DIY Rustic Table Top Art Print Display Browser

I needed a way to display my unframed prints at fairs and shows and also in gift shops where my work is stocked. I searched online for table top print browsers and retail display solutions and looked into old apple crates and custom made wooden boxes but nothing was right …or it cost more than I was willing to pay!

I wanted a rustic style box that was not too deep (so the prints would stay fairly vertical) and that was low at the front (so as not to obscure the prints) and higher at the back (to support the prints from behind) … and the right size for my prints… so quite specific requirements then! I decided my only cost effective option was to make them myself.

Here’s how they turned out…

DIY Rustic wood print browser for art

If you’d like to find out how I made them, read on! I’m a not a skilled woodworker and it took me a day to make 5 browsers.

Here’s the tools I used:

A hand saw, tape measure, pencil, set square and drill (with 3mm drill bit for pilot holes and screwdriver head) plus various wood screws… sizes 3.5 and 4 and 30mm/40mm long.. and some rough sandpaper and sanding block or an electric sander.

Here’s what I did:

I visited my local wood recycling yard where for the princely sum of £12 I picked up some lengths of pallet wood – about 16mm thick and 100mm wide and some 20 x 44mm battens. They were nice and rustic looking!

The internal dimensions of my table top browser are 500mm wide by 250mm deep so for each box I cut the following lengths of wood:

3 x 500mm: 1 front and 2 back lengths

2 x 250mm: 2 sides on the bottom layer

2 x 266mm: 2 sides on the top layer

5 x 282mm: slats for the bottom

4 x 250mm lengths from the 20 x 44mm batten for the uprights


First off I screwed together 2 x 500mm lengths and 2 x 250mm sides to make the base frame. I drilled pilot holes first to reduce stress on the wood and reduce the risk of it splitting.



An extra pair of hands is useful to hold the pieces together but not essential. Next I screwed the slats onto the bottom. Again I drilled pilot holes in the slats before screwing them in.


Then I  screwed together the three sides for the back and sides of the top layer … I used the remaining 500mm length and the 2x 266mm sides… it was a bit wonky but so long as it’s roughly square it doesn’t matter once it’s screwed into place.


Next I attached the uprights to the box. I placed each one in position and marked with a pencil where to drill the pilot holes… making sure I avoided the other screws that are holding the frame together. I then drilled the pilot holes and screwed the uprights in place with 2 screws per upright into the bottom frame.



Now turning the box on a short side, I inserted the 3 sided top layer that I made earlier. It didnt sit very square but this was rectified as it was screwed together. I put one screw in… no pilot holes this time… drilling through the frame and into the batten upright. Then I turned the box onto the other short side and holding the top layer into place, put another screw through the frame and into the batten.

I put 4 screws in each end – 2 into each batten – as shown below.



Now all that was left was to add my logo. I thought the best way to do this would be by stencilling. I had some Mylar (thin plastic used to make stencils) but cutting out the small font and the Dog was very hard, especially as my Mylar was probably a bit on the thick side.

I looked online and found plenty of places who would laser cut any design into a stencil for you but it was Friday afternoon and I didn’t want to wait (or spend the money) so being a printmaker I decided to cut my logo into a scrap piece of lino and use that to apply it to the boxes.



It worked pretty well though it needed a bit of touching up with a small brush in places where the wood was too rustic!

Hope you like the idea… I’d love to see your solutions to displaying prints at fairs too.



Custom Pewter Kitchen Cabinet Knobs

I have finally finished my kitchen. It was a long slog of sanding and painting but I am very happy with the result.

hand painted painted kitchen

The worst bit was re-aataching the cupboard doors after they had been painted. Suffice to say that I never want to see another kitchen cabinet hinge again! Whilst witnessing my sighs and mutterings (as I tried to get all the doors straight by adjusting one of three mysterious screws in each hinge) my husband helpfully suggested we ‘get a man in’. He is, of course a man himself, but although he has many talents, adjusting kitchen cabinet hinges isn’t one of them! I had got this far without ‘getting a man in’ and I wasn’t about to give up at the last hurdle.

farrow and ball painted kitchen

The cabinets were refinished in Farrow & Ball’s Bone – a lovely restful colour that is neither grey nor green.

I created some custom pewter knobs for the cupboard doors – each with a tiny pen & ink drawing, in the style of a victorian engraving, of animals, curios and household bits and pieces.

custom kitchen door knobs

Here are the whole set – all 21 of them!

bespoke pewter door pulspewter kitchen door knobcustom door pulls

If you are interested in finding out more about how I made them… read on!

pewter cupboard knob

I started with some customisable pewter knobs from The Crafty Store on Etsy. They have a flat recessed face that will accept a 25mm circular paper insert. This was covered with a glass cabochons (25mm domed discs of glass) which fit over the top of the paper insert to protect, and magnify, it.

mod podge

I also needed a 25mm circular punch, some of the wonderfully named Mod Podge (to seal the drawings) and Diamond Glaze (to glue it all together)

I drew the little pictures onto circles cut from wallpaper samples using my Rotring technical pens.

wallpaper samples

Here are some of them (I didnt use the letters in the end)!

pen and ink drawings

Each paper disc then had to be sealed with several coats of Mod Podge to prevent the colours from running or reacting with the metal. The inside of the pewter knobs were also sealed as sometimes the metal can cause discolouration. I then glued each paper disc to the flat side of the glass cabochon using a drop of Diamond Glaze. When it was dry the glass cabochon with the paper disc attached was glued into the pewter knob.

I had a lot of fun experimenting with different inserts…

custom cabinet knob ideas

I love some of the simple graphics – numbers and letters and the maps… but for my kitchen project I stuck with the pen & ink drawings as they complimented the look I was after.

set of custom pewter knobs

Time consuming but lots of fun!

So it is done at last and the tools are back where they belong – in the garage!

Now back to some printmaking!

Coat Hook Project

In a slight departure from printing brought on by a need to source some original and unique coat hooks for my hallway (unsuccessfully) I decided to make my own. I love the vintage industrial look that is popular at the moment and while I was searching online I was inspired by these ‘yardstick’ coat hooks (sadly no longer for sale by Keeping It Coastal on Etsy).

So I thought I’d try to find some interesting old yardsticks of my own, here in England, but with no luck. That’s the rub with vintage – you need to be forever hunting and gathering at fairs and car boot sales/yard sales – and you need patience to wait for the right thing to show up. But I wanted my coat hooks NOW, so I made my own – inspired by the yardstick coat rack – but simpler – more like a surveyor’s staff or a water depth measure – and here they are!


I started with a plain piece of brand new pine from the DIY store… if you’d like to know how I made the coat racks, read on…

First I darkened the new pine with a mix of raw umber pigment, PVA glue and water, so when I distress the paint later, the wood that shows through looks old.

Then I made a template for the ‘rulers’ on the computer using Adobe Illustrator and printed them out to match the size of the wood (by gluing several together).

Then I used the templates to mark up the wood and painted on the red and off-white stripes, using masking tape to get a good straight line.

Herre you can see the masking tape in place to paint the marks. I painted the numbers by hand after transferring the outlines to the wood from the template. I use Plaka Casein paints and signwriting brushes.

After the painting was finished I distressed them lightly with fine sandpaper and gave them a good coat of beeswax, which I polished up to a shine. I sourced the coat pegs online… they are nice reproduction ones with a dull black waxed finish, anything too shiny would look out of place. I drilled holes to attach them to the wall underneath the pegs so that the screws would be hidden.

The next part of the project is some shoe racks… I will post pics of these when they are done.