Stackable storage for large pieces of paper?
May 2, 2007 12:45 PM   Subscribe

Storage solutions for large sheets of paper (laid flat)?

My girlfriend makes her own books, journals, etc, and has a ton of nice paper that she uses for the book covers. She currently uses a ladder/rack to hang the sheets of paper, but they invariably cause a bit of curving in the middle.

On average, the size of the sheets of paper she has are about 19 inches by 27 inches.

She's looked into flat files and stacking trays, but those all seem prohibitively expensive.

Suggestions on other types of similar storage devices? Right now, going to Home Depot and building our own shelves seems to be the most viable and cost-effective solution I can think of.
posted by avoision to Shopping (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What about using string and clothespins, like this?
posted by muddgirl at 12:53 PM on May 2, 2007

Yeah...flat files are stupid-expensive. I lucked into a group buy ages ago for mine.
The paper she's using isn't all that large. If you are handy, you might be right about building your own stacking tray.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:56 PM on May 2, 2007

Man - the prices on those are pretty ridiculous. And why? Its just a regular cabinet with shorter drawers... anyway. Did you try ebay? Or Craigslist? I think your best bet is to go to Home Depot and get creative.
posted by unformatt at 12:58 PM on May 2, 2007

Man - the prices on those are pretty ridiculous. And why? Its just a regular cabinet with shorter drawers...
Most art supplies are generally priced like they're made from unobtanium. That's why I built my own 8-foot easel.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:03 PM on May 2, 2007

Man - the prices on those are pretty ridiculous. And why? Its just a regular cabinet with shorter drawers

They're shorter, but they're also MUCH wider and MUCH deeper, and you get more drawers per whatever unit of height. So, there's more moving parts per unit, and the drawers have to be able to span the 3'+ of the cabinet while supporting about a ream's worth of paper over their whole surface. But, yes, they're stupid expensive.

At a lot of architectural offices, they'll get around this by just building flat shelves. My old office had a bunch that were made out of MDF and were basically just a box with a bunch of shelves separated by about 3 inches. With ours, the sides of the shelves were let in to the sides of the box with a dado cut, which would require a router or a table saw to accomplish. Alternatively, you could just build a box, and sort of stack up pieces on the sides to support and space out the shelves between them. Imagine dorm-room style cinder block shelving, but made out of wood, with a lot less space between the shelves; and then put a box around it. Presto! Flat files.
posted by LionIndex at 1:10 PM on May 2, 2007

Not sure what your price range or dimensional requirements are, but I got this flat file from Ikea. Does the job. Nothing fancy. Not as cheap as the plywood-and-bricks method.
posted by adamrice at 1:11 PM on May 2, 2007

You could also check around at architecture/engineering/landscape/etc. firms to see if they have any old stuff they want to get rid of.
posted by LionIndex at 1:12 PM on May 2, 2007

If she has reams and reams of paper, this solution will not work. But...

I clamp a thick stack of paper with two or three big bulldog clips along one edge, then hang the clips on nails on the walls. To protect the top sheet from fading and dust, she can dedicate one sheet to serve as the flyleaf, as it were. If the light is strong in her workroom, the edges will still get sun-damaged, sad to say.

I prefer the bulldog clamps to other styles, because they leave a lighter impression (sometimes no impression) on the paper.

As for the already-creased paper, I've had some success using a warm iron (no steam!) to remove creases from nice paper.
posted by Elsa at 1:24 PM on May 2, 2007

i keep paper like this under my bed, laying flat in a large portfolio.
posted by apostrophe at 2:01 PM on May 2, 2007

Personally, I keep my paper rolled up in tubes from the container store, but that leaves the papers all curvy and annoying. Since she already knows how to make books and such, she could adapt the technique to build custom boxes to store the flat paper in, as in this.
posted by logic vs love at 2:24 PM on May 2, 2007

I really like Elsa's wall solution - with the added suggestion of getting a little foam to put in between the bulldog clips and the paper so that you odn't get the crease. I also second the large portfolio idea that apostrophe mentioned.

I used to have some under the bed boxes (something like this only in white particle board. The example I found isn't quite big enough, but it's a start, and having wheels and a handle makes it handy as well. Try also using 'under bed boxes/storage' as a search term. Good luck, and let us know what else you find.
posted by rmm at 3:25 PM on May 2, 2007

Call architecture firms and government offices, a lot have taken most of their blueprints/maps/etc. digital and would love to give away the (heavy and expensive to get rid of) flat files.

Alternatively, I built mine like this:

I built this as a drying rack (for drying wet screen prints) because real drying racks are extremely expensive. The shelves are masonite sheets that slide into slots in the sideboards. This came out to $50 and took about an hour or so to make. Now, I use it to store a lot of reams of printing paper, handmade paper, etc. and it works great. I'm sure you could build it a little nicer than I did if it's going in your home though, and scale it to however many shelves you need.
posted by bradbane at 4:07 PM on May 2, 2007

I use the top, shallow, drawer in an old dresser that's been in the family for years. Try your local thrift shop.
posted by Scram at 8:40 PM on May 2, 2007

I clamp a thick stack of paper with two or three big bulldog clips along one edge, then hang the clips on nails on the walls.

Ditto but, I put a layer of kraft paper over the good paper to protect the surface.
posted by squeak at 12:26 AM on May 3, 2007

She can buy large budget portfolio cases which are great for storing paper or large art. She could even make her own out of corrugated refrigerator cartons and duct tape. Thicker corrugated board can be had if there is still a problem with curving of large cardboard. Once the paper is in a portfolio, it can be stored upright to save space.
posted by JJ86 at 6:12 AM on May 3, 2007

Large sheets of foamcore or even cardboard with butcher-paper protectors. Place under bed or suitable location. Can be clipped together and hung upright.
posted by joeclark at 1:58 PM on May 3, 2007

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