Small Room Ideas – How to Turn a Closet into a Home Workshop

World Axiom small room ideas

The Dream of My Own Fishing Workshop

Small room ideas abound on the internet. I’ve spent years searching Pinterest to see what people do to make their own “space”, be it a home craft room, man cave, small sewing area, etc.  I saved hundreds of pins hoping one day I would have a space to call my own.

After moving to our new home, I had a chance to do just that.  Family members had staked out their claims for space in the house. Room after room slipped from my grasp until there was just one room left. But it would work for me. It was an outside closet that held:

  • A rusting water tank
  • Heating and cooling unit
  • The swimming pool pump along with the sand filter
  • A water softener tank
  • The pressurization tank for the well
  • And racks of chemicals next to an air intake (not a good thing)
In a world of small room ideas we tackled taking a tank and pump closet and turning into a fishing gear workshop. You can use the same steps to create your own craft workspace or just create better use out of a small room.  It wouldn't be complete without some of our pegboard ideas and organization.  Check out the step by step process to get your own workshop set up.

But I could see how it could, after some work, become a space in which I could organize all my fishing gear, design and test new pegboard accessory products and review other accessories for the garage, craft rooms, etc.

Step One: Clear It Out

Let's quickly go over the destruction part of the project.

  1. First, clear out the chemicals; they were definitely a health hazard.
  2. Rip the racks out that had begun to dissolve from years of neglect.
  3. Throw out the rusted water tank and water softener tank
  4. Move the pool pump and sand filter outside.
  5. Relocate the pressurization tank into the corner and wall mount the water filter.
  6. There was nothing I could do about the HVAC unit; I was not in the mood to spend 10,000 USD on something that was working fine.

The photo below shows the space I had to work with after the tear out. This is where I would build my own home workshop. All those Pinterest photos showing ideas for small rooms really helped.

after the tearout


How To Turn a Small Space into Your Ultimate Home Workshop

Step Two: Fixing some problems with my room.

The concrete floor was partially exposed; half still had an epoxy paint on it.

The walls had plenty of holes that needed to be patched.

Most important to me, THERE WAS NO PEGBOARD ANYWHERE.​

Pegboard was the first thing I installed. It covered half the holes and reduced the amount of painting needed. I put up a ¼” wooden pegboard from Lowe’s.  If you want instructions that will tell you how to put up your own pegboard wall, The DIY network does a great job of explaining the installation process.

Once the pegboard was up, I patched the holes on the walls. I used DAP Alex Plus Spackling patch filler.  Each filler application took a day to dry. The filler did not recess too much when it dried.  After a layer a day for two days, I sanded the patch gently.  My walls were more of a stucco pattern, so I didn’t have to worry about the making the patched area perfectly smooth.  The imperfections made it blend in with the original pattern.

patching the walls

Now for What I have Been Dreading…

Stripping the epoxy paint off the floor.

I had stripped floors with my father once, years ago.  It was not pleasant experience.  I was already getting flashbacks to that day.

Fristt thing was to get all the tools and protective gear organized.

floor stripping tools

Based on what my father, a store clerk at Home Depot and every contractor I spoke with said I must do to get rid of the epoxy paint, I loaded up to do this like I was cleaning up a hazardous waste dump.  KEEPING THE ROOM WELL VENTILATED WITH FREQUENT REST WILL KEEP YOU ALIVE!

Respirator and hazmat suit engaged.  Off we go.

safety first

The two cans of Klean Strip Premium Stripper were not enough nor strong enough.  I switched to the thick paste in the big can.

A key point to remember in stripping the floors is to let the stripper do the work. Put it on thick over the section you are working on and get out of the room!

Drink fluids while waiting because you are going to be sweating in that suit.

Once the paint bubbles up, use a scraper and dump the sludge in a thick plastic pail.  The goo will eat through a plastic bag and will also trash your footwear.  I used a pair of sneakers that were destined for the trash heap.

Strip, scrape and repeat until all the paint is off the floor and you are left with just raw concrete.

I then thoroughly washed and rinsed the floor, making sure all the stripper was gone.

The ceiling

painting the ceiling

I painted the ceiling next.  3M Scotch Blue painter’s tape went around the fixtures I couldn’t remove  and along the top wall edge, for clean lines.

The paint is Sherwin Williams Property Solution White Latex paint.  I cut in the edges with a 2 ½” brush and then used the roller. It only needed one coat to cover the ceiling.

Put a plastic drop cloth over the floor since I didn't want to strip fresh paint off the floor.

It was a little humid, so I waited two days for the paint to dry.  The central air vent helped the paint to dry and also kept the humidity down.

Once the ceiling was dry, I peeled the painter’s tape off.  I really like the 3M Scotch Blue because it doesn’t take any of the under paint off and peels off easily but keeps a clean edge.

Painting the Walls and Pegboard

First, the painters tape went up on the ceiling edge.

I used Sherwin William’s Infinite for the walls and hoped the salesman’s comments and the marketing efforts written on the can weren’t kidding and I wouldn’t need a second coat.

Grabbed the 2 ½” brush and cut around the edges, electrically boxes, ceiling and pipes on the wall.  This took a lot longer than the ceiling because there was more surface area and a lot more areas the roller couldn’t reach.

When rolling the pegboard I recommend not soaking the roller in the paint.  Better to go over the pegboard holes with a “dryer” roller so that the paint doesn’t slop in the holes.  Otherwise, you are going to be picking out paint for days!

I did need a second coat in spots on the pegboard because I kept a minimal amount of paint on the roller.  In my opinion, worth it.

Prepping the floor

Some of the concrete was broken after sitting underneath the hot water tank and other pumps for years.  I used a wire brush to get the loose concrete off and then patched the wall and some chips in the floor with DAP Flexible Floor Patch and Leveller. A putty knife kept it flat and smooth; it dried the same way.

patching concrete
patching concrete 2

Let the floor dry for a couple of days and then put down the floor sealer/ primer.  It is bright white so it was easy to see if I missed a spot.

floor primer

A few days later the primer was fully dry and I painted the floor with Valspar Porch Floor, and Patio.  Used dark grey to help hide dirt.

If I could have done it differently I would have used a paint with some texture.  The floor is very, very smooth now.  When it is humid the floor almost feels slick.

floor painted

I am going to get a mat to and put it at the entrance; I hope to reduce some of the slickness.

It’s Move in Time!

So now I have my own space.  I needed some shelving that would be strong but easily moveable if I relocate it.

For my workbench I bought The Seville Classics UltraGraphite Wood Top Workbench and a WorkPro Hydraulic Stool.  I had a ton of Amazon gift card points to use up.

World Axiom small room ideas

What’s Next?

Time to get everything up on the walls.  I plan on taking all my fishing lures that have been packed away for years and put them up on the wall, so I can do a little inventory analysis before getting out on the water.

Final Thoughts: Don’t Rush It.

As much as I wanted the room finished, I took my time.  Once the kids were in bed or in the morning before everyone else woke up, I put in a few hours.  Take the time to let the paint dry.

It’s going to be your sanctuary it should feel like work to get it ready.

Make sure you set up your craft room, home workshop, “man cave” the way you want it. But keep it flexible so it can adapt as your needs change.  Soon my walls will be full of (insert shameless plug here) World Axiom Pegboard HooksPegboard Jars, bins (coming soon) and other companies’ products that will help me to organize my R&D / fishing room.

Finally, all those small room ideas have become reality.

World Axiom small rooms ideas 2

How to make a Double Happiness Sachet – (Part 2)

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Did you find the Double Happiness embroidery mesmerizing? Although it takes longer time to complete the embroidery, the result of the embroidery, especially with the DMC satin floss, will not let you down. The exceptional sheen that the thread brought cannot be compared with other embroidery floss. The scented sachet I used was bought from a dollar store. You can make your own scented sachet if you have your own. You can also get them from Amazon (MYARO 12 Packs Lavender Scented Sachets). You can make this sachet without hanger so that you can put it in drawer or even put it underneath your pillow to give you a s relaxing good sleep.

You can download the free pattern again ​HERE.

I will show you how to use repetitive pattern for embroidery next week.

130 Decibel Emergency Alarm Pen

130 Decibel Personal Alarm Pen – Protect You or Your Loved Ones!

130 Decibel Emergency Alarm Pen

Our Personal Alarm Pen Designer’s Story

How often do you go out alone at night? Not often? Think twice. In real life, there are a lot of situations where we put ourselves at risk. Just a few include:

  • Parked our car far out in a large parking lot
  • Walking the dog late at night
  • An early morning jog
  • A short cut through a city side street

Have you ever experienced a moment where someone walks toward you on a dark night? That moment when you wonder what their intentions are. We have all had those moments.  Your heart rate speeds up, driving you to walk a little faster and be more alert. Unless you are experienced in self-defense, you hope for the best. What if, with just a little preparation, you could add some peace of mind to your walk.

There were a lot of personal alarms on the search page. Most of them are made like a garage-door openers, a bit bulky and meant to be hung on handbags, satchels, backpacks and such. Honestly, I wouldn’t feel comfortable hanging them on anything I carry. And I know my wife wouldn’t want this to hang outside her fashionable handbag, so I designed an alarm that is practical and useful, the...

Personal Alarm Pen

What Does It Come With?

It is in fact a very simple and elegant design.

As a pen, it writes well. The body is made of metal, with a very nice reflective enamel black coating. Twist open to get the tip out. And a metal clip that I could slip it into the pen holder on the side of my messenger bag. Thanks to the size, like other tool pens, it works as a regular carrying pen.

Personal Alarm Pen Kit

The Alarm

As an alarm, I care about three things. Functionality, portability and how it looks. The siren is definitely loud. I intentionally set it off outside a Starbucks for a split second, and I grabbed all the attention I wanted. Everyone on the street turned to look at me. A 130-decibel alarm gets the attention you need!

It’s easy to carry, after all, it’s just a pen. It is not going to add extra weight to your existing belongings. I’d just leave it inside my bag most of the day, until I know it might be a good idea to have it ready in my hand or shirt pocket.

The personal alarm pen is discreet. I am not going to look like a panicky person. That is very important to me; I want protection but with style. I don’t want everyone in the street knowing I am carrying a siren, period.

I designed it for everyone; my wife, daughter, and myself. Think about your daughter walking across campus at night. This gift can give you a little peace of mind. The gift box makes it great for the holidays, a birthday present, or a corporate gift. Truly a gift for anyone.

Eric

Click the Photo on the Right to Buy it Today!  ----->

How to make a Double Happiness Sachet – (Part 1)

A dear friend of mine asked me to make her a sachet, specifically requesting for a double happiness embroidery. Double Happiness originally refers to the simultaneous arrival of two happy events, namely “Double Happiness”. When people get married, they always post Double Happiness on the door of the wedding room to express their congratulations. I used the DMC satin floss this time for the Double Happiness. This thread is the shiniest DMC thread available. It glides through fabric and brings an exceptional sheen to any embroidery projects.

I am going to show you how to prepare the material and start the embroidery.

You can download the free pattern here ​HERE.

I will show you how to make a Sachet next time.

Essential Tools for Hand Sewing Beginners

Essential Tools for Hand Sewing Beginners

Essential Tools for Hand Sewing Beginners

Sewing is a relaxing hobby which does not require expensive equipment. I love to spend my weekends on my sewing projects. It helps me unwind myself after a hectic week at work. Making your own things by hand-sewing is therapeutic and fulfilling, especially when you are making unique gifts for your loved ones.

Are you not quite sure what you need to get your first sewing project started? Let me share with you what I consider the must-have sewing tools for beginners.

Scissors

All sewers should have 3 pairs of scissors – a pair for cutting fabrics, a pair for embroidery and a pair of paper scissors.

Fabric Scissors (or shears)

This is the most expensive tool you will ever get for sewing. The quality is totally proportional to and reflected by the cost. The higher the price, the better the quality. High quality scissors can cut through all sorts of fabrics. It is worth investing in a good pair; they are safer and easier to use. Use fabric scissors to cut fabrics only. Do not lend them to anyone in your family; you risk them being used to cut something other than fabric and they will lose their edge. Take good care of your fabric scissors and they can last forever.

Gingher 8-Inch Knife Edge Dressmaker's Shears

Gingher Dressmaker's Shears

Embroidery Scissors – These scissors are small with pointy tips. They can cut a normal thread or multi-ply embroidery thread easily. Due to the sharp pointy shears, they can cut through tight areas and get a clean cut without fray.

DMC 61253 Peacock Embroidery Scissor, 3 ¾ inches

DMC Peacock Scissors

Paper Scissors – You might already have these plain paper scissors in your drawer. They can be used for cutting patterns for your sewing projects. Use this pair of scissors for everything, instead of your fabric scissors.

Needles

Hand sewing needles come in different thicknesses, lengths, point shapes and needle eye sizes. They are packaged by type and size – the larger the needle size, the shorter and finer the needle. Use heavy needles on thick fabrics. Use finer needles on delicate fabrics.

Singer Assorted Hand Needles in Compact, 25-Count

You may easily be confused or overwhelmed by all different kinds of needles that are being sold in a store. I recommend buying a variety pack for beginners. It will include needle sizes for all your needs. Singer Assorted Hand Needles 25-Count is an example of a good variety pack.

Thimble

When you are sewing with thick fabrics, you do not want to hurt your fingers and shed blood over your beautiful fabric. A thimble protects your finger when pushing a needle through fabric. They are commonly made from metal, leather and rubber. The specific type of thimble is your own preference. The important thing is to make sure it fits your finger and it doesn’t fell off.  Clover Leather Coin Thimble is an example.

Clover 614C Leather Coin Thimble

Thread

There are different varieties of threads available. The two most commonly used embroidery threads are 6-strand embroidery threads and pearl cotton threads.

6- Strand Embroidery Thread

 Stranded embroidery cotton thread is sometimes being called “Embroidery Floss”. The thread consists of six single threads which you can separate easily. This is most commonly used in embroidery and there are wide range of colors available to choose from.

DMC Embroidery Floss Pack 8.7yd, Holiday Decor 30Pkg

You can choose to thread your needle with one thread or all six strands, depending on the project you are work on or the fabric you are using. The thicker the thread you used, the larger the holes in your fabric. If you use a thick thread on a very fine fabric, the thread will easily displace the fabric. Use one strand for fine and delicate fabric. DMC Embroidery Floss Pack is an example.

Pearl Cotton Thread

 This is a rope-like twisted thread. It comes in one single strand and is not dividable. There are different thicknesses available. The higher the number of the thread, the finer is the thread. For example, Pearl no. 3 is thicker than no.5. Pearl No.3 is about the thickness of whole six strands of embroidery thread. Pearl No.8 is about the same thickness as three strands of embroidery thread. LE PAON Pearl Cotton Balls 15 Colors are one type.

LE PAON Soft 1500Y 15 Pearl Balls Cardinal Size 8 Rainbow Colors

Pins

You will use a lot of pins once you start sewing! Although pins small, they do important jobs. They hold pattern pieces in place, secure trims, mark seam allowances and much more. I always use glass head pins – it will glide through most fabrics with ease.  They are very sharp and never rust. The best part is that the ball head is made of glass, not plastic. This is very important because you will come across with projects that require ironing with pins. The cheap plastic pin head will melt under the iron, while the glass head pins never will. Clover Quilting Pins are one brand.

Clover Q2509 Quilting Pins

Fabrics

For beginners, I suggest using fabric with a looser weave. These fabrics have lower thread count, which allows the needle to pull the thread through easily. I recommend beginners start projects with quilting fabric (cotton), middle weight linen or plain cotton muslin (or calico). Beginners should avoid using these fabrics - satin and other very smooth and shiny fabrics, stretchy fabrics, velvet, corduroy, fleece, gauze and very thin and transparent fabrics. Try Calico Quilting Squares 5”.

80x5inch Antique Calico Reproductions Charms Quilting Squares

These essential tools  for hand sewing can be paired with great ideas on how to organize your sewing space, check out 5 Great Sewing Room Ideas for Small Spaces.

Sewing Organization

5 Great Sewing Room Ideas For Small Spaces

Sewing Organization

I have 5 great sewing room Ideas for small spaces so you don’t become another statistic in the fight against clutter. An unofficial statistic says that the average American will spend one year of his/her life searching through desk clutter looking for misplaced objects.

When you look at your sewing corner have you ever felt powerless and don't know how to start organizing it? Here are five tips on organizing your sewing corner. Follow them and you will have a neat and convenient working area.

The first principle is to start with the classification of  small things – pins, needles. etcetera.

People typically put small pins, safety pins, needles and different color buttons into small boxes. All these different boxes then get put into a bigger box. Soon everything is being put into box after box after box. Before long, you cannot find the things you need until you open every single box, causing a bigger mess. To avoid this mess your items should be sorted, screened and identified in quantity and size. Put the same kind of things together and put similar items in the same storage device. 

sewing room ideas for small spaces

I love to use clear jars to store my sewing accessories. The jars I use are our own Pegboard Jars. These plastic jars have a patented hooking mechanism which fits both 1/8” or 3/16” hole pegboards. The jars are securely locked into the pegboard but can be easily moved if need be. These jars are plastic and do not break if dropped.  Because you can see what is in each jar you find the things you need immediately.

Pegboard Jars

Line Up Your Spools and Thread

Sewers use lots of thread and spools, and we have all many different colors of thread. I love to line my spools of thread up and hang them on a pegboard so that it is easy for me to choose the correct color. There are many different metal hangers in the market, but many of them fall off the board easily.

Look for a metal hook that matches your pegboard holes. If you have 1/4" diameter holes, don't use a hook designed for 1/8" holes. The 1/8" hook will fall out of the holes when you take something off. I use the Neiko Hooks in both the 4" and 6" version.  They don't have the metal ball or stopper on the end of the hook so you can remove your spools easily without the worry of the hooks falling out.

Sewing Room Ideas for Small Spaces 2

Where to Fit Everything?

Shelves and pegboards allow you to utilize vertical space. I love to put up all my jars to the pegboard.  The regular pegboards being sold at hardware store may be too large for a small sewing corner. The one that I am using now is a framed pegboard which is about 30”x23”. It is a very good size for the white wall at my work desk.

Pegboard Craft Caddy Organizer

Lazy Susan Pegboard Caddy

Store Things That Are Not Frequently Used

When you sort out your sewing corner, you may find hundreds of yards of fabric which you bought over the years. As a sewer, I use lots of muslin for my embroidery. I always have muslin at my sewing corner but store the rest of the fabrics which I had bought for other projects. Never stack up the rarely used fabrics at your working space. They will only  make clutter and take up extra space.

A Final Suggestion

Clean up your working space at the end of the day. By returning everything to its intended place, you won't have to deal with clutter when you start your next sewing project.