Printer’s Trays as Wall Storage

May 19, 2011

I recently picked up a type case at a flea market for only a few dollars. Covered in spider webs and chipped up, it’s a bit rough-looking to say the least but that’s the way cheap finds usually work.

Originally, this tray and ones like it would have housed the various letters and symbols a printer would need to load into a printing press to create a newspaper, book or poster. The slots are varied sizes reflecting the space different letters would have taken up. There are still places where old-fashioned methods of printing like these are used, but for the most part, type cases are much more readily found being used as display cases or serving other decorative functions.

Image from Librarienne's Flickr Feed

As for my own type case, I haven’t quite decided how I’m going to use it. Right now it’s home to some small tchotchkes but little else. I’m hoping I’ll get inspired by some of these other cases to make mine into something special, but at the moment I think I like it just as it is.

  1. Boxwood Cottage: This is one massive tray! It does provide a great home for all kinds of small items that might otherwise end up in a drawer.
  2. The Design Tabloid: This ReCreate design is pretty cool. I would never have thought to make the tray into a storage cabinet. There are so many different ways this could be used around the house.
  3. Dolorix: My old rock collection is gathering dust in the closet. Perhaps it could get a new life on the wall with the help of a tray like this one?
  4. BluebirdHeaven: With a few adaptations, this Etsy seller made this tray into an awesome storage solution for jewelry.
  5. Hilde C.: Ah, to have a sewing room. I can see how this would be a great place to store small stuff so it’s right out where you can see it.
  6. Jill Ruth: Another cute way to use a tray in a sewing room.
  7. Mondo Cherry: This printer’s tray has a fun use: storing Legos! Totally cute.
  8. Please Note: I would love to own half the cute stuff being displayed in this tray.
  9. ReCreate: While most trays seem to be filled with random items, this project demonstrates that they’re great for showcasing a unified collection as well.
  10. Rosenatti: A nice piece of glass could turn this coffee table into something special.
  11. Vintiquities: I have to say, the trays look great painted white. A contrasting color on the back would also be a great addition.

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  • Reply The Design Tabloid May 20, 2011 at 1:17 am

    Wow, nice selection. I would love to get my hands on one of those – but here in South Africa they’re as scarce as unicorns. So now I just troll flea markets and antique stores hoping to find a printer’s tray in a relatively good condition. Sigh…the search continues.

  • Reply Rachel L June 9, 2011 at 9:20 am

    I’ve been wanting a printer’s tray for awhile now, but haven’t found any. Any suggestions on where to look?

    • Reply Christina Laun June 9, 2011 at 10:42 pm

      I found mine at the Third Sunday Market in Bloomington (it’s like a giant flea/antique market they have during the summer/fall). Online they were crazy expensive but mine was like $5. I would say look at thrift stores and stuff!

      • Reply Rachel L June 10, 2011 at 11:33 am

        Do you have any favorite thrift stores in our neck of the woods?

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