Carly Rubach

Artsy storage options

By - Apr 17th, 2011 04:00 am
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Moving is a transitional, necessary act that binds the universe in misery. After two weeks of being “settled” into my new apartment, there are still boxes blocking the entryway and I continue to struggle with the absurd amount of useless stuff I own. Luckily, Goodwill exists.

Manual labor aside, the apartment is beautiful—an old high rise with gorgeous views of the city and plenty of light. The only problem is the lack of storage. We have three small closets, a coat closet and zero storage in the bathroom. Oh, where to put all of my precious jewels? I don’t actually have a lot of jewelry, but I hate to leave everything tangled up in a bag or an enclosed box.

To remedy that, I have this super simple project  (discovered during my nightly browsing)  that allows you to store and display your jewelry as art. This is a nice evening or weekend project that takes about 2-3 hours. You will need an antique typeset drawer, which can be found at most antique stores and ranges in price from $15-$40. I got mine for around $20 and recently saw one for less at Farm Girl Arts and Antiques on 5th and National Ave. in Walker’s Point. I went to this store for the first time last week and was blown away by the pricing and selection. What fun!

Typeset Drawer Jewelry Display

-Typeset drawer
-Eyehook screws (I spray-painted mine black)
-Saw-tooth hangers
-Precious jewels
-One nail to rule them all


I played around with placement before deciding where I wanted my sporadic hooks. You might decide to use hooks in every compartment if you have a lot of jewelry to work with. I would have preferred the latter, but like I said, I don’t have many accessories.

Turn your drawer upside-down and nail holes to the upper ledge of each compartment where you will be placing your screws. You do not need to drive the nail all the way through, just get the hole started.

Use your large muscles to screw in the screws.

Add screws to the front and sides of the drawer for necklaces if you so desire.

Add saw-tooth picture hangers on the back of your drawer so you can secure to the wall. This usually requires only a hammer and the nails that come with the hangers.

Hang your jewelry and add any other tiny items you own (rocks, matchboxes, beads, buttons, etc.).

Hang on the wall and enjoy your artful jewelry display.

In my first column, I was the headless, long-necked bust wearing a yellow T-shirt necklace in one of the photos. I had a few friends ask for the directions, so here they are. I must give credit to Martha Stewart and my former co-worker who introduced me to this simple, free project.

T-Shirt Necklace

-Soft, fitted cotton or cotton blend T-shirt works best, should have a little stretch to it
-Scissors or rotary cutter


  • Starting from the bottom of the T-shirt, cut off the hem.
  • Cut 3/4-inch strips out of the shirt, leaving them intact as a circle.
  • Pull/stretch each strip until the fabric curls. If they don’t curl, you’re working with the wrong fabric.
  • Pile the strips by matching up the seams. Set one stretched strip to the side.
  • Gather the curled strips by holding the seams on either end. Twist and bring all seams together to create a double loop.
  • Take the curled strip you set aside and cut it open at the seam.
  • Wrap the long strip around the gathered seams (to hide them), tucking the ends underneath. Presto!

I was planning to update my couch with a few bold pillows for this column, but I only recently settled on a few fabrics. So, prepare for a total couch transformation in my next column and a brief discussion on color scheme.

Also, if you know of any other awesome antique stores in Milwaukee, please post your favorites in the comments section!

0 thoughts on “TCDIY: Artsy storage options: A How-To”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great creative idea!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Great idea for jewelry! I’m going to try this as soon as I find a tray. Your t-shirt necklace is awesome. Give me 3 days and there won’t be a tshirt left in my house.

    I love the antique store in Walker’s point, too. But my favorite of all is Legacies Ltd. on Port Washington Rd. in Fox Point!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Carly, it looks so rad—I love this!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I actually have one of these type setter drawers and have not known what to do with it! Thank you for the great idea!

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