Product Review: IronBow Paint Rack

Last week or the week before, I was cruising 40K blogs. I like to hop from blogroll to blogroll based on folks' post titles. If they interest me, I read them. After several hops, I found a post talking about 40K and wargaming items on Etsy. One example of a good item was a paint rack, laser cut from MDF, and made by TheIronBow. You can find it here.
I'd never ordered from Etsy, but as it's a well-established site now, I figured I'd give it a shot. The price was very reasonable, as was shipping. I was in for $27, which is still only about half of what some other companies charge for comparable racks.

Shipping was prompt, so I had the rack in hand in nine days, including the day I ordered it. Perfectly acceptable. I was pleasantly surprised that it arrived in a cardboard box, instead of the padded flat mailer I was expecting.

I cracked open the box and found all of the parts neatly stacked, with a styrofoam spacer to keep them from rattling around. Nice! Also in the box was a bag containing the hardware (screws and nuts, and some rubber pad feet) and the invoice. The seller added a handwritten note with tips for proper assembly.
The pieces are all made nice, sturdy hardboard. None of that plywood or chipboard.
Everything slots together using the tabs. It's pretty idiot-proof, but I do recommend you slot both of the bottle holder sections into one side, then do the other side, then top, then bottom. I tried assembling it all around the back panel, then putting the front in, but it was hard to keep all the tabs in the slots that way.
Once you get it slotted together, you put the bolts through the little holes, and thread them into the provided nuts that sit in a little cross slot. I'd never seen a system like that before, but it works quite well. I would get all the bolts in to finger tight, then use a screwdriver to snug them up.
However, I got a little overzealous with the first bolt, and started cranking down on it with the screwdriver. Metal versus wood means metal wins, and I started pulling the nut straight through the wood. Oops!
I just backed the bolt out a tad, squeezed the wood back flat and all was well. Lesson learned, and the rack was assembled.
I grabbed a bottle of Reaper Master Series and slotted it in. Perfect fit. The bottles sit at a slight upward angle, leading the paint to flow down toward the nozzle. I've read online that this helps keeps dropper bottles from clogging up. We'll see if that's true.
You can see the slight angle here (as well as the proper fit of the bolts):
I filled the rest of the rack with paint bottles. I went from this storage solution (a craft box crammed with paint):
To this one:

One of the neat things about the rack is that when it's filled, you can pick it up and shake it around and the bottles don't move at all. I found that the only way to get bottles to pop out was to give it a little wrist flip, like you were flipping pancakes. Not a motion you'll replicate often.
I sat down and started painting to see how the rack interacted with my workspace. I found that the rack works quite nicely, but that the necks of the bottles kept sticking on the way out. But after about 45 minutes of painting and color switching, I had figured out how to remove the bottles without snagging the necks.

Some folks may not like the fact that you cannot see all of the labels on the bottles when they're stored, and that's a valid concern for many painters. However, I tend to paint using a limited palette of main colors, and a few peripheral colors. You can see in the shot above that I have my Ultramarine armor colors in the upper right, golds under those, then greens, browns, and white/grey/black. I just pull paints from top to bottom as I progress through my routine. If you use the same colors over and over, say for painting an entire army, this rack works just fine. If you're a constant color-switcher or experimenter, you might find the storage orientation frustrating.

Overall, I'd give the rack a solid A, and plan to pick up another one in a few weeks to hold the rest of my paints that didn't fit (I own a ton of paint).



  1. This is Kelly from TheIronBow on Etsy. I saw that I was getting a few extra hits from CreativeTwilight and thought I would drop by and see what was driving the comments. I am glad that you like the paint rack so far.

    Sorry about that first screw breaking through. I am working on adding assembly instructions so that things like that are less likely to happen in the future.

    Anyway, I just wanted to drop in and say hello. I really like to hear feedback on how people are using the paint racks and what improvements I can make so thanks for taking time to post a review!


    1. Thanks for dropping by, Kelly. I was about to email you with a link to the review.
      You'll definitely see another order from me in the coming weeks. Thanks for providing a great product!

  2. Looks awesome and I might just need to pick one up too! Thanks for the product review!

    Ming from B&C

  3. That is one orderly looking paint collection! It looks like a good product for your purposes.

    One of the problems I have is an eclectic paint collection. I have bottles of GW paint from almost every era (I am still using some pots that I bought almost 20 years ago!) and a selection of craft paints. Whatever I'm using for my current project goes into my portable paint station while the rest hang out in a shoebox.

    Anyway, it looks like a great product with good customer support. The other styles they have look good too. Nice review!

    1. I'm a Reaper paint fanboy, so my collection is 90% Reaper. I do own some GW stuff (the old washes) and some Delta craft paints. The non-Reaper stuff all sits in the little wells in my GW Paint Station (which I won down in MA for Best Army).
      I think the shape of GW paint pots makes a tiered setup almost mandatory.

  4. My wife got me the GW paint rack that holds 48 paints on a tiered shelf. It was easy to assemble and super orderly. This was a great find, glad you keyed me into it!