I have a thing for Knick Knack Shelves

I have a thing for knick knack shelves

This isn’t the greatest picture, but you get the idea. I have a thing for knick knack shelves, especially type case shelves. Part of that is my love of miniature treasures and part of that is my love of printing and press related items. Did you know that these knick knack shelves are often drawers that used to hold letterpress type? They are called California Job cases. We have a large full cabinet at my work (printing company) that is just for display.

I just set up my shelves temporarily for the photograph, to see how an arrangement of type case shelves would fit on the mantel. I have even more that aren’t pictured!
Matt wasn’t crazy about their precarious position (leaning against the wall) and I don’t want to anchor them into the wall there permanently, and ruin the smooth refinish job Matt’s dad did on that wall when we first moved in. Dilemmas.

When I rented all I wanted to do was put nails in the walls and hang things up, but landlords don’t like that. Now that I have my own home, I can’t bring myself to put nails in the walls. It wouldn’t be so bad if I knew the nail would be there and serve a permanent purpose, but I also have a thing where I want to continually change out and rearrange the decor so things don’t get stale.

1.29 knick knack

In the meantime I have created a pinterest board dedicated to these shelves. Last fall I was at a flea market event with my sister in law. Dacia knows how obsessed with these shelves I am and will alternately bring them to my attention if she sees them, or direct my attention away from them (if I’m trying not to spend money). I spied a beautiful type case drawer and a friend of Dacia’s expressed how much she hates them. When she was younger her family had one and her immediate association was that when it was her job to dust, those things would be a nightmare. I do remember knick knack shelves being popular during the late 80s, early 90s with the country charm style. I will admit to buying one of my own shelves in the last year or so from an estate sale that was still holding onto that style. The shelf came fully stocked, knicks knacks, cobwebs and all.


Hi, I'm Robyn and I was Hatched from a Kinder Surprise Egg. Graphic Designer by day, Maker of things by night. I have worked as a graphic artist professionally since I was 16 years old. Went on to get my Bachelors of Art from NIU. I like to share my Artwork online at flickr.com/photos/robayre and on my own personal website http://www.robayre.com. I also have an online shop http://www.robayre.etsy.com where you can find more of my "crafty" sorts of things, as well as a random piece of artwork here and there. Oh, and I'm also an occasional contributor to Artomat (artomat.org).

2 thoughts on “I have a thing for Knick Knack Shelves

  1. We always had one hanging in our hallway. I don’t even remember what was in it besides a few pewter figurines of dragons and wizards (weird). I was actually thinking of resurrecting one of them to house my new collection petrified wood. I can see why you would get addicted to them though. There is so much potential to do wonderful things with all those little cubbies. :)

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