Thomas Edison famously proclaimed, “Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” But that formula is easily reversed with the right studio set up to inspire you. Perhaps Mr. Edison simply lacked an awesome craft table.
The proper setup empowers you to work smarter, not harder. And that is especially vital when it comes to creating your next masterpiece. When inspiration strikes, there should be no barriers between you, your tools, and your vision. The perfect craft table becomes the ideal collaborator, ready when you are with everything you need to transform your idea into reality.
But what is the perfect craft table for you? With so many options available – and just as many types of art as there are artists — there are considerations and benefits you might not even have investigated. In this article, we’ll break down different types of tables, unique advantages to each, and what to look for to find your perfect craft table.
Choosing your ideal craft table may seem like a daunting task, but it helps to consider that it’s also an absolute privilege. I clearly remember the days of not having any space whatsoever in which to work.
As a young mother of three on a strict budget, I’d utilize whatever area I could commandeer for the moment: transforming the kitchen table to a pop-up workspace; spreading an old sheet on the carpet to paint on the floor; curing oil paintings on the surface of our washer and dryer. Working towards my first gallery show while nap-training a toddler, I had to be able to get in, make progress, and make it disappear… quickly and malleably.
Time went by, and everything upgraded: my boys slept through the night, household budgets increased, and we were able to purchase a larger house with a bonus room just for me. Now I had space for my own studio and the means to set up a dedicated working space. But I didn’t know where to begin.
What was a reasonable price point? How could I choose a quality piece built to last, but also one that I wouldn’t be anxious about damaging through the creative process? What is the right size, and what features should I be looking for? I knew it had to be something better than a kitchen table and more durable than a sheet-strewn carpet, but other than that, I had no clue.
When you take the first steps towards your ideal craft table, there are some fundamental questions to ask yourself.
Consider your purpose
The first thing to consider is its primary purpose. For multi-discipline artists, this can be a challenging deliberation. It’s best to choose a style of craft table that suits your dominant medium (and doesn’t interfere with your lesser disciplines).
Budget is usually foremost in any consideration. Fortunately, craft tables run the gamut in price point, with some incredible finds at the lower price range – and some luxurious options if you have the means to invest in your creative setup.
How much space do you have? While some people will have dedicated spaces, others will need the ability to pack it up and stow it away. Luckily, there are many styles of craft tables centered around portability.
What are your storage needs? Some disciplines of art require specific sizes of drawers and organizers to accommodate the tools of that medium.
For example, textile artists will want space for skeins of thread and the ability to view fabric swatches at a glance; while illustrators may need large, flat drawers to provide room for different types of art paper.
And one final but vital consideration: ease of assembly. While some units will come to you fully assembled, others can be akin to IKEA manual torture sessions. DIY enthusiasts may be up to the challenge. Still, for others who tend to be more intimidated than challenged by assembly instruction manuals (myself included), it pays to be honest with yourself about just how much energy you want to expend in assembly.
You don’t want to wear yourself thin before you wear yourself out on your craft.
A Trifecta of Tables
Generally speaking, there are three types of craft tables: sewing tables, drafting tables, and storage tables. Each has their benefits and drawbacks, but are designed around a pivotal functionality:
- support for a central machine (sewing table)
- large, flat workspace for visual arts (drafting table)
- and organization for tools and material (storage table)
Once you’ve determined the primary purpose for your craft table, it’s easier to find the ideal setup.
Characterized by their support for a central machine, sewing tables aren’t limited to textile artists. Digital artists — and others who design art from a computer — may find sewing tables to be the perfect supportive workspace.
Most sewing tables have a focal point where a machine is set, with additional workspace and storage. The majority of models are easily portable, with wheels or the ability to fold away.
Sewing tables should be sturdy, built to withstand even the rigors of freestyle quilting. Some of the best have large, flat spaces for planning, cutting, and assembly and the convenience of lowering the machine for your comfort.
St. Nicholas 38.5'' x 19.5'' Foldable Engineered Wood Sewing Table
The St. Nicholas Foldable Sewing Table is an excellent choice, especially for those on a budget. This beautiful table is entirely foldable and transforms to do double-duty as an elegant side table.
It features two adjustable interior shelves, provides bins to store your favorite items, and includes a working surface that is heat, stain, and scratch-resistant. It sits sturdily on a wheeled base as an added benefit.
Decor+ 35'' x 21'' Foldable Sewing Table with Sewing Machine Platform
This gorgeous sewing cabinet armoire has the storage and working space to support all of your most challenging projects and the versatility to hide the evidence. Folding completely away, this piece transforms into a New England-look cream armoire, belying nothing of the tools and materials tucked safely away inside.
The intelligent design of this unit includes a large pull-out shelf and a drop-leaf extension to extend your workspace. It even includes a center shelf with a power strip to drive all your most useful tools. This table might be out of reach to some at a higher price point, but its design and versatility make it worth the plunge.
Arrow Sewing Cabinets 81.5'' x 19.75'' Foldable Sewing Table
The Arrow Sewing Cabinet is another versatile table that can double seamlessly as an occasional table. Although it’s the highest-priced sewing table on this list, its extravagant features make it worth a look. The EZ-Lift airlift systems enable you to adjust your sewing machine into free arm, flatbed at any height, or storage position, empowering the textile artist to free-quilt at will
With snag-free hinges and generous leaf supports, your workspace is trebled. And it provides all the storage you could seek: bins, drawers, shelves, and hidden compartments! It even comes in 4 color options to complement your existing home aesthetic.
Topcraft 62.5'' x 20'' Foldable Sewing Table
This clever sewing table is mid-priced but full of features and excellent design choices. It folds out to include a generous desk, an extension leaf, and plenty of storage options. With five wheels, it’s simple to make it portable, but it’s locking castors and brake assure a steady workspace wherever you set up.
This sewing table may be a budget option, but it still ticks the marks for usability. In an efficient, practical style, this table has three hidden storage bins, a convenient utility shelf, and an adjustable board to expand the workspace.
It folds down and locks away to a thrifty 16-inch width, enabling it to be easily wheeled away and efficiently stored (making it ideal for small spaces). Priced at under one hundred dollars and available in two options, this budget sewing table is still a fantastic choice.
The Sew Ready Eclipse Hobby Sewing Center is a no-nonsense option that is affordable and durable. Its furniture legs keep it sturdy to support the most rigorous applications.
This sewing table features a drop-down platform to keep it comfortable (even if you pull an all-nighter). Its under-desk storage shelf and three metal drawers give you the required cache for your notions. It even has a drop-down leaf to extend your working tabletop.
What I love about the Wallaby II sewing table is the thought given to organization, particularly in support of textile artists. With three shelves dedicated to 33 spool holders, a built-in bin that’s perfect for fabric, a hidden ledge, and a door tray, it’s clear that everything you need would be easily within reach. What I don’t love about this sewing table is the price point. At almost $1,500, this piece clocks in at the luxury level.
Still, the Wallaby II features a three-position airlift that positions your machine where it’s wanted, and the cabinet’s clever L-design offers ample workspace. The ergonomic design of this userspace is ideal for free arm and flatbed sewing, enabling you to sew in comfort longer. It’s portable, with industrial casters, and coolest of all — it locks!
The affordably-priced Sew Ready Studio Designs Mobile features an extra-large work surface with a built-in measurement grid. Its open design is adjustable and includes both shelves and mesh drawers for notions and tools storage. Its wheeled base is readily mobile, and its side panels fold down, making it effortless to store. This craft table would be a winning combination for a multidisciplinary artist who wants the best of both sewing and drafting tables.
Drafting — or drawing — tables are dominated by a large, flat surface, perfect for creating visual arts. These tables tend to have less storage by way of drawers but offer way more workspace.
Traditional visual arts mediums tend to be messy, so great drafting tables should afford the room to get your hands dirty but the ability to clean up easily. Ideally, their foundations should be rigid and sturdy, with bonus points for offering some variable storage area.
Blick Studio Polaris Table by Studio Designs
The Blick Studio Polaris Table is surprisingly affordably priced. Comprised mainly of durable, powder-coated steel frame, this table includes rear stabilizers for rigidity and two swivel floor levelers for stability.
Its tempered glass top workspace tilts up to 40 degrees, and the modern, open design almost lends itself to inspiring creativity.
Studio Designs Graphix II Pro Line Table With Drawers
The coolest part about the Studio Designs Graphix II Pro Line Table With Drawers is its split top, perfect for multitasking: one side lays flat and is ideal for a machine or supplies, while the larger side tilts up to 30 degrees in support of visual arts.
The drawer size is suited towards paper supplies, and the robust and powder-coated metal frame sits on sturdy levelers: perfect when putting your aggression into your canvases.
The Yaheetech Adjustable Drafting Table with Stool is an incredible budget model — and did I mention it comes with its own stool?
A built-in tool holder, two different workspaces, height adjustment, storage: and all for around $100. It includes a tiltable tabletop and some storage opportunities, in a slick style, and… its own stool!
The Drawing Desk by Stand Up Desk Store offers simply a great working desk that makes it easy. It is easy to set up, easy to use, and easy to clean.
Its robust design makes it a stable support for your creations and includes a paper and utensil stop. The one drawback is that it lacks storage, but at this price point you could always pair it with a separate storage unit that fits your unique specs.
The IRONCK Multifunction Drafting Table is an awful lot of options and versatility for the affordable price tag.
The split working space offers a tiltable creative table and a stationary flat area, both f which are waterproof and scratch-resistant, very easy to clean. A very cool feature of this model is the variable storage options — including hooks!
17 Stories Doreen Desk
If you look for style with your substance, look no further than the Doreen Desk by 17 Stories. With an open design including multiple open shelves, this desk includes a central tiltable drawing worktop. Although no drawers are inherent, the shelves are easily co-opted for stylish storage by adding fabric baskets. The piece’s raw wood appearance tied with its black frame lends well to the modern industrial look.
Covarrubias Height Adjustable Drafting Table
The utilitarian charm of the Covarrubias Drafting Table may derive from its space-efficient, solid wood frame. Its adjustable height and tiltable (to 30 degrees) working space accommodate the most productive artists. It includes a wide, partitioned storage drawer for all your most essential implements.
Symple Stuff Vanleuven Split Level Workstation Drafting Table
The modern, minimalist design of the Symple Stuff Vanleuven Drafting table supports a multitude of applications and mediums. It sits sturdily on furniture legs, but has an open design that compliments most aesthetics. It is height adjustable and has a tiltable workspace, but lacks storage forethought. This model would be great for a home office/craft space hybrid, as long as you have other plans for your accoutrements.
Storage craft tables
Traditional craft tables are centered around providing ample storage to keep tools and resources close at hand for whenever the creative urge strikes. The best models will have a strong counter workspace, variable drawers, and adjustable shelves.
From there, look for features that will accommodate your lifestyle; some designs offer versions that effortlessly fold and roll away, while others are fixed furnishings meant to integrate into your home design.
Studio Designs Craft Station
The Studio Designs Craft Station is a great choice for getting organized on a budget. Feating a sturdy, large workspace — that tilts! — this craft table has the storage and compartments to support multi-discipline creation. The clever design even includes a slide-up pencil tray and a metal glue gun holder with a drip tray.
Cutting & Craft Table With Drawer Storage
This craft table is special because it’s designed and created by an independent artist. Built to last, its hand-crafted utilizing steel-powder coated bars, piano hinges, and a European drawer locking system.
Its leaves fold in and drop down to store away, measuring only 18″, and easily moved and stored, all on lockable caster wheels. Besides the awesome feeling of buying a solid piece direct from the artisan, this table also comes with a bonus of an included a cutting mat that covers the entire table surface.
The biggest strength of the South Shore Crea Craft Table is its interchangeable modular design, powering endless options. The adjustable configuration enables true personalization: you can sit or stand as you work, and adjust or remove the ample storage areas to suit your needs.
Drawers, shelves, baskets, and even the ability to hold spools are within easy reach. It even comes with its own set of storage baskets to start you off right.
Dotted Line™ Bambi 66'' x 32'' Craft Table
The Dotted Line Bambi Craft Table is a stylish combination of pretty much everything you’d want in a work station. As customizable as it is attractive, the desk and storage hutch combination has it all: a wire management grommet to easily charge devices while you work, a versatile peg board storage system, deep drawers that could hold a file system, and open and closed shelving. It even has a big workspace that allows you to really spread out and get into your art.
The SD Studio Designs Craft Table is a great budget option that features some of the best elements of a drafting table, but with lots of storage close at hand. Its frame is heavy steel construction that includes six floor levelers for stability.
With a large, tiltable workspace, under-desk storage, and an included stool, once you unpack this easy-to-assemble craft table you are pretty much good to go. Available in a myriad of color combinations, too!
Dotted Line™ Bambi 60'' x 30'' Craft Table
The unique “island” design of this craft table means you get 360 degrees of usability. There is a lot of versatility to work with here: opportunities for display, storage, drawers, and a large work area.
The drawers are ambidextrous and can be utilized from either side; they also function as trays! Drawers are removable and can function as a tray. Although the work surface doesn’t tilt, it is heat, stain, and scratch-resistant. And this piece is finished on all sides, which allows for truly versatile placement. The one drawback is there is no clear way to tuck your legs underneath as you saddle up for a work station, which could be uncomfortable for long periods of time.
As you can see, there are almost as many configurations to the craft table as there are crafts. Fortunately, this means that there is almost certainly the perfect table out there to be your steady project collaborator.
But on the other hand, it doesn’t make the process any easier. Don’t be afraid to jump in. So much of the creative process involves leaps of faith, and finding your perfect craft table might involve a similar act of trust.
Postscript. My choice, back when I first got my studio, was to pool my resources and purchase two models at lower price points: a drawing table and a sewing table. I remember how intimidated I was to mar the working surface of my fresh workspace from its pristine new state.
Now I take a strange pride in the layers of gesso and paint, accumulated like tips to solve an especially-involved mystery. I still use it today. My sewing table, on the other hand, only lasted a few years before I had to upgrade; when I started quilting on a larger scale, my low-budget model didn’t stand up to the rigors involved.
What does your art space look like? Share your personal craft tables and workspace in the comments section here or on Facebook.