When I moved in to my studio a little over three years ago, I needed a place to hang, store, and use my rolls of seamless paper. I didn’t have many — just a few nine-foot rolls of white, gray, black, and green — but I wanted them out of my way. Storing them vertically wasn’t a good option in the space, and storing them laying down is never a good idea. So, I wanted to figure out a simple system that I could build that would do the trick. Here’s what I came up with.
It’s a simple system, really, and it doesn’t take much time or tools or money.
What you’ll need:
- 1 2x4x10”-ish piece of lumber
- Some sort of attachment hardware to attach the wood to your walls (Screws, bolts, etc.)
- Bike storage hooks
- Some sort of long metal poles
- Paint, if you want to make it pretty
- Drill with appropriate bits
- Measuring tape
- Paintbrush, etc.
- Safety goggles (safety first!)
It’s a Straightforward Assembly Process:
1. Cut the 2x4” piece of wood into two sections of whatever length you want, making sure the two pieces are equal in length. Mine are about five feet long. Paint them, if you want. Might as well make it pretty.
2. Attach the wood sections to the wall you want to hang your paper rolls on. They should be vertical (use the level!) and spaced far enough apart so that the paper fits in between them. Not so close together so that the rolls don’t fit, but close enough that the metal bars you’ll be hanging them on will span the distance with a few inches on each side.
How you attach them to the wall will depend on what kind of walls you have. My studio walls are old, old, crumbly concrete. I had to drill holes in the wood and then into the concrete and use some large toggle-type bolts that expand when you screw them in so they would expand into the concrete. You might be fine with multiple long wood screws if you’re screwing the system into a wall stud. This is the hardest part of the whole process, and your mileage may vary.
3. Figure out how many rolls of paper you want to hang, and buy that many bike storage hooks… times two. You’ll put one hook on each piece of wood to support each bar. I can hang five rolls of paper on my system with ten hooks.
Measure twice, and drill once. Figure out how far apart you want the rolls (I recommend them to be about a foot apart), pre-drill the holes with a drill bit slightly smaller than the hook’s threads, and then put the hooks in. You want to make sure the hooks are spaced appropriately so that when the bars are sitting on them, the bars are level.
If you want to get fancy, you can put a large hook in the top spot to store more rolls side-by-side.
4. That’s it. Put your paper rolls on the metal bars, and then put the bars on the hooks. Hopefully, you left enough room so that the bars stick out just enough past the hooks so that you can use a clamp to attach the rolls to the hooks so they don’t move when you unroll them.
(Please excuse the messy studio)
It’s not a perfect system, but it works for what I need at the moment. I can store the rolls on the wall and use them quickly when I need to. I can move the rolls up or down a hook quickly to adjust for whatever height I need them at. I don’t have to mess with backdrop stands, and didn’t pay over $1000 for a roller system. A couple of hours and a trip to the hardware store should do the trick. Yes, storing them hanging on a rod/stand is less than ideal compared to storing them vertically, but that’s not always an option — and this is better than having them laying on the ground. You could also use this system to store other types of backdrops if you were so inclined.
Do you have any DIY tips for building things in your studio? Let me know!