Finding a space to work on your hobby is one of the bigger decisions you’ll make in the beginning. A lot of it will be dictated by what kind of room you have to fit a desk or work station.
I’ll also be giving you some insights on what goes on a typical crafting or hobby desk when it comes to painting miniatures. This way you can keep them in mind when picking out a desk or workspace.
After looking far and wide for a desk that is somehow better for Miniature Painting or crafting in some way than another style of desk… I came to the conclusion that the best set up for me is something simple. Clean, minimalist and flat. I then added items to it that fits my needs.
This is the desk I ended up buying and I love it: Modern Simple Style Desk
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For me, there was a whole lot of trial and error involved. To save you from going through all of that, I put together a comprehensive guidebook, The Miniature Painting Level Up Guide.
This guidebook covers it all:
- What you need and what you can do without (or make a DIY version).
- Tips to immediately improve.
- Fun toys and advanced gear.
- Where to find the best miniatures.
- Whom you should be watching for demos.
- How to quickly and easily move from beginner to pro.
It’s all in one easy-to-follow book packed with information I personally found to be useful. This guidebook will prove to be the only miniature painting reference book you’ll need.
- The Minimalist Miniature Painting Desk Set Up:
- Things to Consider for the Best Miniature Painting Desk or Hobby Work Station:
- What Do You Really Need In A Work Surface?
- Best Miniature Painting Desks
- Best Painting Stations
- What’s on my Miniature Painting Desk:
The Minimalist Miniature Painting Desk Set Up:
For my set up you need to figure out a few basics and then you can get going on picking components.
There are a lot of options, but narrowing down things like shape and size will get you most of the way towards a final decision.
Do I Want a Corner Desk or Standard Desk?
Corner Desks are very efficient if your space happens to be in a corner of the room. Smart huh?
If you like this style of desk and it fits your space, go for it. I personally like the big, wide, flat, straight type of desk.
Although as I type this I’m thinking that I could fit a big corner desk in my space. Hmm.
For the corner version this would be my pick: L Shape Desk With Hutch.
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You get the L Shape, and you can put your paints and miniatures up on that hutch. I really like that added feature on this desk.
Straight Desks have the advantage of being super versatile. A wide variety of sizes and looks, you’ll be able to find something that fits your available space, your aesthetic, and any budget.
The bigger consideration is if you want something plain and simple or something with built-in cabinets and drawers.
For me I don’t like feeling crowded in by under desk drawers. I like space to stretch out. So I got simple and effective:
Here’s a picture of my current setup (I’ve listed out my entire setup here):
Curious about what exactly I keep on my painting desk and why? I list all my favorite gear and accessories right here – what I use and what I personally recommend to do the best job.
Things to Consider for the Best Miniature Painting Desk or Hobby Work Station:
- Work Space – How much room to work do you need as compared to what space in the house or apartment is available.
- Lighting: Are you somewhere that is well lit or do you need extra lighting on the desk?
- Close to an Outlet: Will you need to plug in a desk lamp? Charge a phone or tablet? LED Magnifying lens?
Whether you craft for a hobby or you make a living from selling your creations, it is important that you have a space of your own for your crafting needs.
Sure, a card table or other makeshift space would work, but why not find the best tool for the job?
A spacious, clean work area for your craft can help organize your supplies so you are able to focus on having fun with your miniature painting!
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When you are trying to choose the best spot to paint your miniatures, there are several things you should consider before purchasing one.
How much space you have in your home for a crafting table, your budget, organization options, and lighting (here are my favorite hobby lights) are just a few of the things that should be taken into account when you purchase a crafting desk.
It may seem overwhelming at first when you are figuring out what you need for your crafting table. My recommended gear page will help you get ideas on what you need for your craft room.
Don’t forget that I have a bunch of miniature painting articles that address specific questions and provide helpful advice. You can find them all here.
What Do You Really Need In A Work Surface?
Everyone has different criteria about what is important to them in a desk or painting station, but there are several common factors that should be considered.
You should check to see how much room is available in your craft room to make sure you can fit the desk in your space.
If you need an electrical outlet close by, make sure the desk is close enough so you can plug in your hot glue gun, wood burning tools, or your hobby light.
As for workspace, just be sure you have enough for the essentials. Room to paint your mini, room for at least a hand full of paints that you’re using, a palette of some sort, a cup of water.
You don’t need your entire paint set right there necessarily.
On mine you’ll see I have a small rack on the top left (read this for my top paint rack recommendations), that’s plenty to choose from, and I have others off to the side.
If extra space for small items is an important consideration for you, try to find a crafting table that has cubbies or drawers built into it.
This way you will not need to rummage through boxes of supplies during a crafting session.
Lastly, having your desk out of direct sunlight is important. Not only will you eliminate glare and risk your product being of a lower quality, but your paints and other supplies will last longer.
The Best Lighting and Magnifying Lenses for your Space
Regardless of your type of craft or painting, it’s important to have great lighting at your desk.
Good lighting will help you see better when you are working on intricate details and will help you see the various shades of colors when you are painting something.
The last thing you want while painting is not to be able to find the correct shade of the paint since this will affect your entire project.
Besides using free, natural lighting, you may want to consider a magnifying lamp.
This will help you see the small details on whatever you are working on so you can do the best job possible on your project and you don’t need to rely on sunny days or a large window in your crafting room.
There are quite a few available, but the one I personally use is the BrightTech Lightview ProFlex magnifying lamp.
That’s the one in my desk picture, and here it is again.
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This high-quality magnifying lamp easily clamps onto a desk or work area so you can get great lighting for all your crafting needs.
A magnifying glass helps you see small details close up, while the neck of the lamp is adjustable so you can get the best angle possible.
Buying a magnifying glass and light such as this one will help make the difference between quality work and sloppy mistakes, as well as eliminating eye strain.
Should You Choose Portable, Stationary, or a Bit of Both?
When deciding on the perfect desk or painting station, you may want to consider if you need your work area to be portable or stationary.
A portable work station allows you the flexibility to create in different areas of the room, or even outside of your home.
This is particularly helpful when you are creating outdoors or need your desk closer to an outlet or your crafting supplies.
Stationary work stations also have great benefits as well, such as for larger areas of craft supplies or overlooking an outdoor area. These desks are also sturdier and will last a longer time.
There is also the option of choosing a desk that is a combination of stationary and portable.
While the main portion of the desk or work area may be stationary, other parts of the desk are portable.
This allows you to get the portability benefits of a movable work area and the organization benefits that come with a stationary desk.
How Much Storage Space Do You Need?
Another consideration when choosing a crafting table or painting station is storage options.
If you are like many people who love to make crafts, you probably have a great deal of crafting supplies that you need to have close by when you are making something.
Many of these are smaller supplies, such as beads, hot glue sticks, and markers, but they can be hard to organize.
Choosing a desk that has built-in storage cubbies may be beneficial to you to help keep organization in your crafting room.
Depending on your type of crafting, you might need shallow drawers for small items or larger spaces to store equipment such as sewing supplies.
Whichever you choose, make sure you take a look at the amount of crafting supplies you own and your current organization method for these supplies.
Best Miniature Painting Desks
While there are many crafting tables available that have great features and benefits, here are a few that are our top choices:
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- Looks awesome! Simple, clean lines make this table a great fit in any décor. The dark wood complements any style of home.
- Adjustable leg pads make this table sturdy on any surface, which is important when you are working on detailed craftwork. Regardless if you have tile, hardwood, or carpeted surfaces, this table will not shift when you are working.
- The wide desktop gives you ample space to spread your supplies out so they are close at hand. Paints, brushes, miniatures, water cups, palette, paper towels, magnifying glass, LED lamp and even spots to display your completed Miniatures!
- Price: I thought this was a great looking simple desk for the money.
- Size: Will it fit your room? The larger size of this desk takes up a fair bit of room that you may not have. You would need to make sure you have a large space available for this table to eliminate being cramped.
- The desk is constructed of laminated MDF, which is less durable than real wood surfaces. While it is easy to clean and resists stains, it may not last as long as a crafting table made from real wood.
- This crafting table does not have drawers or other storage options. With only the top of the desk as a work surface, valuable space is wasted underneath the desk. You could still have other storage areas nearby, but they would not be built into the desk.
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- The table top is heat, stain, and scratch-resistant, making it an ideal crafting surface.
- There’s ampil storage space in the 3 drawers and 6 open shelf cubbies.
- The 3 drawers are removable and can also function as organizing trays.
- People love how much room and versitilty this table provides.
- Unlike others, this table is not as mobile since it’s not on casters or wheels.
- Assembly is required.
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- This crafting table has ample storage with doors to hide the craft supplies when you are not using them.
- Constructed of engineered cherry wood, this crafting table is sturdy and will last many years. This is a great benefit to consider when you are making the financial investment of buying the crafting table.
- Casters on the bottom make this desk easy to move to different areas within your crafting space. Instead of being confined to having the table in one place forever, you can choose to rearrange your space easily. This could also be helpful if you need to move it closer to an outlet or lighting source.
- The casters do not lock, so the desk may not be as sturdy as some. You can improve this by purchasing different casters from a hardware store that have a locking mechanism, however, this is an extra step you will need to do with this purchase.
- The spacing inside the shelving is appropriate for many things, but may not fit larger items. Just be aware if you buy this desk, you may still need to find a storage cubby for larger craft supplies.
- This table is smaller than others, so taller people may feel a little crowded when they are sitting down.
Best Painting Stations
Painting stations are a must to have when you paint, as they allow you the versatility of a specific painting surface and the convenience of storage.
Here are a couple of our top choices for painting stations.
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- This is a portable painting station, so you can easily move it to wherever you are painting at the time. Whether it is outside with natural lighting or in front of a bay window in the winter months, the portability of this desk makes it a top choice for painting stations.
- The MDF storage area is the perfect size for safely storing your entire collection of paints close by. You won’t need to rummage through boxes of paint or worry about tipping over bottles on the desk surface with this desk.
- Assembly is required, but there are few parts and it is easy to put together quickly. This is a product that can be assembled with little stress even if you do not put together furniture on a regular basis.
- The painting station is unfinished MDF, making it more prone to stains and warping from water spills. To combat this, make sure you seal it with a clear coat before you start using it.
- The painting station itself is very small. This is best for painting small miniatures instead of larger projects.
- When assembling, you will need wood glue and this is not included in the package. This is an additional cost, and you will need to have it before you start assembling the desk so the process goes smoothly.
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- Space Saving Design fits perfectly in the corner of a desk or other work area, allowing you plenty of room for other crafting supplies on your table.
- Larger slots for thinner and big bottles of paint make this a great all-purpose paint stand.
- Holds up to 28 bottles of paint so you always have your favorite colors nearby. You won’t need to worry about getting up and grabbing a different color; you can just reach out and grab the color you need easily.
- This painting station is smaller and does not come with a painting surface attached to it. You would need a separate desk or work space for this painting station.
- The openings for the paints are smaller and may not fit the specific brand of paint that you use for your painting needs. Make sure you check the measurements of your paint before you purchase this painting station.
- This painting station is not water –proof, so you will need to seal it with a clear coat before you begin using it for your paintings.
While there are many options to choose from for painting and crafting desks, some have more benefits than others.
The crafting table of my choice is the Sauder Craft Pro Series Work Table. This table boasts quality construction along with ample storage for all of your craft supplies.
You can organize your supplies in this desk so they are easy to find whenever you need them.
The best painting station we have found is the Vallejo Painting Station. This painting station is ideal because of the portable painting stand that comes included with the paint storage area.
With plenty of slots to hold all of your paints, everything is right where you need it when you are in the middle of painting intricate miniatures.
This painting station is smaller, but that is ideal when you have less space for crafting or want to take your crafts to a different location.
Choosing a painting or crafting desk can be a daunting task, but it can be easily done if you decide what is important to you in a work space.
Portability, lighting, and storage are just a few aspects to consider before purchasing an addition to your craft room.
Take these factors into consideration the next time you need a crafting or painting table, and you are sure to be able to make an educated decision on the best crafting table for your needs.
OK! So the desk in that image above is what I’m using right now. It’s got everything I need on it and plenty of room to work.
I used some old cups lying around the house to hold water, some empty jars to hold paint brushes. The rest I’ll go ahead and list for you here:
- Desk: Tribesigns Modern Simple Style Desk
- Lamp: TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp
- Magnifying Lens: Brightech LightView Pro Flex 2-in-1 Magnifying Glass LED Lamp
- Paint Rack: JACKCUBE Design Army Kits Acrylic Paint Wood Stand Organizer
- Wet Palette: (the orange box) Redgrass Everlasting Wet Palette
- Great Music: Alexa Echo for Amazon
- iPad: The iPad is great for watching a podcast while painting! iPad Case (the blue book looking thing)
Be sure to pick up your copy of The Miniature Painting Level Up Guide today. If you’re just getting started or are wanting to hone your skills to begin painting like a pro, this is the way to go.
Everything you need, all in one place!