garage studios

Just thought I’d see who out there is working in a garage studio and what you have done with your studio (layout, flooring, lighting, insulation, etc.).

I’m just about to build out my studio and it would be great to see what others have done!



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It would be extremely useful to know in what part of the country you would like to do this in. Weather has a whole lot to do with the equation. There is a vast difference as to what is needed between the frozen winters of New England and the scorching summers of Arizona, or the suppressing humidity of midwest and southern summers.

The responses in regard to heating and insulation would be more useful if they were matched up with your climate.

My shop is in my basement in the midwest and I usually have three dehumidifers going around the clock down there in the summer.

Thanks, Foolproof546. I am in Denver, Colorado - high altitude, low humidity.

my shop is in a 4 car garage, well insulated with 6” of cement on the floor, lights are 8’ but if i had to do it again they would be 4’ers, the cement is hard on your feet, if you drop type or mag. cuts they could be damaged by the cement, so i have rubber mats where i set type and at each press. i’m in new england near the coean, winters are cold and summers are very humid, have a gas furnace to keep shop kinda warm, and a wood\coal stove i run during the day in the winter, a air conditioner about 18,000 btus keeps out the humidity, without air conditioning in the hottest part of the summer you can open a ream of paper and watch it curl up so it won’t run on a press. been full time here since 1999, my garage isn’t attached to my house so i have to walk to work [about 50 feet] not too bad but the walk home is tough. dick g.

Hi Joshua,
My shop is new and still in progress in central CT. I have one stall of a two car garage. I kicked one of my beloved Saab’s outside. Sigh. I built a wall with a door separating the two halves. Insulated ceiling and walls. Wired many 110volt circuits and one 220volt. Installed inexpensive 12” ceiling tile and four 4’ flourescent fixtures. I plan a vinyl tile floor with rubber mats at presses. I have a portable dehumidifier, a window a/c unit, and electric ceiling mounted heater. I am fortunate to have three windows that add light. I am going to somehow insulate the garage door before this winter. I have a Ludlow and two mat cabinets on the new partition to one side of the door and a refridgerator then kitchen base cabinet and Improved Pearl on the other side of the door. The opposite exterior wall has a bench with a small metal lathe, then a perforator, then a type cabinet with hand press on top, then another bench with cutter and a hot foil press and a radio for entertainment, and finally my big Golding Jobber. The back wall is another base cabinet with paper storage. Everything fit pretty good until I purchase another Jobber today! I want a larger cutter as well, so it’s not looking good for the other car. Just kidding. Many of the decisions are based on where you live, your available space, what equipment you intend on having, and how much time you will be spending in it. I personally want to live in mine, so I even have framed pictures on the walls. Good luck and have fun.

Pictures page on my web site has recent pics of 14x40 main floor of shop. More pics including 2nd floor to added later.100 amp 3 phase service, wireless internet interior white painted aspenite and insulation.

Hi Joshua,

My ‘studio-ette’ is a corner of a single garage in the UK. I have enough space for a desktop Adana Eight-Five, a book press, and metal cabinet of type. The floor area claimed (so far !) is approx 8ft by 6ft !

Is this the worlds smallest press studio ?

Unfortunately, I am currently battling with four push-bikes, a cross-trainer and a table tennis table ! I need to gather reinforcements - like a Vandercook SP15 !


I love small shops! My first letterpress prints were accomplished in a “shop” that consisted of a small foot-locker at the foot of my bed. The top served as my working surface, and inside was a Kelsey 5x8, type, ink, paper, paper cutter, bookbinding supplies, and a whole host of other things.

It was tiny, but I was able to print a lot of things….

When I was located in Northern Indiana, I had quite a sustantial shop. The garage was not attached, made of brick and not insulated. I had ten cabinets of type, a Universal 1 Vandercook, a Dodson 10” x 15”, a small handpress, two stand routers, a saw, a Ludlow and 2 cabinets, a flat file for paper storage and a very large wire drying rack. I learned a very valuable lesson, in that type cabinets placed against an outside wall will get condensation from the cold wall meeting the warm air from the heater. I literally had water running down the back of any cabinet placed against the wall. I had to give up operating in the shop by December as I no longer could heat the building adequately, and could not return to work in it until April.

Now that I am in central coastal California my enemy is the salty sea air. I try to keep the shop closed up tight, and since the garage is attached to the house the heating is minimal.

I wanted to resurrect this thread and maybe get additional input. We just bought a new house and there’s a room in the basement that was going to be my letterpress shop. However, I am torn now whether or not to have it as a playroom for my son.

We also have an oversized, two car garage underneath the house. There is substantial room in there for the shop as well. The other factor is my printing time has been dramatically decreased since the birth of my son (well worth the trade) so I don’t print as much as I use to.

I was wondering if anyone else has a shop in part of their garage where cars are parked. My biggest concern is humidity from wet/snow covered cars in the winter. I have pretty decent collection of rare lead and wood type that I don’t want to see ruined. I currently have one dehumidifier but wondering if that would be enough. Oh, I live in Pittsburgh, PA. The summer humidity is pretty high as well.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

I doubt if the dehumidifier for the whole garage would cut it, but you might rig a black or clear poly curtain to close off the portion adjacent to the cars for the printing equipment, fixing it so you can pull the curtain aside to make space for printing, and put the dehumidifier inside that closed-off area, where it would have a chance at keeping things drier. You could also rig a heater in there to keep the equipment more comfy, unless the whole garage is heated.


Kick the cars out of the garage and replace them with presses. Problem solved. ;-)

Yes I have a studio space built into the back corner area of a 2-car garage (plywood meeting existing garage walls). There is enough room for the smaller of our two cars to just fit in front of it. The bigger car takes the other space. I live in California, Pacific Northwest so there is alot of rain/humidity. The doors to the space are large accordian fold so the whole front wall opens up. I have the central heat from the house piped in there, but don’t usually need it. It’s never really cold here so we didn’t put in insulation— if I had it to do over again, I’d go ahead and put in the insulation. I have one dehumidifier, and when the cars are wet it ramps up as best as it can but until they dry off it can’t really keep the studio as dry as I’d like. I’m going to also start using a fan this winter to see if that will help. There is a little space above and below the accordian doors. It would be better to have the space airtight if you can.

Thanks all. Seems like I would need to build out some walls to keep the humidity in check.

HavenPress, when I go to sell this house the listing will say “Great studio space with house attached!”

Sylvia, thanks that is helpful, do you have a picture by any chance? Also what’s the dimensions of your shop? When I measured our garage it was 26.5’ x 22.5’. My Corolla is about 16’ but I’m guessing I will need 19’ to give enough space to fit. So I’m thinking maybe a 7.5’ x 11’ shop would work?


Another concern with sharing space with cars is road salt - I’ve read of a number of cases among vintage machinery collectors where the salt that clings to a car in the winter is enough make the garage atmosphere noticeably more corrosive to bare metal surfaces. If there’s any way you can partition your car space off from your printing space, do it.

Any space will work, you just need to be more efficient! I found the best way to plan my space was to do it the old fashioned way with graph paper and cutouts of the things I needed to fit.

Can you kick one vehicle out of the garage?

Keelan, good point, I didn’t think of that. I can kick my car out if I need to. For the last 8 years my one car garage has been a press repair shop anyways.

I currently have 3 presses and 3 cabinets but I’ve been toying with the idea of selling the 3 and acquiring a Vandercook.

Either way I can just mock something up in illustrator to see what kinda space I need.

The space is approx. 12 x 12, although it isn’t perfectly square. I have a Windmill in there, and there’s enough room for the press and a work table (and me). I also have a Vandercook in the house, in a room that is just 2 steps up from the garage. That room is large and I store most paper and supplies there. The garage room is kind of an extension to the larger workroom. However, I find that the space is very adequate for the one press, and I don’t feel crowded printing in there. I can take and send you some photos tomorrow.

Hi Joshua!
I run a small shop out of a garage and spare bedroom in my house. In the spare bedroom, I have a working table with imposing stone, a Hamilton Type Cabinet, large flat file with top work space, wall mounted shelf for ink, small folding table for paper cutters and a bookshelf for all other supplies.

In my garage I have a 10x15 C&P operating by flywheel only. The garage is NOT insulated but does have overhead lighting. As for the setup I have in there, I basically surrounded the area around the press with flat space. So on my right is paper storage (ready to print) and also any misprints/test sheets. I then have a short shelf underneath that table for roller storage when not printing and tracing paper for test prints. Directly behind me is the table I use for mixing ink and where I keep all my cleaning supplies for the press, as well as my ‘ink gloves’. To my left, I have a 3 tiered standing shelf where I put printed material to dry. I like having all of the workspace around me just so you don’t have to move much when you’re printing. Hope this helps! Good luck with your garage setup.

If your going to insulate your garage door try using supertherm ceramic insulation…. It almost defies logic at how good it is. Im lining my entire garage with it. Its expensive but has properties that kick butt.. Look it up on youtube and call the dist you will be amazed. It was designed for space shuttle..