it.


    4 years ago

    I think I might do something like this for my apartment just need to find the materials, I really like the of the board on the wall as well

    1 reply

    If you can't find a source for free hollow doors, most lumber stores have new doors. In 2009, 80x30 hollow doors were about $20 each. Some places even deliver free. Apartment complexes are always replacing doors, so your maintenance person may have some that are damaged on only one side. Worth a try.

    For the board on the wall to hang stuff on... it's easiest to lay out your stuff along the board on the floor and then pound in nails or brads where you need them before you put the board on the wall.