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Calligraphy & Design Studio Tour: The HowJoyful creative space

I invite you to tour my home-based Calligraphy & lettering Studio office, so you can have a behind the scenes look at where I get my work done, how I am organizing my supplies, and most of my pens, papers, and lettering + calligraphy tools. And also how I set up my office to make it as productive as possible.

office calligraphy and lettering

With 3 little ones running around all day, I have to be very intentional with the little time I have, so I designed my studio to be able to be as productive as possible. I also created an area where my boys can come down and watch a movie or color while I work. 

My space keeps evolving, but I figure I can show you this space now and maybe just create a couple of separated posts to share the projects that I've been working on later.

Before I show you my space, I do want to make a note, because even though I have two rooms dedicated to my studio now, it was very different after I first moved here to the USA, I was only able to work and craft in a little corner of our dining room. I have been able to evolve my Studio into what it is now because this space is where I work my full-time job. I have invested little by little to make it the space that I always dreamed of. So please don't feel discouraged if you are (like I was) crafting or creating in the corner of your dining table. I want this post to inspire you instead and show you what can be possible!

The evolution of my space

When I shared my updated Shipping station, I also shared the story of the different spaces my office has occupied since the beginning of this blog in 2010.

Long story short, my office has moved 4 times, and this room was the very first “official” creative space that I had and that was not our dining table, this exact same room.

After that, we moved to a storefront in the center of our town, and then we came to a different area in an outbuilding of our house,  but last year, I decided to get back to my roots and come back to this space. If you haven't seen my first office reveal from 2013, check it here, warning! It was very pink and green, hehe.

For this updated office, I wanted to let my pens, watercolors, and other tools to be the center of color, and I covered up my signature pink wall with chalk paint. I focused on black and white, leaving a tiny little pink and green.

office calligraphy and lettering

Below you can see the view straight coming down our stairs, the top picture is looking left from the stairs.

calligraphy shop set up

As you come down to my studio, you are greeted by my DIY shipping station and a few product containers that I keep in my office (only my bestsellers, to keep the product storage to a minimum)

If you want to see more details about my DIY home-based shipping station, check this post where I share all the tips I used to ship the orders from my physical product's shops.

The desk setup

Since I wanted to reuse most of the furniture we already had in our storefront, I placed 2 of the IKEA desk we had to make a bigger surface. I really liked that they had drawers until I realized that because of them I am not able to use my mount for the overhead camera for videos ( I use this with a tripod ball head camera hook at the end). So I am in the process to find a different solution for my desk.

office calligraphy and lettering

One thing I do LOVE about having a double desk is that I have a side for creating on the computer, and one side to create in the drawing table.

For my drawing table, I sprayed painted this exact desk drawing table in white so that it matched my desk, I use my Cricut BrightPad or my other LightBox on top when drawing.

I also have two of my favorite desk pads, from my personal collection, I actually created my line of oversized desk pads because I could not find anything that I liked for my desk and after some research, I loved the idea of having positive messages that everyone can see every day while they work.

On my drawing side, I also added a desk pad on my “drawing” side, this way I can catch ink or anything that drops. When they get dirty, I wash them in the regular washer, but if you do this, just hang them to dry (do not put them in the dryer, because they have a neoprene back)

drawing table

The art pegboard 

I wanted a place to store some of my art supplies, but also be able to see them easily and have easy access. So of course I decided on having yet, another pegboard.

If you've seen little peeks in my Instagram Stories, you already know this, but if you haven't: I have four pegboards in my studio, this one, one in my shipping station, a big double one in my sewing room, and another where I hang my photography gear in the door to our storage.

pegboard for artist

Right after I took these photos, I changed the folders in my wall, next to the pegboards for an acrylic calendar, so stay tuned for the tutorial in case you want to create something similar!

I really wanted to try the IKEA pegboard system because they already came in white. This installation has 2 rectangle shape pegboards that Ken installed one on top of the other. I also hung some white Christmas lights that I have connected to remote control (along with the rest of the ambiance lights in my office) so I can turn them on and off easily.

pegboard pen organization
calligraphy pegboards

I painted most of my cases so that I could easily tell them apart and know what they have inside right away =]

The Chalkboard wall

One of the things I was the most excited about was to transform my old pink wall and make it a chalk wall, so that I could practice but also so that my boys could have a wall that I don't get mad if the doodle all over.

Joy Kelley working

All the walls in my studio have a lot of texture, I thought about knocking some texture before painting it, but I ended up going against that idea just in case we wanted to revert that wall in the future. To paint it I used 2 layers of regular Rust-Oleum Chalk paint and seasoned with chalk.

chalk wall overview

If you are curious to know what are my favorite tools for chalk lettering, I've set up this section of my tools page where I share all of my favorite tools, kinds of chalk and extra nice-to-haves that make creating art in the chalk wall so enjoyable!

Joy Kelley chalk

Wall shelves

For the corner of the office, I used shelves that I had installed when I first used this space, I figured I could use them and find a way to store my pens and paints. 

desk view

I also used wire baskets with chalk tags to organize my notebooks and some of my business books. I have another place where I store all my calligraphy and lettering books, so I wanted to keep these other ones in a separate place.

hanging storage for pensI found these cubes that had pen storage that I took from the top and placed them on the sides so that I could have more storage. I also used a two layer tray from IKEA, similar to this two layer tray to store all my wooden stamps.

pen storage

I like to keep the Calligraphy and Lettering books that I am currently reading to using to research on the top of my cabinet, and all other books at the bottom of my IKEA bookshelves. 

calligraphy book
Joy Kelley in studio
calligraphy sudio
calligraphy studio organization

For my desk, I also painted this wood desk riser, so that my eyes were a little bit more level with the screen. And I also added this pillow footrest to my seating area, so that I could place my feet there and not just help my posture but also use it backward to move my feet while I am on the computer.

desk raiser

I also keep my Skull Candy headphones for when I edit video or when I have my boys watching movies on the TV, that way I can get in my own little bubble and work.

creative studio

For my HowJoyful branded pencils (I give those away with the kits on in-person workshops), I figured it would be a super cute way to display and also store them in these straw dispenser containers. I also have a variety of pencil holders and a box idea desk organizer to store some of my to-go tools and pens. I am such a fan of digital clocks, so I had to get this white digital wall and desk one that also serves me as a night light because it's so bright. So when I come down to work at night I don't have to turn ALL the lights in order to get to the Studio.

pencils in straw container
office set up

Paper storage

To store most of my paper I use an Alex drawer from Ikea, which fits pretty much all my different kinds of papers, and I can roll to wherever I am working just in case I don't want to mix up my different kinds of paper. If you are wondering about all the kinds of paper I work with, check out this post where I cover the best paper for Calligraphy and other projects.

studio tv

I also keep the color paper and especial things like laminated pouches, sticker paper, carbon paper, and other very special sheets in black magazine organizers right next to my laser printer.

studio printer


One very special piece in my office is this letterboard, I used to change the quote every once in a while, but ever since I put this quote by Frida Kahlo, I just could not change it anymore. 

So instead I added butterflies and embraced it even further. This was my favorite quote when I was in middle school, so it has always had a special place in y heart.

The quote reads: “Pies para queue los quiero si tengo alas para volar”  the English translation would be something like: “Feet? What do I need them for, when I have wings to fly” ~ Frida Kahlo

letterboad frida quote

Shipping station

I already shared a break down of how I set up my shipping station here, but just in case you don't want to have to read all about my tips for business, I wanted to share some of the organization solutions I applied to this little corner in order to help me be more efficient when I am packing orders for my shops.

DIY mesh wall organizer

First, I set up two different folders in my wall, so I can see all the orders that are in the “waiting for printing” section and the ones that are “ready to go”.

I painted this big tape dispenser to make it more fun and also made a mesh frame out of recycled materials that I now use to display my twine, the stamps for my shop, and the postcards I use in my orders.

I also made and a cardboard container that I painted black, it turned into my catch-all for all the things I am working.

my shipping station

My shipping surface is a little fanken-table made out of an Ika dresser, a shipping storage made out of recycled lumber that my awesome husband put together for me, and a base that he made me after I realized that it was way to low for me to work comfortably.

I made the storage boxes in the shipping station and in my product storage so they would fit the exact space I needed. When I updated the office and decided to change the colors a little bit, I just painted them black and gave them a second life to keep me company in the new space.

shipping station se up

Couch area

As I mentioned before, many times I bring the boys to color in the carpet or watch a movie while I work. This is why having an open space where they can bring toys and do other activities is very important to me.

I used an IKEA futon that we already had in this room for when my mom comes and visit from Chile. I added a cover and some pillows to bring it all together.

the studio overview

Fan update

In order to update the fan without replacing it, I just sprayed painted everything white, took the old glass done, and replaced it with a more modern lampshade from IKEA. I added a daylight bulb because I work way better with that kind of lighting.

office calligraphy and lettering

Faux plants

I wish that I could keep real plants alive in my office, but I definitely do not have a green thumb. Thankfully there are so many different options now for faux plants that I can't complain, I also added some of my white paper flowers to give an extra touch to the desk.

desk mats and drawing table
drawing table on top of desk

Mood lights

I added a string of lights that goes on the full shipping station corner, which is also under the same remote control I use for all my other extra lights in the Studio, I keep one fo the remotes in the drawer of my desk and the other one in the pegboard of my shipping stations because those are the two areas I use the most.

So no matter what I am doing I have say access to turn on and turn off all the extra lights in the studio.

studio organizing

The additional lights I have are in the art-supply pegboard and around the wall sharves that are on the opposite wall to my pegboard.

office studio couch

This place gives me so much joy when I am working, and while all of my solutions might not work for you, I just want to encourage you to find what makes you more productive and embrace the space you have available, no matter if that is a full room or a little piece of a table.

Joy Kelley

I know that creative spaces are very personal because when we create them we pretty much add all the things we like and organize them to make our workflow efficient and intentional.

And of course, the things we like and the processes we follow are different from person to person. 

I love peeking at creative spaces because to me they show so much about who the artist is, what they focus on, and the processes they follow.

So I just hope that my space gives you a little peek into my creative processes and how I like to work to serve you as a little bit of inspiration =]

the studio desk

If you want to see additional office and pen organization alternatives, I created this list on Amazon for all the organization containers I've purchased and the ones that I want to get to keep organizing my art supplies.

And if you have any questions about my space or anything that I forgot to source, just contact me, I am always happy to hear from you!


Friday 16th of July 2021

This post is going to change my life. I bow down.

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