To join me on a virtual sketching trip, download a travel sketch-journal here.
I add tutorials to them so you can learn the techniques and details you see in the sketchbooks.

My former workshop students asked me to upload my workshop workbooks to make them available to everyone. So you can also download a workbook and give yourself a workshop! Enjoy!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

On Pegboards and Hooks

I've never been really fond of pegboard, but in terms of creating a base that will support just about anything, it is probably the most practical all-around foundation for the widest variety of uses.

Let's assume you are considering creating/designing/setting up your own pegboard booth, and I'll give you my thoughts about it in this and the next few blogs.

Pegboard is a thin masonite-type of board with holes punched through it on a one-inch grid. I've added a quick little sketch of a picture hung on pegboard with a pegboard hook, just to make sure we're on the same page here.

In former times, the holes were small, about 1/8", and hooks fit in firmly. But now they make them with a larger hole, about 1/4" in diameter. So if you plan to use old hooks from that can in the basement, you will find that they flop around in the hole a bit. In some cases, this won't matter, but you should be aware of the potential problem. I've seen large hooks that fit the holes, but they're not appropriate for most arty uses in a small booth (they're better for hanging up heavy tools). Smaller-wire hooks are still sold, and in the package are included ugly black plastic straps to hold them in place. The emphasis here is on UGLY. So avoid using them if possible (why don't they make them white, a much more common color for pegboard?).

The hooks cost between 20¢ and 25¢ each, and sell in packages of 8, so if you have lots of things to hang it can be a considerable outlay. Try to find old ones lying about in tin cans in a handyman's dusty workshop since most people at some point thought they'd get organized ~ then didn't. Those old hooks are still lying about. Also check garage sales.

I've been making some of my own hooks because a huge hook holding up a tiny picture looks ludicrous. Last night while watching TV, I busied myself with pliers and wire and created sixteen small wire hooks for the prints-in-sleeves I plan to hang. Here are some sketches of the wire and how to bend it. My first two or three were a bit clunky, but soon I improved my skills and they got nice and smooth. You can take advantage of my experiences here to make your own tidy little hooks.

The prints I want to hang are in sleeves about ¾" bigger than the print, so I'm going to use a paper punch to cut a tidy round hole exactly in the center of the sleeve edge (off-center will make the print hang crooked), so each can hang in its sleeve, ready to purchase. This should look a whole lot neater (and totally cheaper) than if I were to use the big ready-made hooks. And yes, I know the manufacturers make a lot of different hook shapes and sizes, including a smallish hook much like this one I've made, but I priced buying, say, 20 of these online. At 22¢ each, the price for 20 is $4.40. That's not too bad, but when you add in shipping, the price more than doubles, so it's not cost effective. Unless you're lucky, you won't live anywhere near a store that carries a selection (and has the particular ones you want!).

I also need to hang the book displays from the pegboard, showing an example of the book next to the art which illustrates it (I've painted all the boxes a light green using a flat water-based indoor paint). Hanging the boxes isn't hard if you think ahead.

I'll use the big hooks here since they'll be out of sight behind the book. The hook has to be able to punch through the display box, so use the hook itself to determine how far the hole should be from the edge. Punch the hole with an ice pick or some other sharp object that will give you a hole about the same size as the wire of the hook.

Then using a ruler to make sure you get the hooks the right distance apart to fit into the 1" grid on the board, punch the holes in the correct spots. The image at right shows one of the hooks inserted.

Here's what the book display looks like before and after the book is attached. You could use this technique for attaching any sort of container to a pegboard panel.

Attaching the labels is an interesting project, too. Since I like the looks of brass fasteners (and since they're reusable and hold things remarkably well), I use them to attach labels to anything I can punch them through. They work really well for attaching things to the lightweight foam board, too.

I posted instructions for making a box like this here. It's at the bottom of the blog entry.

More about labels, foam board, and brass fasteners next time.


Christine said...

Thanks for this! Can I ask what you do with business cards? At a show I hung at one person had the cutiest tiny basket hung from her section of board. I'd love to come up with my own sort to put next to my "mess"terpieces :D. Any suggestions? There are no tables so they must hang.

BTW, I am a big fan of yours, copying many a drawing out of your books for practice. I emailed you about Americas Horses and Ponies a few years back, the American Cream Draft nut :D. Perhaps you remember. If not, that is ok too. You probably hear from a lot of folks.

Irene said...

I've been mentally debating what to do about business cards for the last week. I think I'll talk about that in a future blog. There are a number of things to consider!

Yes, I do remember your query about the Cream Draft, since I don't get a lot of feedback on that book anymore (well, it WAS published more than 40 years ago!). Can't remember what you asked, though.....

BTW, don't, even for a moment, put your work down. "Mess"terpieces is really cute (I smiled) but it signals that you don't think your work is worthwhile. And if YOU don't think so, why should I? Talk it up, not down, kiddo!

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